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Teaching ofHistory
© Reserved
First Edition 2007

ISBN 978-81-7880-309-8

[The responsibility for facts stated opinion expressed or conclusions

reached and plagiarism if any in this volume is entirely that of the editor.
The publisher bears no responsibility for them whatsoever.]

Published by Mrs. Seema Wasan for Rajat Publications, New Delhi and
Printed at H.S. Offset, Delhi.

1. Teaching Primary History 1

2. History Teaching in Secondary Schools 23
3. Teaching Tools for Local History 47
4. Teaching World History 73
5. Teaching Effective World History 109
6. Teaching Medieval Castles 133
7. History Teaching through
Reflective Practice 147
8. Teaching the 20th-Century History 151
9. Teaching Conflict Resolution 161
10. Research-Teaching Relationships 205
11. Certification of History Teachers 215
12. Future of Teaching
History Research Methods 225
13. Evaluation of History Teaching 237
14. Assessments to Improve the
Teaching and Learning History 241
15. Future of Learn and Teach History 247
Bibliography 263
Illdex 265
"This page is Intentionally Left Blank"
Teaching Primary History

Since the 1960s, when the subjects of historical study

broadened to include the new "social history," the amount
of material that historians have to deal with, and the
number of subdisciplines they are studying increased
considerably. The following are the teaching methods of
primary history:


Enquiry lies at the heart of history. Understanding the past

involves a process of enquiry, where we examine sources
about the past, raise questions and debate their meaning.

Closed and Open Questions

We can ask children closed or open questions. Closed
questions will test recall and understanding and help
children to revise what they know. As such, they have a
useful place in a teacher's repertoire. The best questions,
though, are open questions. Open questions in history
focus children's attention, rouse curiosity and interest,
drive and shape the investigation, elicit views and
stimulate purposeful discussion. Open questions promote
higher order thinking and so help children to develop their
thinking skills.
2 Teachi1lg of History

Key Questions

Key questions are overarching questions which give any

lesson or topic unity and coherence, driving and focusing
the investigation. A key question for a topic might be: Why
do we learn about the Ancient Greeks? what was special
about them? and for a lesson within the topic: Was there
a Trojan War? Not all questions are key, or important. It
is all too easy to ask trivial questions. Good questions
challenge us to investigate a topic and help us to develop
our understanding of the past.

Children Asking Questions

Learning to ask good questions is a valuable skill to

acquire, and our pupils will become good at questioning
if we build in opportunities for them to ask their own
questions. When teachers invite children to ask questions
about a topic, such as the Great Fire of London.

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening are crucial for practising and
embedding new vocabulary and concepts, and as such
form the bedrock on which literacy is built. They also form
the basis of social interaction, and are skills to be taught,
as listening and turn-taking do not come naturally to
children. Harassed teachers, too, do not always give
children enough time to develop confidence in speaking.
Discussion and debate sharpen thinking skills and
promote understanding. By teaching history as a process
of enquiry, a process that demands the questioning and
debating of evidence, we advance oracy, historical literacy
and thinking skil1s.
We give children opportunities to develop their oracy
- Problem-solving and defending conclusions reached.
Teaching Primary History 3

Group discussion to test meaning and refine ideas.

Simulation and role play.
Asking children to pose questions, to predict, to raise
Explaining their thinking processes and ideas.
Evaluating their own learning.
Set rules for class discussion and debate together with the
children. A key principle is that whoever is speaking has
the right to be listened to. A speaker's ring or stone helps
to establish such right.
Points to consider when planning a debate:
The key question or issue (e.g. How should Drake
treat mutineers?)
The evidence the children will use to support their
Setting the scene for the debate (e.g. via story or
Promoting orderly thinking and good arguments
Follow-up work, e.g. writing, presentations.

Reading Books
Reading books is very different from reading documents.
Books are more diffuse, and carry many different forms
of information and evidence. Good books provide rich
sources of knowledge about any given historical period.
To help children use books well, we suggest the following

Book Navigation Exercises

These are invaluable for giving children an overview of

4 Teaching of History

the topic and a 'map' of the historical territory.

Children do index-searching in pairs. Who are the key
people? Key events?
Has everyone got the same list? Discussion about
relative importance.
Look at contents, at the picture on the front cover:
What or who does the book's author pick out as
Flick through: skim and scan, looking at the signposts
in the books to form mental pictures. Then make three
statements, and pose three questions. From these build
up a class picture of key features, and hold a class
Organise the information in the book into overlapping
Write down one or two words/sentences about each
significant person or event to start a timeline. This is
best done later in the topic, and is good for the more

Simple Data Capture

For instance, children could draw a chart showing features
of daily life (shopping, home life, schools, transport,
occupations). The children can help to decide the
categories. They then research in their topic books and fill
in the chart.

Questions and Hypotheses

Children are great copiers, so we need ways to prevent
being presented with tthunks of text copied verbatim from
topic books. Here are two effective approaches.
- Pose questions which prevent children from copying
Teaching Primary History 5

from the text, such as 'Was Montezuma great?' or

'Were the Romans a good thing for Britain?'
Formulate hypotheses for the children to test by
evaluating information in their topic books, such as
'All evacuees had a horrible time away from home
during the war'.

Causes and Consequences

Children could make a Causes list and a Consequences/
Results list of, for instance, the Saxon invasions of Britain,
and try to explain how they are linked.

Historical Stories and Novels

Let us not forget historical stories and novels. The best

open a door into another world and give children insight
into past lives. They help children develop a sense of
period, extending their knowledge of the world and its
people. You can deepen the children's learning in both
literacy and history with a well-chosen class reading book,
such as Nina Bawden's Carrie's War, simultaneously with
the teaching of 'Britain since 1930'.

Reading Documents
Historical documents are a boon to teachers. They offer
the full range of types and genres of writing, from letters
and diaries to official speeches and reports, from narrative
accounts to poetry of every kind, from instructions to
persuasive arguments and advertisements. As such, they
make excellent shared texts for literacy teaching,
introducing children to new ideas, vocabulary and forms
of language. Crucially, if tied in with the teaching of a
history topic, historical documents provide a context that
enhances the learning of literacy.
The hi~torical context connects the children with the
6 Teaching of History

people, society and situation that produced a particular

document, engaging them imaginatively in exploring its
wider meaning. Reading historical documents includes
reading as a technical exercise in comprehension and
deconstruction, but goes way beyond this to the higher
literacy of understanding meaning, situation and
significance. With appropriate teaching approaches and
support structures, children can read documents well
above their official reading ages. The reading of documents
with children can be broken roughly into two stages.

Comprehension and Deconstruction

Here are some strategies for reading difficult and
challenging texts with children.
Initially, read through the document with the children
(or play it on an audio tape) to give them a feel for
the whole text and its general meaning.
Start by asking the children 'just to glance at it' for
things they will find easy (such as people's names,
dates, places, animals, colours). After scanning the text
like this a few times, the children lose any sense of
its difficulty and are ready f~r deeper study.
Cut up the text into paragraphs, stanzas or even
individual sentences for pairs or groups to work on.
Later pool the pairs' / groups' contributions.
Cut up the text into sections and jumble them up. Give
each pair or group one mixed-up text to sequence.
Ask the children to give the whole text, and each
section or paragraph, a title.

Meaning, Situation and Significance

Now we turn to delving deeply into the document, asking
ever more searching and complex questions. Here we ask
Teaching Primary History 7

children to develop their critical faculties, their skills of

inference, of interpretation. 'In this poem, how do the
Vikings describe their world? What situations do they
regard as important enough to write about? What do they
value? How do their values differ from ours today?' This
stage requires much discussion, careful listening by the
teacher, and acceptance of all contributions.

Text Breaker
We have devised a textbreaker structure to help children
make sens.e of difficult and challenging texts. What does
textbreaker do?
scaffolds the children's learning.
helps with comprehension and deconstruction of the
enables exploration of the layers of meaning in the
Textbreaker can take several forms, from the simple to the
complicated, and includes at least some of layers A? in
the list below.

General Structure of Text


Words and Phrases

concrete nouns.
abstract nouns.
8 Teaching of History

pronouns, etc.

main ideas.
sequence of ideas.
hierarchy of ideas.

Genre and Register

author's intent.
language used: tone, conventions.

Historical and other Concepts

time: dates, periods, sequence.
terminology: war, Reformation, valour.
cause/consequence: reasons, situations, significance,
evidence and enquiry.
With textbreaker we usually provide a glossary of hard
words for instant reference.

Chidren Writing
How can we help children to write well, to do justice to
their abilities through the written word?
The first step is to use verbal approaches to enable
children to clarify concepts, explore appropriate
vocabulary, and think about the form or genre in which
they will write - here good examples to analyse are crucial.
This will involve much raising of questions, discussion and
Teaching Primary History 9

debate, brainstorming words on the board, role play and

teacher modelling. Through such activities children gain
confidence in their power to control and deploy language.
The Nuffield Exeter Extending Literacy project (EXEL)
and the National Literacy Strategy have provided useful
frameworks for helping children to write effectively,
particularly through the use of writing frames and the
explicit teaching of different writing genres.

Writing Frames
A writing frame provides a skeleton outline, a template,
of key words and phrases (starters, connectives, sentence
modifiers) to give children a structure within which they
can communicate what they want to say in an appropriate
form. Devise your own writing frames to suit your
purpose. Here are some examples Writing frames from
David Wray,

Effective Writing

To produce an effective piece of writing, children need to

take into account three elements:
the author: are children writing as themselves, or as
an historical character?
the form or genre: such as letter, diary, report, argument
the audience: who is the writing for - teacher, friend,
the public, or a historical character?
Most importantly, we need to give children a real purpose
for writing and we need to praise their efforts,
acknowledging good work publicly.

Pictorial Note-taking

Children practise pictorial note-taking in How the Tudors

came to power.
10 Teaching of History

Learning about Time

History is concerned with lives, ev~nts, situations and
developments in time and through tjme, so chronology is
central to its understanding. A class timeline is an essential
element of any history unit. It gives the children a
framework for understanding and 'organising the historical
period: when it all happened, what happened at that time
(the key events), how things developed or stayed the same
(change and continuity) and the sequence of events.
We never use ready-made timelines, but engage the
children in constructing timelines of lives, events, periods.
The timelines can take the form of string-and-peg
sequences, wall or artefact displays or chronicle and diary
writing. We utilise numbers, pictures, artefacts, and the
written word (captions, labels, explanations, accounts).
Some useful chronological activities for children to
engage in:
Sequencing pictures or artefacts (such as for local
history, buildings according to period built; for Britain
since 1930, fashions or inventions)
Comparing now and then (how did people travel to
school or work then, and how do they travel now; or
how many hours a day did children in the mines work
compared with children's work at school today).
Comparing the features of different decades within a
Building up class timelines (such as incrementally over
the course of a unit; or selecting key events from topic
books to place on a skeleton timeline showing
Selecting key events (or headlines) of the decade (or
Teaching Primary History 11

Writing logs, chronicles or diaries of ev-ents suc1"! as

Viking raids, the course of the Spanish Armada, the
Jarrow march, the Great, Fire of London.
Compiling personal life timelines (for themselves, or
for key historical characters such as 'Henry VIII: This
is Your Life').

The Visual Image

TopfotoVisual images are powerful teaching and learning
tools, providing windows into the past. We need to teach
visual skills to children, and that means treating pictures
as sources of information. Pictures can be read as texts in
their own right, not as mere illustrations. Although
children are surrounded by visual images, particularly on
television, they often cannot comment on or remember
what they have seen - they have not engaged with the
images, have not 'read' them. For that they need to look
deeply, to enter imaginatively into the picture, to question,
to hypothesise.
Here are some strategies for engaging children in
reading pictures.
Play 'I spy with my little eye'.
Quick flash of the picture: What did you see?
Another flash: Look for something someone else saw,
and another new item.
Counting: How many pearls is Queen Elizabeth
wearing? How many people are wearing brown? How
many children are there?
What do you think were the artist's favourite four
Put a photocopy of the picture in the middle of a sheet
of paper.
12 Teaching of History

Write down three things it tells us, and three questions

you want to ask about it.
Or, list all the feelings this picture arouses in you.,
Or, list the colours, the people, the objects, and so on.
What are the people in the picture saying? Draw and
fill in speech bubbles.
Picture as video: What happened before the scene
depicted? After?
We then move on to consider the meaning of the image,
its purpose, its context, what it meant to people at the
time, what we can learn about the past from it.

As survivals from history, objects offer us an unrivalled
way of touching past lives. Objects as humble as coins or
old bottles can yield rich information and learning. They
carry with them messages about the people who made,
owned and used them, and about the places they came
from and passed through.

Introducing and using Objects

Wrap them up so the children have to try to guess

what they are from the shape.
Practical archaeology: bury objects (or fragments) in
layers of sand in an old fish tank for the children to
dig up and record using a grid.
Object carousel: place objects on sugar paper on desks
around the classroom. Groups of children spend 5
minutes with each object, recording their observations
and questions on the sugar paper before moving on
to the next object. Then pool knowledge and
Teaching Primary History 13

Children observe, describe and draw an object in

Raise What, Where, How, When and Why questions
about an object.
Word games: pass an object round; each child must
say something about it, or think of an adjective to
describe it.
Bring in a dustbin bag or old suitcase containing
objects that give clues about the owner/so
Storytelling: incorporate an object into a story about
the past. This will give the object special significance.
Ask the children to bring in objects for a classroom
museum (opportunities for sorting, categorising,
labelling, layout).
Use a collection of historical objects to write an Argos
catalogue for the past.
Ask the children to enact the object in use, or tell its

Maps and Plans

This is where history makes full use of geography, for all
past events occur in place, as well as in time. Maps, like
timelines, are essential reference points for all history units
- they help children to develop an awareness of place. We
want to help children to understand the physical world in
which past people lived, as well as their beliefs, attitudes
and experiences. Maps and plans are especially important
for visual learners, as they provide a spatial and visual
way of investigating historical questions and recording
Maps and plans are a splendid resource for teaching
about change and origins, about distance and journeys,
14 Teaching of History

about the spaces in which people lived. Use good atlases

that show not only countries, but also physical features.
For journeys or voyages into Terra Incognita, we want
children to use the maps - or travelling instructions - that
people at the time would have used, so that they are
working with the world as people knew or imagined it

Physical Maps

To understand journeys we need maps showing contours,

rivers, mountains, heights - and we also need to
understand climate. If we are to appreciate the trials of
soldiers marching with, say, Alexander the Great, it is vital
to know where the deserts and mountains are and how
long it might be until the army reaches the next source of
fresh food and water. A mileometer is useful in such
journey plottings, as is knowledge of the average speeds
of: a person walking; a horse walking, trotting or cantering;
a coach pulled by four horses; a sailing ship. These bring
home to children just how long it took our ancestors to
travel to their destinations. For voyages, maps showing
prevailing winds and currents help us understand why
Columbus sailed at a particular latitude, or why Drake
was becalmed in the tropics.


Plans help us to understand the layout of houses,

monasteries, castles, churches, fields, estates, archaeological
digs. When we do archaeological simulations in the
classroom, we chart on a plan the progress of the dig and
the finds uncovered. Using the plans of homes and other
buildings, children can place cut-outs of the contents in
the appropriate places on the plan. They can also people
the rooms and chart the inhabitants' movements as they
go about their daily lives, then conduct guided tours of
Teaching Primary History 15

the building or site.

Making of Maps
As well as using plans, children can also create them, that
is from pictures or written descriptions.

Local Maps
Local record offices will have detailed Ordnance Survey
maps for your area, going back over 150 years. You can
usually obtain copies for a small fee. Alternatively, use
the internet. If, for example, you type:
"victorian+ordnance+survey+maps" into Google or a
similar search engine, you will bring up pages of links to
historical maps. Just five maps of your area spread over
100 years will make the basis of some excellent work. The
children can spot when buildings disappear, or change
their use or name, and when new buildings appear.
Similarly, place name investigations give us valuable
insights into the nature and pattern of settlement by the
Roman, Saxon, Viking and Norman invaders of Britain.
Investigating the origins of place names on our modern
maps is both fun and enlightening.


Here we are talking about history stories created by the

teacher and told - not read - to children. In telling stories
to children we speak directly from the past, we use the
power of eye contact, of gesture and movement, and of
the voices of different characters. Through stories we can
carry children in a metaphorical Tardis to different worlds
in space and time. When telling stories we find a key to
unlock the children's imagination and make the past
intelligible to them. For example, the story of Victorian
children working down the mines, our modern children
can identify with the heroine being scared of the dark,
16 Teaching of History

and so they enter her world.

The purpose of stories, then, is to:
Convey information, ideas, and technical language
through engaging children's imagination
Create a context, providing a mental map and a
visualisation of a past situation
Serve the need for wonder
Help children to understand human situations and the
human condition, and thus connect the past to the

Create Stories

Choose a topic, and find out as much detail as you

can - you will be conveying information through
painting word pictures.
Identify a problem and its solution - this gives the
story its shape.
Build your descriptions, flesh out your characters and
the context they lived in. How did they think, look,
feel and act? What motivated them?
Rehearse the story to yourself - run a mental video of
the story unfolding.
Tell the story to the children, living and acting it by
using appropriate voices and gestures and moving
round the room.

Drama and Role Play

Roman market in 21st-century Exeter © Jacqlli Dean Drama
can playa spontaneous part in lessons, be a focal element
in part of the course, or take the central role in a topic. It
can be done by groups or the whole class.
Teaching Primary History 17

Drama works best if it is set in a specific historical

context. There are three strands involved:
the identity/roles of the people involved in the
the time and place of the events;
a focus or issue that concerned the people involved.
Before you begin, decide what sort of historical learning
you hope to achieve. An histori.:al resource such as a story,
document, picture or artefact can provide a good starting
focus for drama.

Some Drama Strategies

Teacher in role.
Making maps or plans.
Still image.
Overheard conversations.
Forum theatre.
Counsellors giving advice

Simulations and Games

Simulations and games can recreate in children's minds
almost any situation that faced people in the past. They
are infinitely flexible tools, providing richness and variety
in the classroom, with pupils' emotions and intellects
actively engaged as the past is brought to life. Simulations
and games are closely linked. They are highly structured
and controlled kinds of drama - the children stay in their
seats as they work through them. Both deal with real
18 Teachillg of History

problems and their development. The pupils take on the

roles of historical characters and react to the problems
these characters face. The difference is that in games
chance decides what happens, whereas in simulations the
children make the decisions.
In a simulation the activity has been pre-designed,
based on, say, Drake's circumnavigation of the world, with
key decisions to be made at various points along the way.
When the ship lodges on a reef, should Drake jettison food
stores or captured treasure to lighten the ship? When his
ship is becalmed in the Doldrums and the sailors become
mutinous, how should he react? .
Each simulation can be broken into two elements:
The historical situation (the place, the people, their
problems, decisions they have to make). Decide the
structure beforehand. What problems and decision
points will face the pupils? What will be the
consequences of each decision taken?
The roles of the participants. You need to develop each
role in enough detail for the player to make realistic
decisions. They must be clear about their aims.

Expressive Movement and Freeze Frames

Children need help if they are to understand and
sympathise with the feelings of people in history - their
life experiences and knowledge are not as great as ours.
However, their youth also means that they bring a sense
of wonder, freshness and excitement to new situations.
Freeze frames and expressive movement tap into this sense
of wonder. This teaching approach offers a way for
children to work creatively, within a clear structure.
Like drama and dance, freeze frames and expressive
movement open the door to understanding the thoughts,
Teaching Primary History 19

feelings and actions of past people. Participants express

action, motivation and emotion through the language of
the face and body. They communicate through gesture,
movement, and their relationship to other performers.
Both freeze frames and expressive movement ask
pupils to depict a sequence of events through a series of
scenes or tableaux, telling a story enactively. With freeze
frames, children move only as they change from one still
frame or tableau to the next. When doing expressive
movement children also move within each frame. Like
drama, expressive movement incorporates words. These
express the meaning of a situation for the participants, to
provoke a response from them, or to convey a mood.
The end result is a performance in which the whole
class takes part enactively. The children can communicate
their knowledge and understanding with deep
engagement and feeling.

Organising Freeze Frames and Expressive Movement

Freeze frames and expressive movement need careful

thought and preparation if children are to understand past
situations and emotions from the inside. Here is a teaching
sequence when using this approach.
Tell the story, including detail to help the children
imagine the scenes they will be creating. We usually
tell only the first part of the narrative. The remainder
is kept back to build up suspense.
Select the first scene. Break it up into parts for different
groups of children to enact, using their own
Groups of children work on freeze frames of the initial
scene. Time must be strictly limited - 'You have three
minutes to create a tableau showing your reaction to
20 Teachillg of Histonj

the death of the king.'

Each group presents its tableau to the rest of the class.
The children work on two further scenes, repeating
steps 2 and 3.
Sequencing: the children enact the three scenes in
sequence. Either you or a child makes a short
statement to mark each sequence.
Tell the final part of the story.
Discuss with the class how the work is to continue.
The class work on the final scene or scenes, as for
points 3 and 4.
Finally, the narrative is enacted, scene by scene.
Adding music or poetry can heighten the mood and
meaning of the story.

Sites and the Environment

Visits outside school open up new worlds. Historic sites
are stimulating, rea1, three-dimensional; they give a sense
of scale and texture. Whether you are visiting an
archaeological site, a stately home, museum, castle, abbey,
local street or church, the principles are the same for all.


The temptation is to plan too ambitiously, to try to cram

in too much; but this will only exhaust both the children
and yourself. You could try some of the following.
Choose a specific focus or theme, such as 'When we
arrive at the castle, we'll be the attacking army - we're
going to work out how to breach its defences'.
Split up the planned on-site tasks. You could appoint
'expert' groups who will be reporting on an aspect of
Teaching Primary History 21

the site: one room each, or a group each for furniture,

paintings, and clothing; or give each child a
previously-taken photograph of one feature for them
to identify, examine and report back on during the
Tell a story in class beforehand. This is a powerful
way of bringing imaginatively to life an old building
or ruined site. A story engages children emotionally,
and provides a visualisation, a mental model, which
will help them to see the site as vibrant with past life.

The Visit

The most important principle here is to resist the urge to

do all the talking, to tell the children what you want them
to see. It is they who must do the looking, and your role
is to find way:YfO help them. Send them off to find, to
observe, thP( gather them together to tell you what they
have seen: This generates valuable discussion which helps
the children develop their thoughts.


Set tasks to/fnake the children stop, question, investigate,

ponder and reconstruct. For instance, in an art collection:
'Who\,is the owner's favourite artist?' For a particular
painting: 'What were the artist's favourite four colours?'


Close looking is difficult for children, so ask them to sketch

particular items, partly as a record, but mainly to make
them look hard ('looking through the end of a pencil').
So, in a cathedral, send them to find and sketch the most
interesting carving they can find, either face, animal, plant
or figure. Explicitly develop the five senses: encourage the
children to look, touch, smell, feel and even taste.
22 Teaching of History


Leave the worksheets behind. Instead give the children

torches for dark corners, magnifying glasses for detailed
looking, pencils and sketch pads and cameras to record
key features - ration the number of shots - this will make
the children focus on what is important.

History Investigations
These computer-based investigations offer a vehicle for the
purposeful use of ICT in history. They are like textual
jigsaws, with each piece of the jigsaw being a discrete text
file (pictures can also be included).
Cast in the role of history detectives, children drive
each investigation, following up clues in their search for
explanations. In their progress through the history
mysteries, the pupils develop a range of investigative skills
of the historian, as they put forward hypotheses, argue
points with one another, use logical deduction, assess
evidence, and draw conclusions. Pupils are in control of
their own learning in an open-ended, challenging and
motivating context.
Through pursuing history investigations, children
gain an insight into the processes of planning and
executing an historical investigation. Once they understand
how each textual jigsaw is put together they, and their
teachers, can create their own history mysteries. The need
to create a working, logically-linked investigation vastly
extends each pupil's awareness of evidence, causation and
motivation and how they interconnect.
History Teaching in
Secondary Schools

Often the new forms of historical study are also

interdisciplinary in nature. Another vital shift in content
and conceptualisation involves the expansion of world
history courses in secondary schools. To be sure, colleges
that train future teachers are increasingly likely to have
an introductory world history course that at least discusses
issues that must be faced when dealing with the breadth
of world history content in the schools. But for secondary
teachers, conceptualising the world history course remains
a challenge, all the more so when they have had limited
courses beyond introductory presentations.
When high school students or undergraduates enter
a history class, they often have little background in history
and almost none in its methodology. History teachers at
all levels have to confront this lacuna, especially when
teaching survey courses. This is where students begin to
;r, develop their ideas about the subject, or lose interest
completely, and also where history departments encourage
talented students to select the field. Interesting solutions
to this problem are being tried at both the school and the
college level. In programmes that students find challenging
24 Teaching of Histo'~1

and rewarding, teachers and college faculty are making

more use of primary sources, technology in presentations
and research, textual analysis, and interdisciplinary courses
that link English and history or anthropology and
The traditional lecture and traditional assessment are
'increasingly regarded as major obstacles to good history
teaching whether in a school or at a college. Research
studies indicate that the traditional lecture is not the most
effective method for the diverse learners in today's
classrooms, either for fostering retention of knowledge or
for teaching Critical analysis. Research also shows that
teaching primarily through lectures in college history
classes impinges directly upon what happens in the K-12
If lectures are the primary method of transmitting the
ideas, theories, and data of historical inquiry to students,
they will then perceive this method to be the only
appropriate one when they themselves become teachers.
Increasingly, college as well as high school teachers are
acknowledging that they need to explore methods that
include active discussion and exercises that involve the
use of historical materials and historical analysis.
Similarly, the content and structure of college history
courses and the related modes of evaluation will shape
the methods of assessing history learning adopted by
future teachers. For example, if rote memorisation is
heavily tested in college survey courses, the next
generation of secondary school teachers will also resort to r
the same practice. Education courses (in pedagogy and
assessment, for instance) will, no doubt, provide
instruction on innovative testing methods; but it is the
direct, practical experience of history courses and their
evaluation methods that will linger in the students' minds,
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 25

to be implemented when they become teachers.

Unquestionably, assessment, and authentic
assessment (reflecting actual practice in history) in
particular, will become an increasingly important concern
in testing history in schools. Authentic assessment
measures learning by asking students to evaluate a
document or develop an argument based on data, not just
answer questions that simply require recall of information.
An imaginative and varied array of exercises in college
history classrooms and the research on their effectiveness
can contribute directly to future applications of this type
of assessment.
In required history survey courses, a balance must
be struck between the need for content and the need for
the development of critical thinking, writing, and historical
research skills. The need for this balance is a focal point
for discussion among those who teach survey courses.
Some suggested solutions have encouraged different
thinking about teaching and learning, resulting in an
examination of varying curriculum and presentation
History departments that are training teachers need
to emphasize the transferable habits of mind, from
document assessment to evaluation of change and
causation, as well as providing appropriate basic content.
By the same token, history-social studies teaching
standards developed in some states include a growing
emphasis on discipline-specific analytical skills. This
emphasis may provide context for some rethinking of
curricular emphases and reading assignments in the
history major, so that future teachers gain repeated
experience in developing historical habits of mind (that
is, developing perspectives and making reasoned historical
judgments) in order to incorporate them in their own
26 Teaching of History

subsequent teaching efforts.

The content of history is increasingly in the public
sphere. In US, the national debate over standards has
moved the content of K-12 and college history curriculums
onto the public agenda even though such basic questions
as what information is important and how it is presented
should be concerns primarily of history faculty at all levels.
New questions continue to be raised about who receives
schooling in the country and what is required in that
schooling. The focus on what students know about history
reinforces the need for more (and certainly not less) history
in K-12 classrooms. If one implements the
recommendations of the Bradley Commission, the National
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Report Card,
or National Standards documents, the need for increased
history content learning becomes paramount.
Often history is perceived to be a story of who we
are. Many individuals and groups not directly involved
in history research or teaching have taken an interest in
what the "story" of America and the world conveys about
and to Americans. The outpouring of national feeling after
the attacks of September 11, 2001, has increased the
discussion about what kind of history is taught in schools
and made those questions all the more relevant.
As conversations on campuses in recent years have
often centered on the "canon" of history, those who know
about history from research, teaching, and writing are now
more often, and appropriately so, pulled into the public
debate. Books that focus on this debate about what
students should know and what they do not know in
history have been on bestseller lists. This public evaluation
of what history courses should contain should attract the
attention of all historians, not just the secondary-school
teachers who must respond to state standards, textbook
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 27

selection committees, and their students' parents.

College, university, and secondary school history
faculties have similar objectives, but they offer varying
depth and breadth of knowledge, use multiple techniques,
and teach disparate 'student populations. Because one took
a college course in history one is not a historian; because
one attended high school one is not an effective teacher.
In fact, university historians and secondary-school history
teachers have the potential to create a productive symbiotic
relationship that would benefit all instructors as well as
the students they teach.
Most educators have little opportunity for direct
experience with what goes on in other sectors. Secondary
school teachers have little time to pursue academic
research, and university historians have no time to sit in
secondary classrooms. But the increasing number of
collaborations shows that even without direct experience,
it is possible to increase awareness by meeting on common
ground and thereby understanding better the important
issues in each other's work.


It is still too soon perhaps to accurately assess the

burgeoning collaborations around the country. But the
items below will give an outline of what seem to be some
of the principal trends related to partnerships between
historians at schools and colleges.
History Standards Movement
Following the release of the 1983 report A Nation at Risk,
the general public began to become more concerned about
what was being learned in schools. Nationwide tests in
the late 1980s indicated that U.S. students were far behind
their counterparts in almost every other industrialised
country in the world. The resulting political fallout led to
28 Teaching of History

the Educate America Act of 1994, which set national goals

for student learning. The "goal" that had a special impact
upon the K-12 curriculums stipulated that students should
"leave grades 4, 8, [and] 12 having demonstrated
competency over challenging subjects including English,
mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and
government, economics, arts, history, and geography."
In the process of developing state and local history
standards, many of the issues that had emerged within
the history profession over the past several decades
resurfaced. The "new" social history applied well to the
changing needs of increasingly diverse schools and
students, but it also brought to the forefront the debate
over what historical "truth" is and what our young people
should know to meet the standards of the National Goals.
Multiculturalism raised a debate between
particularists and pluralists, and between "traditional" and
"new" historians. The proposal to include new kinds of
historical research within history texts and curricula had
its critics, since it meant that other "important" material
had to be left out. This debate continues to engage
educators (and the public) as curriculum teams, often using
funds from the Educate America Act, develop state history
standards and assessments.

State and Local Curriculum Goals

Standards have been available for u.S. and world history
since 1994, and states have used them to develop their
own state or local standards. At the secondary level, the
history curriculums in many schools closely follow the
state created standards and benchmarks or "essential
learnings" in order to address tests mandated by the state.
The recently passed No Child Left Behind Act (Public Law
107-110, 2001) mandates testing of students in all grades
for competency in reading and mathematics. Most states
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 29

also have high-stakes tests at the secondary level in

Each state is responsible for its own measure, but,
given the high stakes nature of the test, more and more
teachers experience pressure to "teach to the test." Students
who do not pass the test may not graduate; schools that
do not have a certain average passing score for their
students may be labeled as "failing," with funding
consequences. The emphasis on reading and mathematics
has also led to concerns that teachers may focus less on
history / social studies, believing that they need to
concentrate on what is tested.
State standards have been evaluated by various
organisations and are ranked publicly, most notably by
the Fordham Foundation in The State of State Standards.
Each state is given a grade based on criteria defined by
the foundation. Most states (Oregon, Kentucky, or Virginia,
for example) publish their standards on their state's
Department of Education web sites. A recently completed
comprehensive survey, History Education in the United
States: A Survey of 'reacher Certification and State-based
Standards and Assessments for Teachers and Students by Sarah
Drake Brown and John J. Patrick, provides an analytical
overview of some aspects of the current situation. It is
worth noting that state standards bodies-which often
include neither teachers nor historians-are increasingly
focusing on the high-stakes tests and their results.
This trend has made history courses more formal,
confining teaching to a set curriculum or "essential
content." While the history profession has in general
expanded its areas of study, current trends in secondary
education are leading to a narrowing of the content and
are inhibiting teacher creativity.
30 Teaching of History

Teacher Involvement in Standards

A study found that "nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of all
secondary teachers do not have even a college minor in
their main teaching field." Many history teachers also were
trained outside the field of history. A 1990 survey of 257
history teachers found that 13 percent had never taken a
college history course, and only 40 percent had r B.A. or
M.A. in history. This lack of disciplinary training has
limited their involvement in the definition of standards.
Without the information or training base with which
to decide about what to teach, reliance on published texts
remains a primary source for course development and
delivery, leaving decisions about broader issues of
standards to others. Moreover, with fewer teachers now
available to fill classrooms in urban and rural schools,
teachers are more often teaching "out of content." In social
studies departments, which frequently include the many
varied courses required by the shifting needs of schools,
teachers may be as far from their field of training as to be
teaching peer counseling rather than world history.
Alarming as this situation is, it also points to the
increasing need for university historians to collaborate with
the more than 40 percent of secondary-school history
teachers who did receive training in history and thus have
good knowledge of content and are eager to strengthen
history education in secondary schools. They need to be
supported not only by contributing to the development
of standards but also by encouraging them to be mentors
of others who lack current history knowledge.


An increasing number of schools have moved to change

the basic way they deliver schooling. This has been done
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 31

to accommodate the changing requirements placed on

schools by a society that wants schools to address such
social problems as violent youth, dropouts, or illiterate
graduates Following the lead of such educators as
Theodore Sizer, Robert Slavin, D. W. Johnson, and Roger
T. Johnson, and Edyth Johnson Holubec, schools are
restructuring curriculums and the way they are organised.
Much of this change has focused on middle schools
because they provide the transition between the more
flexible world of elementary schools and the very
structured, subject-centered world of high schools.
In the middle school model a group of 80-120
students, grades 6-8 generally, are placed with a team of
teachers who are responsible for all of their academic
subjects. In this model, history teachers may work with
English, math or science teachers to create themes around
which several subjects may be taught. Themes might be
selected based on the content standards in history or
geography. Middle school teacher teams are encouraged
to think in interdisciplinary terms, as classes may be
combined into nontraditional 90- or 100-minute time
blocks. In the best cases, this scheduling format has
encouraged history teachers to engage in cooperative
planning and to use cooperative learning for students. The
model also may facilitate placing history in a context that
is logically integrated with other academic subjects.
Also at the middle school level many experiments
have been conducted on authentic learning and
assessment. Teaching methods such as inquiry (long a
staple of science labs) and concept formation and concept
attainment (which focus on hands-on learning strategies)
are more readily tried. These methods have also been
encouraged by some of the national standards documents,
notably in mathematics and science and by the Historical
Thinking Standards of the National History Standards. A
32 Teaching of History

significant result of experimentation at the middle-school

level is that some of the leadership for professional
development of faculty has come from middle school
The renaming of the "junior high school" as the
"middle school" has not been simply a matter of changing
the inclusive grades, from 7-9 to 6-8. It has often amounted
to a wholesale restructuring of the goals and orientation
of schools, which has made it much easier to plan
workshops or seminars that address new learning theories
in general. Because teachers work in teams, each teacher
is expected to be responsible for the content of his or her
own teaching fields. The professional training they receive
then, has typically focused on how students' learn, what
keeps students in school, or how students can better work
together, not on what students are learning. Rather,
content learning will more likely occur at the high school
level, where the emphasis has been most focused on
academic content.


Although some high schools incorporate some of the new

structure and methods of the middle school model, most
have found the ideas of cooperative learning and
alternative assessments to be too difficult to implement in
a system that has as its measure of success high scores on
the state mandated tests or SATs and college admissions.
Many university faculty have been linked with high school
teachers in the development of advanced-placement
courses and preparation for gifted and talented
programmes, where it is recognised that the teacher's
content knowledge is essential.
Teachers-especially those who have been required by
the nature of their assignments to teach out of their field
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 33

of study-willing to think in different ways, to provide

students with the newest research in content as well as in
methodology, require additional information and training.
Many school systems, some state education departments,
and the Department of Education at the federal level
recognise the need for in-service training or professional
development for teachers. The National Endowment for
the Humanities (NEH) for many years has supported
summer institutes for teachers in content specialties. These
efforts, where they have been funded, have provided a
valuable service to teachers and students. Additional
education for teachers in secondary schools remains a
sipnificant concern, however.
Frequently, it is a systemwide decision or a state
mandate that governs professional development content
for teachers. Even in a system in which the decisions about
what is presented in the classroom are made at the school
(usually department) level, suggestions or guidelines are
provided from school systems, state organisations or
professional organisations. In history, the AHA, in
collaboration with OAH and NeSS, has just released its
"Benchmarks for Professional Development in Teaching of
History as a Discipline." More teacher input into the
subject and direction of their own pre-service and in-
service training would logically lead to more teacher
commitment to new knowledge.

Education and History Departments

It is a truism that university departments of education and
history exist in separate worlds. Pedagogy and content are
assumed to be entirely distinct, intellectually or
institutionally. But an increasing number of historians, and
in some cases history departments, are becoming closely
involved in teacher licensure or teacher outreach
programmes with their colleagues in ed uca tion
34 Teaching of History

departments. By the same token, within schools of

education there is ongoing discussion about how to
balance methodology with content, or about how to
provide pre-service teachers with current and relevant
history knowledge.
If anything, content has been gaining in importance
in licensing programmes nationally. As early as 1965 the
State of California, responding to concern that content has
been sacrificed for method, ended all education degrees
for the Bachelor of Arts and required that all students
concentrate in a disciplinary field. Other states have
followed this approach. Many states have also required a
fifth year for licensing, in some cases deferring education
courses until that time. In other areas universities have
been considering dramatically downsizing education
schools into departments or programmes or moving to
graduate degrees only (which include licensure
Schools of education are now becoming much more
closely linked to academic departments through the
requirements of their certifying bodies, namely the
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
(NCATE), to which schools of education may choose to
belong, and the National Association of State Directors of
Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), which
governs requirements for teacher licensure within each
state and the District of Columbia. When each body
evaluates teacher preparation programmes, it considers a
set of guidelines that an education school must meet. It
used to be the case that only the pedagogical programmes
for teacher preparation were reviewed, but as of 2000,
NeATE directed a lead organisation within each discipline
to conduct evaluation of the programmes by which future
teachers learn their subject.
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 35

In the case of history, that is being done by the

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), and the
great majority of history departments will have to be
involved at least to some degree. Universities and colleges
seeking accreditation for their teacher preparation
programmes in secondary History ISocial Studies must
prepare a portfolio demonstrating that the course work
required of their graduates has successfully taught
historical items that relate specifically to the standards of
the NCSS. The portfolios are reviewed by teams of
historians and history educators. The AHA has developed
a document to advise departments how to undertake the
Since 1989 another standards body has been in place
that attempts to set a specially elevated standard for
individual teachers. The National Board for Professional
Teaching Standards (NBPTS) invites teachers to
demonstrate their ability to meet standards that reflect
exceptional teaching based upon a deep knowledge of their
subject. It uses a model for requirements and testing
related to that of the medical profession. This voluntary
process is attracting participation by teachers in numerous
states, many of which offer increased salary and
recertification points to teachers for successful completion
of the process.
The National Board currently offers certification in
Early Adolescence Social Studies-History (students aged
11-15) and in Adolescence and Young Adulthood Social
Studies-History (students aged 14-18+). The programme
is focused upon five core principles that have been adapted
by NCATE for inclusion in its evaluation of teacher
preparation ptogrammes:
- Teachers are committed to students and their learning.
36 Teaching of History

Teachers know the subjects they teach and how to

teach the subject to students.
Teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring
student learning.
Teachers think systematically about their practice and
learn from experience.
Teachers are members of learning communities.
The Int.erstate New Teacher Assessment and Support
Consortium (INTASC) is attempting to use these standards
as a basis upon which to unify guidelines for teacher
training institutions all around the country.
History departments might usefully take into account
these guideline statements in considering the relevance of
their curriculums for teacher training. Right now, with
some important exceptions, the task of specifically
evaluating teacher preparation is left to education
departments. Yet schools of education can only do so much
without the collaboration of university history departments
and school history-social studies departments. It appears
that different constituencies hold pieces of the whole
A 1995 study of 400 history departments by John W.
Lamer of Indiana University of Pennsylvania found that
in most higher education institutions, the work of training
history teachers is done outside history departments. The
greatest amount of collaboration (35 percent) occurs in
advising education students, while as few as 8 percent
shared responsibility for teaching the history-social studies
methods course. Since that study, the AHA has taken a
leading role in encouraging these K-16 collaborations and
reporting them on their web site. Stronger collaboration
in just this one area could potentially create a stronger
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 37

teacher, a better prepared student, more effective research,

and a better place for history in academic institutions in
the future.

Learning Theory and Teaching History

Just as the demographics of the student population in our
schools and the range of historical research have changed,
so too should our notions about effective learning of
content. There are innovative programmes and individuals
at the secondary and university levels that are endeavoring
to integrate the new history with the latest learning
From learning theorists such as John Dewey and Jean
Piaget to historians such as James Banks and Geneva Gay
who write about history teachers in the secondary schools,
the idea of involving learners in the process (of "doing
history") has been a constant. Inquiry learning, advocated
by Edwin Fenton in the late 1960s and early 1970s-from
which so much of what is being done today in history
education has evolved-has been reinforced by James Banks
and others in the 1990s.
For many years, theorist Jerome Bruner has advocated
inquiry as a strong method of engaging students in
learning. Students are encouraged to go "beyond the
information given" and to ask their own questions and
construct their own understanding. Tom Holt, in his essay,
Thinking Historically, advocates the integration of thinking
skills into the teaching of history, and not developed as a
separate skill. The National History Standards of 1994 and
1996, which continue to be highly influential in history
education, include a section called "Standards in Historical
Thinking" that defines how historical thinking is best
applied to teaching.
Some programmes are under way that illustrate this
38 Teaching of History

trend. Research in the area of second-language learning

and learners suggests a method that combines reading,
writing, and analysis skills with content to accomplish the
"outcome goals" (what students know and what they are
able to do) of the new standards found in many states.
The large numbers of immigrant children entering our
schools in recent decades have called attention to questions
about learning that had traditionally been addressed
differently with English-speaking students.
Because school personnel today generally place newly
admitted students in classes based on age rather than
English ability, limited English proficiency (LEP) students
are often placed in secondary-school classes, where they
must acquire both language ability and content knowledge
in order to pass proficiency tests in history or government.
Teaching LEP students to succeed in this academic setting
involves the use of more hands-on presentation, group
learning, and alternative assessment. The vocabulary and
concepts so important to second-language learners are
equally crucial to all history learners; the methods effective
with LEP students are also found to work for all history
learners. Increasing numbers of LEP students entering
colleges make this information about teaching methods
relevant to university teachers as well.
Innovative pedagogic methods are emerging also
from the increasing computer use for research and
presentation in secondary schools. Once exclusively the
province of advanced placement and gifted and talented
classes, computers have been routinely discovered to
intrigue "regular" and special-needs students as well.
Again, involving students in their own learning enhances
the learning for almost all students, the only additional
problem being that with computer applications, teachers
often need training along with the students to become
History Teaching ill Secondary Schools 39

more comfortable with the possibilities for classroom use.

Research on history learning also generates
opportunities for mutual discussion and experimentation
by history teachers at both school and college levels. The
research is not yet well connected to actual teaching
practice, but the potential is significant. Researchers have
examined, for example, ways in which students handle
source materials, with implications for generating more
rapid acquisition of relevant analytical skills. A lot of
similar research is going on in Europe on this subject. The
International Society of History Didactics provides a forum
where educators from a great variety of countries-the
United States included-and diverse academic constituencies
share their work.
When all is said and done, all of the researchers who
examine history learning have similar approaches: one way
or another, one must involve the students. It is the "how"
of this approach that often stops secondary school and
college and university faculty from proceeding to make
the changes they, too, believe benefit their students. Active
learning is the key, but this does not have to mean that
one should never lecture or never convey to students the
knowledge one has gained as a historian. Rather, it means
pulling the students into that process so that they learn
from and with the teacher. The renewed interest among
history teachers in using documents to supplement
textbooks is one important response to this challenge,
although the practice remains limited.
A related technique that has been effective is to
provide students with small parts of the story on which
they can "put their own stamp." Using artifacts from an
era under study has been particularly successful. Students
at all levels can answer questions about "real" pieces of
history (a document in its author's original hand available
40 Teachi1lg of History

from the National Archives or a local historical museum

or an object such as an early coffee grinder, a mass-
produced skillet, or a piece of art from Central Africa).
The object introduces the time period or the theme.
Students answer questions about the object's use, its
maker, or the object itself. Their answers give the teacher
useful information about the students' knowledge of the
topic and provide direction for the instruction that follows.
By first asking students to hypothesize about the subject
they are exploring, the instructor involves them in the
process of thinking historically.
Teaching in this way demands that the instructor
continue to work on the craft of teaching through
professional contexts. The idea of professional
development originated in the public schools and has
affected how schools of education work with K-12 schools.
Increasingly that has led to collaboration with museums
and college and university history departments.

Collaborative Efforts
There are an increasing number of collaborative efforts to
enhance history learning in all parts of the country. Just
how a collaborative effort becomes successful is a complex
problem, but there are plenty of examples of projects that
have found solutions to it. They basically provide diverse
professional groups strong common links by which to
work together, thus strengthening the place of history in
the schools and in colleges and universities collectively.
The movement of college-school partnerships goes back
to National History Day of the 1970s and the History
Teaching Alliance of the 1980s; the National History
Education Network (NHEN) in the 1990s was sponsored
by the AHA, the Organisation of American Historians
(OAH), and the National Council for the Social Studies
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 41

Yet the key to collaborations lies in local effort, and

for that reason this discussion can only skim the surface
of the subject by outlining national programmes that
encourage such efforts. In general, school-college
collaboratives tend to offer one or more possible types of
programme: an annual day of panels either on content or
pedagogy; on-going study groups or courses for teachers;
and college participation in teacher preparation.
One of the oldest, still existing collaborative
programmes takes place within the Advanced Placement
Test programme of the Educational Testing Service. It
gathers together teachers and college faculty every summer
to mark the AP exams, and in so doing has established
an extremely important link between faculty in the two
sectors of education. The accelerating growth in the
number of students taking the history exams has brought
about a need for more rep~esentatives from colleges and
National History Day has established by far the most
widespread and permanent programme of local
collaboratives. Founded by David Van Tassel in Cleveland
in 1974, it provides a platform for historians and teachers
to interact with public school students about history. The
process of creating a project for the annual National
History Day provides an opportunity for students to do
the historical inquiry that historians value and wish to
instill in students. At all levels (local, state, and national)
historians can be involved with schools and students in
grades 6-12 (as resource persons, judges, or supporters)
through the National History Day summer institutes for
teachers or at the national competition, held annually in
June at the University of Maryland in College Park,
The Council for Basic Education (CBE) has sponsored
42 Teaching of History

annual conferences that bring to the nation's capital faculty

in education and the liberal arts who are active in
partnerships. It works closely with a variety of
organisations concerned with teacher preparation; in June
2000, for example, its conference was devoted to the
PRAXIS II examination designed to assess the content
knowledge of students working for teaching credentials.
The CBE focuses its work on consortia of colleges with
particular areas of interest in different parts of the country.
A particularly active sponsor of collaboration, the
Gilder-Lehrman Institute, has grown up in the last five
years. It sponsors or lends assistance to a wide variety of
programmes for history teachers, chiefly but not
exclusively on the East Coast. Of particular interest is its
leadership in developing the "history high school," the
programme by which a school makes history the focus of
its curriculum to a particular degree.
The National Council for History Education sponsors
a variety of programmes of collaboration between teachers
and professors. Its annual meeting is the main regular
gathering devoted to discussion of history teaching
between people in colleges, universities and the schools.
Members of the organisation lead programmes within
Teaching American History grants as well as other
projects. The leadership of the NCHE includes prominent
historians and public school history teachers.
Historians also work with projects supporting the
teaching of civics or government. For example, the
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
(ASCD), in collaboration with Freedom Forum's First
Amendment Center, has developed a First Amendment
Schools Project. It involves schools, communities, and
experts in content and curriculum development in
reframing how schools model and teach democratic
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 43

principles of the first amendment.

Leadership has also been very important at the
regional or state level. For example, the Ohio Academy of
History, currently housed at the University of Akron, is a
professional society bringing together teachers, scholars,
public historians, and students interested in all fields of
history. It seeks to promote high standards of historical
scholarship and teaching and the development and
dissemination of historical knowledge in the state's schools
and colleges. The Academy issues awards for outstanding
publication, teaching, service, dissertations, and public
history. It also monitors and comments on the
dissemination of historical knowledge in Ohio's schools.

Areas of New Opportunity

Computer Technology and Collaborative Learning

Technology is affecting the historian's way of doing
business, and it is an integral part of the discussion on
learning. More and more is available in the education
market in the way of electronic media for teacher and
student use. Some of these provide access to vast
databases; some use data to create programmes for student
use. Although some advertise their value by emphasizing
how they involve students in history, they often provide
nothing more than a pre-set list of choices that move
students through a prescribed cause and effect process to
arrive at a previously decided end pOint. There are a
number of very significant issues involved in the use of
technology, especially computers, in K-Grad classrooms
that involve decisions about validity of approach and value
of content. In this case, evaluation of effective materials
could be an area of collaboration.
Partnerships with organisations, both in other schools
and outside school walls, may also advantage resource
44 Teaching of History

poor schools with training and collaborative development

of effective lessons that can maximise the technology
resources they have. Joint seminars or learning
opportunities that expand computer knowledge and at the
same time develop teaching ideas for students could be
another base for significant school university collaboration.

Off-Site Study
Resources outside the classroom are underused at all levels
of teaching history. Every community has something
within its boundaries that reflects a time in our past and
in many cases communities support local museums or
historical societies. If there is a partnership with a local
college or university, historians and their students can
work with secondary students to research, analyse, and
write from documentary, photographic, or oral sources. In
so doing, students can build a relationship with their own
community and its people in ways a text, a lecture, or a
computer can not provide.

Classroom Connections between History and Education

There has long been a disconnect between the practice of

historians teaching in the classroom and the research and
theory about teaching history. In liberal-arts institutions
there is an ideal opportunity to combine new historical
knowledge with new research about learning. Mary
Crystal Cage, for example, has written about a programme
in which students majoring in the liberal arts may also
learn about teaching. The course focuses upon the special
skills required for effective teaching. Moreover, some
universities are linking upper-level history courses with
students who are working toward a teaching credential.
This has happened, for example, at George Washington
University between the Schools of Education and Arts and
Sciences . The approach increases the content knowledge
of college students who are planning to teach and at the
History Teaching in Secondary Schools 45

same time increases the knowledge of all history majors

and faculty in the varied teaching methods applied to

Development of Content Core

History has a lot to gain from the growth of public interest
in standards as a central principle of public education. The
efforts on the part of many states to develop their own
history standards indicate that they value the knowledge
and ways of thinking about and analysing material that
students gain by studying history. The basis exists to
reemphasize the significant role of history in the
curriculums of public secondary schools. This could not
be more effectively illustrated than with the recognition
of the frequency with which history and historians were
called upon to provide context for discussion and action
as it relates to current events.
Secondary school teachers value the support of
university historians in processing the historical debates,
updating their learning, and gaining confidence in the
message they bring to their students. At the same time, if
the collaboration is to be completely effective, university
history teachers need to address the learning issues of their
students; to add the new knowledge gained by learning
theorists, museum educators, and other applied historians
that expands the reach of their teaching.

History Curriculums and Teacher Training

Since the great majority of colleges train future history
teachers, commitment to a strong history major, and
possibly a related minor, constitutes the most important
basic requirement needed for contribution to this training.
At the same time, some programmes might profitably
reevaluate elements of their offerings in light of the teacher
training role to make sure that appropriate range,
46 Teaching of History

exposure to analytical skills, guidance in coordinated

interdisciplinary work, and imaginative assessment
mechanisms are available-along with consideration of
relevant opportunities to interact with existing history
Departments training history teachers must not only
indicate that students have taken certain history courses,
but that students can demonstrate and apply the
knowledge gained in the course work. This requirement
should provide an opportunity for history departments to
collaborate in teacher training, if only to provide
information about their content courses. Two-year colleges
also playa strong role in the development of the historical
knowledge of potential teachers.
Teaching Tools for Local History


A neighborhood is a community of houses, streets and

landscape that has a unique character and is part of a
larger community. It is a good size for a study of
community functions, for developing a self-guiding trail,
or for a study of architectural styles. Few students take
the time to notice the individual structures in their
neighbourhoods or to even wonder what they might have
been before. Slowing students down to take a longer look
at the community in which they live can provide them
with tangible context for larger historical themes.
For example in US, when teaching industrialisation,
the immediate reaction is to take students to the Lowell
National Historic Park and Tsongas Industrial History
Center, each of which provides superb models for learning
and teaching. At the same time, many of the smaller towns
in which students live were built on the Lowell model
and provide historical context within the familiar. When
students begin to see the patterns of, for example, land
use in relation to residences vs. industry, owners vs.
workers, environmental impact in their own towns, they
are better able to see them in whatever industrial towns
they may encounter in the future.
48 Teaching of History

Teaching Tips
In older cities in particular, many of the buildings that
remain are those of wealthier individuals who used to live
in the community. It is easy to assume from that physical
evidence that everyone lived the way that the individuals
who peopled those houses did. Likely, very few did. When
presented with a historic neighborhood or building, it is
essential to ask the students to figure out what else would
have existed. Have all the buildings of workers been torn
down? What have they been replaced with? Why do those
buildings that exist still remain?

Basic Questions
What makes a neighborhood? Define the
neighborhood you are studying: its boundaries,
location on a map, numbers of houses, streets.
What is typical about this neighborhood? Unusual?
What are the types of land use in your neighborhood?
Residential Houses? Business/Stores? Industry? Open
How do neighbours travel to work? What kinds of
transportation are available?
What is the oldest house date? Are any houses on the
National Register? Newest?
What is the origin of neighborhood street names?
(How would you find out? Town or city hall?
Neighbours? Library research?
What role has this neighborhood played in the larger
What issues are of concern to thE. neighborhood now?
Teaching Tools for Local History 49

Critical Thinking Questions

In neighbourhoods that housed the wealthier segments
of the population, who are the people you don't see?
Who were the people who made life comfortable for
residents who lived in those areas? Where did they
live? Is there any record left of their contributions to
the quality of life in that area?
Interview members of the community to determine
past neighborhood conc.erns and how the
neighborhood has changed.
Develop a walking tour of the neighborhood as a
tourist brochure. Why would anyone not living there
want to take the tour?
Do an inventory of house styles in the neighborhood.
Research changing styles.
Compare the built and natural environments of your
neighborhood (percent of each, quality and character
and how they rei a te to each other.
Students can make a display showing old and new
pictures of their neighborhood. Exhibit class pictures
from different neighbourhoods and tie this in with
map studies of the neighbourhoods


Using cemeteries to teach local history provide many

opportunities to provide local context for national topics.
Everything from the location of the cemetery in relation
to the larger town to the art of the gravestones provides
invaluable information about how members of that
community viewed death and life. How a cemetery is used
in the classroom is largely determined by what it is that
is being studied. Are you looking to see the impact of
50 Teaching of History

disease or mortality on the make-up of the town? Do a

survey of individual stones to see what patterns develop.
Are you looking at wealth distribution and social status?
Compare the complexity of stones within the same 10-20
year period. If you are looking to see how the community's
perspective on death has evolved over time, than take a
look at several sections of the cemetery and chart the
changes in iconography, structure and location of

Teaching Tips
Provide information on the Cemetery you will visit with
students: its location, who owns it, runs it, role in
community. Check it out ahead of time so that you are
comfortable leading the trip and your activities are
relevant. If you use the sheets on gravestone symbols the
students' will locate, be sure there are good examples to
find. If you are dividing up the cemetery in sections so
that detailed work can be done on a specific area, find
similar-sized areas that allow comparisons. Modify the
templates to the specifications of your cemetery.

Gravestone Rubbing
For many years, students and enthusiasts of gravestone
art have taken "rubbings" of favourite stones. While this
seems like an easy project to do with students, it is, in
fact, quite controversial.. Repeated rubbings degrade the
stones and can cause damage if done improperly. The
following is an excerpt from the Association for
Gravestone Studies' guide on the Dos and Don'ts of
Gravestone Rubbings:

Please Do
Check (with cemetery superintendent, cemetery
commissioners, town clerk, historical society, whoever
Teaching Tools for Local History 51

is in charge) to see if rubbing is allowed in the

Get permission and/or a permit as required.
Rub only solid stones in good condition. Check for any
cracks, evidence of previous breaks and adhesive
repairs, defoliating stone with air pockets behind the
face of the stone that will collapse under pressure of
rubbing, etc
Become educated; learn how to rub responsibly.
Use a soft brush and plain water to do any necessary
stone cleaning.
Make certain that your paper covers the entire face of
the stone; secure with masking tape.
Use the correct combination of paper and waxes or
inks; avoid magic marker-type pens or other
permanent color materials.
Test paper and color before working on stone to be
certain that no color bleeds through.
Rub gently, carefully.
Leave the stone in better condition than you found it.
Take all trash with you; replace any grave site
materials that you may have disturbed.
Please Don't
Don't attempt to rub deteriorating marble or
sandstone, or any unsound or weakened stone (for
example, a stone that sounds hollow when gently
tapped or a stone that is flaking, splitting, blistered,
cracked, or unstable on its base).
52 Teaching of History

Don't use detergents, soaps, vinegar, bleach, or any

other cleaning solutions on the stone, no matter how
Don't use shaving cream, chalk, graphite, dirt, or other
concoctions in an attempt to read worn inscriptions.
Using a large mirror to direct bright sunlight
diagonally across the face of a grave marker casts
shadows in indentations and makes inscriptions more
Don't use stiff-bristled or wire brushes, putty knives,
nail files, or any metal object to clean or to remove
lichen from the stone; Soft natural bristled brushes,
whisk brooms, or wooden sticks are usually OK if
used gently and carefully
Don't attempt to remove stubborn lichen. Soft lichen
may be thoroughly soaked with plain water and then
loosened with a gum eraser or a wooden popsicle
stick. Be gentle. Stop if lichen does not come off easily.
Don't use spray adhesives, scotch tape, or duct tape.
Use masking tape.
Don't use aay rubbing method that you have not
actually practiced under supervision.
Don't leave masking tape, wastepaper, colors, etc., at
the grave site

Basic Questions
What is the name of this cemetery? In what
community is it located?
Locate the cemetery on town map. Describe its
location, size and immediate neighbours. Why do you.
think this site was selected? What does the location
of the cemetery tell you about the relationship between
life and death in the community?
Teaching Tools for Local History 53

Who is buried here? Look for names that are found

throughout town (names of schools, streets, ponds,
What years are covered in this cemetery? List oldest
and most recent you find. Identify the oldest and
newest stones in the cemetery. How have they
changed over time?
What kinds of gravestone shapes do you find and
what symbols are on them?
Find several gravestones that look very similar and
might be carved by the same carver. What were his
favourite symbols and inscriptions? List the name of
the carver if found on the gravestones.
Read several epitaphs and write out your favourite.

Critical Thinking Questions

Can you determine when new ethnic groups arrive
and are their life expectancy rates different from
community contemporaries? Do you find causes of
death specific to that group? (Quarry worker, e.g.)
Read poetry or literature that relates to graveyards,
death and dying and write an epitaph for a poets or
authors you are reading. Or if you are studying the
community, write epitaphs for leading townsmen and
Identify stones representing different levels of wealth
and status in the community. How do these stones
reflect the economics of the community?
Do a survey of gravestones that have natural and
human damage. They might be broken, knocked over
(human), eroded from rain, wind or be affected by
plant material, lichen (natural). Consider the kind of
54 Teaching of History

stone used and determine which kind is most, least

durable. Comment on the different methods of writing
inscriptions on the stone and effectiveness.
Do a statistical study of life expectancies during a
particular period of time and note causes of death.
Make comparisons between different periods. Look for
evidence of infant mortality, wars, epidemics etc. What
are the differences between male and female life
expectancy? What might account for this?
community. How do these stones reflect the economics
of the community?
Do a survey of gravestones that have natural and
human damage. They might be broken, knocked over
(human), eroded from rain, wind or be affected by
plant material, lichen (natural). Consider the kind of
stone used and determine which kind is most, least
durable. Comment on the different methods of writing
inscriptions on the stone and effectiveness.
Do a statistical study of life expectancies during a
particular period of time and note causes of death.
Make comparisons between different periods. Look for
evidence of infant mortality, wars, epidemics etc. What
are the differences between male and female life
expectancy? What might account for this?


Census records are invaluable sources for investigating

population changes, family structures, immigration and
economic patterns. Students can use them in conjunction
with old maps to gain a clearer picture of the texture of
past life. Many primary source documents that have been
preserved over time, like diaries, letters and other
traditional historical sources, document the lives of
Teaching Tools for Local History 55

extraordinary or privileged people. In contrast, source

materials like the census, track "ordinary" as well as
"extraordinary" individuals. Examining such records
allows us to begin to construct a more interestingly
inclusive view of history. Population schedules can be used
to study immigration, ethnicity, families, health, work and
economic trends, among numerous other topics.
The U.S. has counted its population every 10 years
since 1790, in order to apportion seats in the House of
Representatives. Thus, in each census, Americans from the
famous to the unsung and the infamous appear, including
local residents, villains, and favourite figures of literature,
politics and the arts. As with any historical document,
there are gaps in the coverage of the population schedules.
The US Census between 1790 and 1840 is a fairly simple
list of the heads of households, with combined numbers
indicating others in the household. The census did not
enumerate American Indians until the late nineteenth
century. The 1890 U.S. Census was destroyed by fire in
By law, the records from the federal population
censuses are confidential for 72 years. Thus, April 2012 is
the scheduled date for the National Archives to open the
1940 records to public use. In Massachusetts the population
was counted every ten years from 1855 to 1945, but only
the original population schedules for the 1855 and 1865
census still exist. All other Massachusetts State census
years are lost or destroyed. The originals, as well as
microfilmed copies, are located at the Massachusetts State

Teaching Tips
Because they are "tabular data", census records can be
typed into a spreadsheet or database programme and then
56 Teaching of History

sorted, sifted, categorised and analysed by students to

determine demographic trends. Historical, artistic and
literary figures can be searched for and found in census
records, as well as individuals who lived and worked in
the local community. Online census indices and scanned
census documents can make the process of searching easy.

Basic Questions
What year was this census taken?
Where was this census taken (Street(s), Enumeration
District, Town, County, State)
What is the identification or page number of this
census sheet? Does there seem to be more than one
page numbering system in place?
What is the name of the person who wrote down the
census information (canvasser)?
How many family groups are listed on this sheet?
How can you tell?
Who is the oldest person on the sheet?
Who is the youngest person on the sheet?

Critical Thinking Questions

What was the average age and range of ages of
residents on this sheet or in this town?
Compare the percentage of residents that were male
or female.
What percentage of residents are foreign born? What
percentages of residents come from which countries?
What is the literacy rate among adults on this sheet
or in this town?
Teaching Tools for Local History 57

What is the most common occupation? (Look up any

unfamiliar occupations).
What is the apparent average life span in this town
in 1910?
What is the typical family structure in this town?
List families by type of work (farming, specific trade,
merchant, etc.). Examine the kinds of occupations for
men and women. Are they sex-typed? Compare with
modern family structure and gender roles.
Tally the number of families and of household
structures. Often the families exceed the number of
homes, and in addition, many homes had only one
bedroom. Let the students think about what those
numbers mean and discuss questions of personal
privacy, family groupings, homelessness, and
comparisons with today.


History comes alive when students are engaged with

primary source materials. Original documents, whether
public or private, help to provide context for historical
events because they were created by people who
participated in or witnessed the events of the past. For
the purposes of this template, primary source documents
include local first person accounts (e.g. diaries, memoirs,
correspondence) and public documents (e.g.
correspondence, treaties, laws, speeches.) Using primary
source documents helps students develop cognitive skills
including analysis, interpretation, perspective, empathy
and self-knowledge.

Teaching Tips
Because of preservation concerns, there are often
58 Teaching of History

limitations on how much, or whether, original documents

can be handled by students. Digitised copies of original
documents can serve as working versions for examination,
transcription, etc., and have the added benefit of being
enlargable, printable and annotatable. However, whenever
possible, arrange for students to see the original up dose
at least once. So much of modem life is in facsimile that
it can be important for students to viscerally understand
that historic documents are real artifacts related to real
peoples' lives.
Town derks, local librarians and historical society
staff are sometimes able and willing to collaborate with
schools in digitising select documents for educational use.
Scanned documents can be posted on a local website for
many classes to use. Although younger students may have
difficulty reading primary source documents, they can
sometimes participate in the excitement of "decoding" old
handwriting by working in pairs on a small portion of a
document. Using an alphabet chart to help decipher just
a few words, each team contributes decoded phrases to
the whole.

Basic Questions
Is this document a primary or secondary source? How
do you know?
Who wrote this document and why?
What do you know about this author/creator?
When was it written? If no date is listed, what clues
are there that could help date it?
Where was it written and where is the document now
found? (owner, repository)
What is the document about? (title/subject)
Teaching Tools for Local History 59

Who was the intended audience?

Was the document meant to be public or private?
What tools were used to write it and what is its
appearance? (handwritten with quill, pen, pencil?
Typewritten? Printed?
What type of paper was used?

Critical Thinking Questions

For whom was the document created?
What sorts of information does the document supply?
Under what circumstances was the document created?
What did the creator hope to accomplish by creating
this document? How would this influence the content
of the source?
What were the opinions, motivations, or interests of
the creator?
How does his or her point of view compare to other
writers of the period? What kind of impact would this
have on the content of the source?
How reliable is this document for historical accuracy?
What criteria can you use to determine historical
Can you trust the source's content at face value? Did
the creator wish to inform, persuade, or deceive his
or her audience?
What did you already know about the subject of this
document and how did this knowledge affect the way
you read it?
What additional information is needed to help you
understand the subject more fully?
60 Teaching of History

What questions would you like to address the author

of this document?
How can you find out more about the context of this


Human beings process visual (non-textual) information

better than textual or numeric information. Through the
use of visual images students can develop a sense of both
place and time. Visual images from drawn from students'
current or historical surroundings can elicit creative
thinking and writing in the classroom.

Teaching Tips
Paper-based ("low tech") images and digital images can
both be used effectively in the classroom. Original or paper
images have the advantage of immediacy, while digital
images can be printed, enlarged, projected and annotated.
In addition, images can be saved to disk, then copied into
folders and saved on classroom computers or onto school

Basic Questions
When was this image created?
What is the image type or format (drawing, cartoon,
painting, photograph)
Is this a primary or a secondary source? How can you
When was this image created? If there is no obvious
date, what clues can help you date the image?
Where is the original image stored?
Teaching Tools for Local History 61

Critical Thinking Questions

Why was the image created? What is the point of view
of the image? Whose story is it telling?
What interest do you think the photographer has in
this subject? What is the creator's point of view? Does
this tell you why the image was created?
What does the image reveal about its subject?
What did you already know about this subject before
viewing the picture that might have affected the way
you read it?
What is the setting of the image?
What sorts of details does it include or emphasize?
What sorts of details does it exclude?
What are the underlying messages of the image and
motives of the image's creator?
How long after the event was the image created? How
does this influence the image's content or perspective?
Why do you think the image was taken or drawn at
this particular moment in time?
What questions would you like to ask the
photographer or artist to find out more about the
subject of the image?
What questions would you like to ask a person(s) in
the image?
How could you do further research on this subject?


A map is a visual representation of a place on a flat

surface. Maps can help us understand our community's
62 Teaching of History

location in space and time. In addition to teaching

geographic understanding, maps can: illustrate change
over time, personalise history by giving evidence of
familiar landmarks in the setting of the past, and by
demonstrating the attitudes of people and their beliefs
about the area they live in, as well as the political policies
of past eras. Exploring and creating maps can hone
students' abilities to analyse, think and learn.
Maps have traditionally been limited to paper media,
which could be difficult to obtain for local areas. Digital
solutions provide a range of new choices for searci-.1ng,
manipulating, viewing and analysing maps, although
paper maps can still be used very effectively in the
classroom when available.

Teaching Tips
In general, try to select maps which are not too
complicated, or 'noisy' for students to comfortably explore.
Experiment with map websites and CD-ROMs before
students use them to be sure you are familiar with
navigating, zooming in and out, saving and printing maps.
Some map sites require special browser plugins, for
instance the "MrSid" plugin for Library of Congress maps,
to make best use of their maps.
Most maps have a title, which often includes
informatior. about the time period that the map illustrates.
Maps have orientation, which includes compass direction
and geographic relationships within an established area.
Maps have a source, or author, which often gives insight
about its intended purpose and reason for creation. Maps
may have a legend explaining the symbols used and a
scale showing how distance is represented. Many maps
use grids to show lines of latitude and longitude.
Teaching Tools Jor Local History 63

Types of Maps:
Political maps represent the political units of the
world, showing names of localities and boundary
Physical maps use shaded or painted relief to illustrate
a region's major landforms, including mountain
ranges, deserts, glaciers, rivers, valleys, etc.
Topographic maps are general reference maps showing
coastlines, cities, and rivers that use contour lines to
show elevation differences. Such maps are helpful to
hikers because they can show elevation changes along
a trail.
Atlas maps can show anything about anywhere. An
atlas can contain collections of political, physical,
satellite, and thematic maps. Countries, states, towns
have produced atlases that describe all aspects of that
Historical maps can be maps created in the past,
reproductions of past maps, or modem-day creations
illustrating past events or places.

Basic Questions
What is the title/subject of this map?
Who was the cartographer (creator)? What do you
know about this cartographer/creator?
When was it prepared? If no date is listed, what dues
are there that could help date the map?
Where was this map originally produced and where
is the map now found? (owner, repository)
What was the purpose of the map and its intended
64 Teaching of History

What tools were used to prepare it and what is its

appearance? (Black and white, hand drawn with pen
etc, or printed in colors, etc., type of paper or print?)
Describe what you find on this map: spe.cific
information and symbols.

Critical Thinking Questions

How can yo~ tell if this map is accurate? What sources
would you use to verify it?
What do you think was the intent of the map creator
and why it was written? What is stressed and what
is omitted? Do you think any bias was shown in its
What additional information is needed to help you
understand the map information more fully?
What questions would you like to address to the
creator of this map?
What would you like to learn more about to better
understand the context of this map and how would
you get this information?
Compare maps of town in past and present. Draw a
map illustrating the town in the future. Use a Venn
Diagram to explore similarities and differences
between the three illustrations. What things remained
the same? What things changed? What things do
people have control over (e.g., transportation, housing
style), and what things cannot be easily changed,
barring unforeseen technological breakthroughs (e.g.,
climate, soil, natural resources)? How realistic do you
think your future map is?


Material Culture is a fancy way of saying "stuff". Often

Teaching Tools for Local History 65

when referring to objects used and created by people,

students are taught to call them "artifacts". Historians use
the terms "artifacts" and "material culture"
interchangeably. There are as many ways to use objects
in the classroom, as there are objects to use. The most
essential part of using objects in a classroom setting is in
invoking their storytelling power. Objects can tell many
tales and are subject to diverse and divergent
interpreta tions.

Teaching Tips
The use of objects as teaching tool is particularly profound
when trying to elicit non-linear responses or stories. For
example, when doing oral histories with grandparents,
students should ask their subjects to tell them about objects
that are on the piano or by their bedsides rather than
asking a straight list of "Where were you when ... "
questions. Objects bring up emotional responses and
memories easier than linear questions.
Additionally, when teaching in the history classroom,
objects have the power to tell tales and link students to
the history of other time periods. For example, if students
are studying several eras in history, consider linking them
together by telling the story of one type of item that across
time would be used daily (ex. Shoes, kitchen goods, etc.)
Watching how these items changed, including their use
and production, provides students with a concrete
representation of the abstract changes in society.
All of the information here is designed to help
teachers integrate some form of material culture into their
classroom, so there is no one set of questions that will
effectively cover all the possible angles that a teacher could
use with a particular object. Depending on the article you
choose, you may need to find questions in other templates
66 Teaching of History

that better lead your discussion of the object in question.

The essentials for teaching with an object are simply
knowing the story you want that object to tell and asking
the questions that will help them uncover it. Being
comfortable with Socratic questioning is one of the best
prerequisites for teaching with material culture.

Basic Questions
What is it?
What is it made of?
What is it used for?
Who would use it?
How would they use it? How do you know that?
What symbols or markings does it contain?
What does this tell you about the person/people who
used it?
What aspect of society does this relate to: work, home,
religion, etc.?

Critical Thinking Questions

In order for this object to exist, what else needs to
exist within the society that created it?
What does this object say about the people who made
it? What do they value?
What emotions or reactions does this object inspire in
you? Would every generation have the same reaction
to it? Why or why not?
What does this object tell you about the social rank,
status or class of the individual that used it? What
does it say in general about people of that rank, status
or class?
Teaching Tools for Local History 67

What other objects from this society would you like

to see in order to confirm or refute your theories about
this object?

News and Cartoons

Newspapers, whether recent or historic, can be very useful
teaching tools. They can bring the past alive by adding a
human dimension, historical context, drama and a sense
of immediacy to textbook accounts of events.

Teaching Tips
Some topics are better suited than others for newspaper
research. The best topics are those which can be connected
to specific events, while the least suitable topics are those
which show up not in events but in trends, long-term
developments, or social movements. Local political,
government and military issues, public works projects,
labour union strikes, natural disasters, eyewitness accounts
of landmark events, local personalities, advertisements
(including personal advertisements) are just some of the
topics that can be readily researched in local and regional
newspapers. In addition, political cartoons illustrating local
social and political issues can be good sources for
exploration and analysis. Commercial advertisements,
classified and personal ads, social pages and obituaries are
also fertile sources for local history research in newspapers.
As with any primary source, newspapers, broadsides
and cartoons invite students to hone their critical thinking
skills, to determine the objectivity and accuracy of a given
source. In the case of newspapers, partisanship, boosterism
and the possibility of heightened controversy for
circulation reasons must all be considered as factors that
influence the content and tone of the news.
68 Teaching of History

Basic Questions
What is the topic of the article or cartoon?
Who wrote it (author/creator/artist)? What do you
know about this author/creator? If the creator is
unknown, are there clues to help identify him or her?
How reliable is this article or cartoon for historical
What biases can writers, artists and other_s bring to
their work?
When was it created? If no date is listed, what clues
are there that could help date it?
Where was it written and where is the article or
cartoon now found?
Who was the intended audience?

Critical Thinking Questions

What were the opinions, motivations, or interests of
the creator? What did the creator hope to accomplish
by creating this article or cartoon?
Is the creator of this document deliberately
anonymous? If so, what factors might have
contributed to its being published anonymously?
Did the creator wish to inform, persuade, or deceive
his or her audience?
How does the creator's point of view compare to other
writers and artists of the period?
What kind of impact would the artistic context of the
era have on the content of the source?
What questions would you like to address the author
of this article or cartoon?
Teaching Tools for Local History 69

For whom was the article or cartoon created?

What sorts of information does the article or cartoon
What did you already know about the subject of this
article or cartoon and how did this knowledge affect
the way you viewed or read it?
Can you trust the document's content at face value?
What additional information is needed to help you
understand the subject more fully?
Advertisements and Broadsides:
What is being promoted by this ad or broadside?
What information does this ad or broadside contain?
Describe any claims of fact, reality or results the
document makes.
Who is the target reader?
How has advocacy for this product changed over
What social changes are reflected by changes in
presentation of this product or issue?


A timeline is an ordered representation of events, generally

displayed on a time scale. Many teachers have discovered
the value of using timelines to help put curriculum in
perspective. Timelines are efficient graphic organisers that
provide a tool for studying periods of time ranging from
a day, a year, a century, or the span of an individual's
life or of era.
70 Teaching of History

Teaching Tips

Researching and creating timelines appeals to students'

visual, mathematic, and kinesthetic intelligences. Timelines
can organise research materials in a variety of ways, from
storing primary source data about a topic over time to
documenting the time frame of a novel or the span of an
individual's life gleaned from an oral history interview.
Completed timelines can include multimedia elements and
can be effectively displayed in a variety of formats, from
wall hangings, to 3-dimensional"clothesline timelines", to
computer slideshows.

Basic Questions
What is the purpose of this timeline?
What is the basic unit of measurement for this timeline
- hour, day, month, year, century?
What local events were occurring during the period
represented by this timeline?

Critical Thinking Questions (for older students)

What trends, or changes over time does this timeline
Would the trends look different if the scale, or unit of
measurement, were changed?
Select 2 events on the timeline and explain what they
do and do not have in common.
How were events selected for this timeline? What was
left out? Would missing elements change the
timeline's representation of this time period?
Which events on this timeline "caused" other events
to occur? Explain.
Teaching Tools for Local History 71


Most Massachusetts residents and organisations left a

paper trail documenting their existence. In most cities and
towns, the local library, historical groups, preservation
societies, and museums serve as excellent starting points
for locating documentary materials about local
communities. On the state level, historical societies,
archives, and museums are valuable depositories for useful
primary materials. Many of these agencies offer specific
programmes for students, and many would welcome
suggestions for joint projects.

Teaching Tips

Make sure that the historic records you select to use are
readable and age appropriate for your class. Be sure the
record content is long enough to provide the information
you want your class to absorb, but not so long that it
overwhelms them. Select materials and activities that are
likely to motivate and inspire your students, that are
related to current events, anniversaries, their own interests
and hobbies.

Basic Questions
Is this document a primary or secondary source? How
do you know?
How reliable is this document for historical accuracy??
When was it written? If no date is listed, what clues
are there that could help date it?
Where was it written and where is the document now
found? (owner, repository)
What tools were used to write it and what is its
appearance? (handwritten with quill, pen, pencil?
Typewritten? Printed? A filled-in form?
72 Teaching of History

What type"of paper was used?

Critical Thinking Questions

Whose names are on this document? What are their
What were the opinions, motivations, or interests of
each person related to this document?
Why was this document created?
How can you find out more about the context of this
What sorts of information does the document supply?
Under what circumstances was the document created?
What were the results, benefits, disadvantages of this
document being created??
Can you trust this document's content at face value?
What evidence is there that this is an "official"
What does this document tell us about life in this
Does this type of document still exist? How is it the
same or different?
Teaching World History

World history stretches beyond the boundaries of nation-

states or civilisations to form a macro history of the human
story. Just as the history of the United States is more than
the history of 50 individual states, world history is the
study of the global human experience and changes in that
experience through time.
World historians study global forces and large
historical themes such as climatic change, the spread of
religions, and the expansion of the market economy. For
example, Columbus in world history is not simply the
story of Columbus discovering a "new world." Instead it
is the "Columbian exchange," a story of human migrations,
transatlantic trade, and the exchange of plants, animals,
diseases, art, and technology between the eastern and
western hemispheres. World history enables us to improve
our understanding of how humans have interacted with
each other and the planet in the past to shape the present.
World history became an established field of study
with the founding by historians and educators of the
World History Association in 1982. This field is in its
infancy. Scholarship in world history, as in biological
research, is expanding rapidly because of international,
74 Teaching of Histonj

collaborative research via the Internet; the increasing

number of resources available to world historians; and
cross-disciplinary studies with anthropologists,
archaeologists, geographers, and others in the social
Globalisation of the market economy and the
development of the international "pop" culture with its
bewildering amalgam of many cultural traditions have
increased the demand for world history. Yet much remains
to be learned. And that is the excitement of world history.
When world history class becomes a laboratory where
teachers and students form a partnership to investigate
what is known to question the unknown, the study of the
human story escalates from passive memorisation to
inquiry and discovery.


Each age writes its own history. The nineteenth and

twentieth centuries were periods of Western influence in
politics, economics, and culture. The twenty-first century,
however, will belong to world politics, economics, and
culture. Consequently, a new history of the world and its
people is being written.
Why should this new story be told? Why should it
be at the core of the school curriculum? There are many
reasons, which pertain to:
citizenship -- creating a body of informed citizens
capable of making global decisions for the world body
politic at large;
business -- understanding the economiG, cultural, and
political environment of many countries in order to
participate more fully and effectively in the global
market place;
Teaching World History 75

humanity -- thinking more deeply and broadly about

the whole human experience rather than its provincial
parts as a means of deeper and broader human
patterns of thought -- developing historical thinking
skills; and
basic knowledge -- understanding who we are, how we
got that way, and where we are going.
In the interconnected world, the need to share a common
history as well as a particular one is a global phenomenon
that involves us all. A history of the world experience, as
well as the national and local experience, can provide a
forum through which, aided by the study of world history,
we develop common ideas that transcend cultural and
political boundaries.

Teaching and Learning World History

Certain universal historical themes shape the common
human experience. Bound by neither time nor space, they
appear broadly across the globe and centuries. These
themes form the basis of world history. They include:
manipulating and changing the physical environment;
developing tools and technology;
peopling the globe;
diffusing and exchanging ideas, tools, and other facets
of culture;
ending old frontiers and developing new ones; and
creating increasingly more complex systems of politics,
economics, and social interactions.
The study of world history develops certain habits of mind
needed by individuals to function in a twenty-first century
76 Teaching of History

world of interaction, diversity, and rapid change. These

habits of mind include:
seeing the big picture;
discerning the common phenomena;
identify41.g the spread, exchange, and acceptance or
rejection of new ideas;
making sound historical comparisons; and
collaborative testing of an historical hypothesis from
multiple points of view.

Teacher Preparation and Instructional Strategies

Teacher preparation in world history must involve
strategies to expand both teacher expertise as well as the
knowledge base of students. Given the lack of world
history preparation of most students (secondary and post-
secondary) and the narrow focus of world history in most
teacher preparation programmes, exploring a
comprehensive world history requires research and
reflection by instructors and students alike.
Redefining the relationship of teachers and students
as a partnership facilitates this educational process. Most
social studies teachers started their teaching careers with
course work in Western civilisation or area studies.
Teaching a global world history , however, requires
reconceptualisation of the subject. Together the class can
examine both common themes and the uniqueness of
societies within a chronological framework constructed for
the course.
A study of .world history must encompass both
breadth and depth. Most courses focus either narrowly and
deeply or broadly and shallowly. A cross section of the
two is possible through class lectures and discussions
Teaching World Histonj 77

around broad social, political, economic, or cultural themes

integrated with focus groups in which students can
examine various regions of the world in depth to learn
how themes have unfolded during specified eras. This
preserves a sense of chronology of events and movements
over time, yet also allows for comparisons of societies in
different eras or in different regions as the course proceeds.
Inquiry is grounded in historical knowledge placed in a
broader context.
This structure serves several purposes. First, it makes
the overwhelming subject of world history more
manageable for students and teachers, particularly with
the limitations of time restraints in any course. Second, it
reduces the chance of a "one fact after another" approach
where students are challenged merely to recall isolated
facts covered in the textbook and the teacher lectures
without a clear sense of what those facts mean. Third, it
promotes critical thinking, a necessity in a democratic
Discerning fact from opinion and identifying multiple
perspectives in cross-cultural encounters are desirable
outcomes of instruction in our increasingly interconnected
world. Fourth, themes provide a framework for reading
for meaning and for the relevance of historical topics.
Learning information simply because it is in the textbook
does not motivate today's s~dents to become competent,
or even interested, in world history. Fifth, the approach
can incorporate the wealth of resources available through
technology. Using these resources can greatly enhance
textbook information, but students must be taught
simultaneously how to discriminate between reliable and
unreliable resources.
Acquainting students with human history is a
daunting task. The overwhelming assignment can be made
78 Teaching of History

more manageable, however, if one provides for in-depth

regional studies set in the context of a wider realm of
human experience. This de-centered approach promotes
comparative studies, multiple perspectives including voices
of women and minorities, and a more comprehensive
understanding of human and environmental events.
Analysing the effects of the past on contemporary life and
recognising the problems of present-minded thinking and
the limits of our own perspectives will promote
competency in historical thinking.


Since English is the medium of instruction for world

history in both the United States and Australia, one would
expect a fair degree of portability. By allowing both
Australian and American course content to be set in
international play in a controlled electronic environment,
both can be tested and enhanced according to cross-
cultural applicability. We envisaged that a "virtual forum"
of American and Australian students would facilitate the
internationalisation of the unit content through mutual
feedback and cross-fertilisation between identical reading
material and responses to facilitator questions. An
international framework might illuminate diverse
responses to the same world history texts depending upon
the cultural location of the students involved, and that it
might lead to new cross-cultural understandings of the
material through listening to alternative and divergent
opinions and interpretations.
For teaching material dealing with the Atlantic world,
this seemed particularly interesting. Atlantic world history
courses have a long genealogy in the United States due to
their "home-grown" status as regional histories of cultural
exchange and interaction where the U.S. is positioned in
a broader global paradigm. Hence, this area of world
Teaching World History 79

history teaching has straddled both the national curriculum

and the need for studies that place America in a wider
world. However, this sense of familiarity cannot be
extended to Australia. The teaching of the Atlantic world
in Australia is a relatively recent phenomenon, with no
sense of physical or cultural proximity involved and,
indeed, few "overlaps" with national interests or studies
of Australia's place in its own region.
Hence, one can assume that studies of the Atlantic
world in the U.S. and in Australia serve different ends
and have been grounded in different pedagogical
frameworks. While in the u.s. studies of the Atlantic world
emerged from a re-evaluation and broadening of the
national history paradigm, in Australia such studies are
interwoven in the broader emergence and popularity of
world and global histories per se. What happens when
these two perspectives meet? Even if identical scholarly
books and articles are used, are they read in the same way
and with the same sets of cultural assumptions and
Related to this desire to test the international
portability of world history curriculum was our desire to
encourage our respective sets of students to tackle the
world history syllabus not only from the perspective as
"Americans" or as "Australians" but also from the "bird's-
eye" perspective of perceiving themselves as world
historians. While world history students in their respective
countries must learn the skills that enable them to compete
and thrive in a local environment, there also remains a
need to prepare our students with transnational skills that
equip them with the necessary competencies to be citizens
of the world. Hence, the creation of an international
learning environment which facilitates the transfer of
general skills in reading, writing, and the comprehension
of historical processes on a global scale is the first step
80 Teachillg of Histonj

towards providing the framework for training in cross-

cultural understanding.
Due to the sheer physical distance of Australia from
the main centers of world history pedagogy in Europe and
the U.S., physical exchanges with foreign countries have
been the traditional modes by which Australian students
acquire these cross-cultural skills. Exchange agreements
and travel opportunities to other centers where world
history is taught enable Australian students to feel as if
they are a part of the global pedagogical scene. However,
due to the relative expense of air travel, the highly
competitive entry criteria for student exchange
programmes, and the time needed for the proper planning
and execution of overseas travel, the tyranny of distance
often hinders the full participation of Australian students
in global learning initiatives.
While international world history programmes seem
well-placed to respond to the contemporary demands of
creating the environment needed for the
internationalisation of general skills, only a few world
history students are given the opportunity to study abroad
on exchange programmes. Even then, the cost is high. Thus
there remains a real urgency to make the
internationalisation of world history teaching and learning
both accessible and more economically feasible.

Globalisation of Education
In theory, online units of study promote information
exchange and mutual support amongst students and
enable skills to be updated and transferred to vocational
settings. In countries such as Australia, sympathetic
commentators on the viability of online learning say that
it addresses educational disadvantage by widening
educational opportunities to a broader and more diverse
Teaching World History 81

body of students while simultaneously addressing social

isolation due to the sheer scale of physical distances.
In the United States, online distance education courses
have multiplied significantly in recent years with campuses
making significant advances in the area of e-Iearning
strategies to increase student numbers and reach students
in rural areas. Likewise, in Australia, the promotion of
external units of study to students who work during the
day or who live in remote areas has resulted in the growth
and sustainability of the Open Universities Australia
(OUA) network. The University of Southern Queensland
has pioneered the use of online learning as a means to
offer courses to students living in remote areas of the
Australian outback.
Spain's Salamanca University, the University of Porto
in Portugal, and the University of Groningen in the
Netherlands have all been noted in the literature for their
borderless e-Iearning environments that maximise the
transfer of resources through unit content portability.
However, the specific teaching and learning needs of
world history require students to think and act in a global
context due to the cross-cultural nature of the subject
material, while current e-Iearning solutions often remain
linked to local and national contexts. In this sense, the
internet allows for the seamless delivery of information
and seems to be well-placed (in theory) to offer world
history teaching solutions in an environment that
addresses the equity issues of international student
exchange. It also provides a context for testing the
portability and flexibility of world history programmes.
On the one hand, the internet creates an international
framework for the cross-cultural transfer of general skills
and, hence, heralds an exciting new phase in the potential
internationalisation of world history curricula. As John
82 Teaching of History

Field argues, "as borders open up across the globe to traffic

of almost every kind, so distance open learning flows
increasingly across national frontiers." Robin Mason from
the Open University in the U.K. goes further with his
celebratory view:
At its most visionary, the ideal of global education is
one of a movement away from the bounded classroom,
seen as a haven from the world, to a dynamic synergy of
teachers, computer-mediated instructional devices and
students collaborating to create a window on the world.
On the other hand, the promise that world history
can be taught in a global utopia that widens international
participation and enhances equity is contingent upon the
premise that the historical move from localised and
nationalised centers of learning to the "global virtual
university" is a good one and is, indeed, historically
There are cognitive, educational and social arguments
for caution to be displayed in the laisseZ-faire argument
that the globalisation of world history curricula based on
American, European or Australian models will somehow
widen participation and erase disadvantage. In his book,
Digital Diploma Mills, for example, David Noble provides
a sharp critique of the intention of online learning
programmes which are interwoven into the logic of the
expansion of global capital where the unrestrained
commodification of education for the pursuit of profit
looms large.
While online learning and teaching courses have
multiplied across the world, as previously noted, they have
done so in tandem with the privatisation and
corporatisation of higher education per se. College
campuses have often emphasized the "democratisation"
of education in order to justify the increase in online
Teaching World History 83

learning programmes when their real intention is to tap

into a lucrative international education market and reduce
overall labour costs. The casualisation of online teaching,
questions concerning quality control, and the overall lack
of standards has led Noble to draw parallels between these
new learning "innovations" in the twenty-first century to
the mechanisation processes that accompanied the first
phase of industrial capitalism in the West.
The question of equity is a very important one. Do
all of the world's college students have access to the
internet in order to engage in a "global" learning
environment? Do we want world history to become the
"internationalised" preserve of the privileged? The
challenges faced by students in the developing world as
well as the question of the feasibility of internet classrooms
for the socially and economically disadvantaged are very
real in a global society where the gulf between the
"information rich" and the "information poor" is widening
at an ever-increasing rate. In this sense, the enthusiastic
embrace of the "global virtual university" and
"democratisation" has serious socio-economic and socio-
political implications.


In social terms, the homogenisation of world history

teaching could lead either to the weakening of studies of
cultural specificity and local perspectives or, indeed, to the
erasure of the important role of a national perspective on
education in postcolonial contexts where there is a real
urgency to shake off imperial legacies.
While the above problems are very real, we
nevertheless maintain that the internet can provide an
effective environment for conducting innovative cross-
cultural teaching methods in world history that require
84 Teaching of History

us to think beyond the old binary of "national" versus

"global" and to engage in a significant pedagogical
network which brings local communities of world history
students from different parts of the globe into dialogue
with one another. This may lead, as Mason suggests, to a
relativist comprehension of world history approaches that
are not static or unitary, but multiple, contested and based
on how one sees the world at a given place, time and
context depending on where one is standing.
Indeed, living with twenty-first century technology
requires students to think and act in terms of both national
and transnational identities. Furthermore, through a
process of cross-cultural contact and interaction, online
environments have the potential to create international
spaces where the subject content will be interpreted in
fresh and innovative ways.
To be sure, on-line world history teaching across
national boundaries through this type of virtual interaction
has some viable and exciting outcomes which can be
adapted and built upon by practitioners in the field.
Whether to do so, however, at the expense of
commodifying world history learning in an era where the
"virtual classroom" is under greater scrutiny as a
multinational commercial enterprise rather than as a global
pedagogical tool is the more urgent question at hand.
Geyer and Bright's prognosis that world history needs
to be anchored in the "actually existing" world of the
contemporary age sounds good enough in terms of
fostering transnational interactions of the kind fostered in
this experiment. H,owever, the issues of cultural
homogenisation and the corporatisation of higher
education learning, and where world history programmes
should fit into this new virtual order, needs more
sustained debate from practitioners in the field. Without
Teaching World History 85

careful consideration of the historical and economic context

of late capitalism and its relationship to new online
teaching collaborations, the project of globalisation itself
could risk being glorified in clearly unintentional ways.
Geyer and Bright rightly predicted that lithe central
challenge of a renewed world history at the end of the
twentieth century is to narrate the world's pasts in an age
of globality," but it seems that the new challenge for the
twenty-first century is to find a way of fostering global
interactions in our world history teaching while retaining
a commitment to fostering educational standards,
widening social access, and observing cross-cultural ethics.
What is World History? Ask this question of a group
of researchers, educators or students and it is unlikely that
you will be given a unified response. Their disagreement
may stem from terminology, with some insisting on a
'global' approach, and others arguing for 'world systems.'
They may even argue for a 'new' to be placed in front of
'global' or for a hyphen to be inserted between 'world'
and 'systems.' But more fundamentally, they may hold
different understandings of the spatial and temporal
parameters of the field, and of the phenomena it seeks to
explain. One person may associate world history with the
study of the movements of one person across an ocean,
another may encourage us to go back and reflect on
human population growth and even the origins of the
universe 13.7 billion years ago.
Lack of agreement about the nature of world history
can be exasperating for both those familiar with, and those
new to the field alike. Doesn't all of this disagreement, it
might be asked, come at the expense of productivity? If
we cannot agree on the meaning of world history, then
how can we design syllabuses or textbooks or engage in
collaborative research projects? For those of us interested
86 Teaching of History

in historiography, however, disagreements like these signal

the potential of world history as a teaching and research
Historiographers study the nature and purpose of
histories. Quite often, historiography is treated as an add-
on or as an ancillary to historical studies. It is assumed to
be the preserve of advanced undergraduate or graduate
students, or something that precedes or follows historical
research. Sometimes, historiography is even treated as an
impediment to research, undercutting the findings of those
who labour long and hard with primary archival materials.
These views of historiography as supplementary are
mistaken, because every activity undertaken in the course
of historical research or teaching is shaped by assumptions
about what history is and what it is for.
Some of these assumptions vary widely across time
and space, and others appear to be universal and beyond
question. All of these assumptions are open to question,
whether they are debated or held widely. Bringing
assumptions about history to light is no easy matter, but
it is worth undertaking for at least three reasons. First the
assumptions historians make or affirm have ethical
implications: that is, they privilege certain peoples and
activities over others and overlook some phenomena
altogether. Historiography can bring these patterns of
privilege and exclusion to light and prompt us to address
them in research and teaching. Second, it gives us the
opportunity to clarify and explain our understanding of
the field to others. Third, the historiographical analysis of
world histories has broad social significance because world
histories inform public culture.
World histories are used in a variety of ways, such
as supporting or promoting visions of community and
environment, guiding economic programmes, or enhancing
Teaching World History 87

feelings of social security or disorder. Exploring what is

expected of world histories, when, and by whom, may
help to cast critical light on contemporary geopolitical
discourses such as that on the health and clash of
As Patrick Manning has noted, it is hard to call to
mind any particular methods or materials that distinguish
world history from other fields. Indeed the range of works
covered in his Navigating World History is so wide that it
is difficult to detect where the territory of world history
ends and other approaches to historical research (eg.
transnational, imperial, regional, and diasporic) begin. Is
this a problem just for world historians?
People in many times and cultures have made
histories of their 'world': a realm or domain taken for an
entire meaningful system of existence or activity. Those
'worlds' may correspond to the globe as we view it, or to
one part of it, such as the shores of the Mediterranean or
the north of Australia. It is also important to note that
world histories have been made with a variety of media,
from print to pictures to dances and songs. People use a
variety of labels to describe those histories, including
'holistic history,' 'universal history,' 'general history,'
'ecumenical history,' 'regional history,' 'comparative
history,' 'world systems history,' 'macrohistory,'
'transnational history,' 'big history' and the 'new world'
and 'new global' histories.
Histories of world-history making traditionally begin
with 'universal' history.' 'Universal history' has in ancient
and modem contexts denoted, first, the production of a
comprehensive and perhaps also unified history of the
known world or universe; second, a history that
illuminates truths, ideals or principles that are thought to
belong to the whole world; third, a history of the world
88 Teaching of History

unified by the workings of a single mind; and fourth, a

history of the world that has passed down through an
unbroken line of transmission.
Ephorus is generally cited as the first universal
historian, and the rise of the genre is linked to the
cosmopolitanism fostered by the conquests of Alexander
of Macedon. Universal histories, however, are not simply
a Western imperial product imposed upon the rest of the
world: they probably have a relationship with the creation
stories told by peoples around the world. Ancient
universal history making flourished after cultural
interactions, military campaigns, the advent of
standardised systems of chronology and the spread of
monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam.
Universal history became one of a number of
competing visions of 'world history' in the twentieth
century, and persists today in philosophies of history and
the sub-field of big history. Of particular interest was the
fate of Western civilisation, which was given an optimistic
appraisal in modernisation works such as E. L. Jones' The
European Miracle. Neo-Marxist dependency and world-
system scholars such as Andre Gunder Frank took issue
with this assessment, noting that European activities often
fostered states of economic dependency in 'periphery'
Positive achievements in the 'West,' it was argued,
came at the price of achievements in other parts of the
world. Postcolonial and feminist scholars like Michael
Adas and Judith Zinsser added to these criticisms, arguing
that the language, concepts, periodisation and structure
of world histories can minimise and even mask the
historical activities of those 'outside' of the masculine
West. Dependency, world-system, and postcolonial world
histories formed part of the wider shift in the twentieth
Teaching World History 89

century towards the study of relations between peoples

across the globe. This shift is epitomised in the scholarship
of W. H. McNeill, who is widely acknowledged as one of
the architects of present-day world history research.
Human interaction on the largest scale-over the globe-
was also the subject of global (and new global) historical
studies. Transnational, comparative, new imperial, and
new world historians were also interested in human
interaction, but on a smaller scale. There is no single
culture, method or purpose that has shaped the making
of world history. Nor do academic historians alone
produce it.

The Macquarie Programme

Since the mid-1990s, world history education at Macquarie
University has opened with not one, but two surveys that
work on different scales and with different methods and
materials. The first, HIST112: An Introduction to World
History is the unit that launched big history. Described
first in an article for The Journal of World History called
'The Case for "Big History",' David Christian set out his
arguments for the use of world history education to tell
the biggest story"of all, that of the origins and evolution
of human beings, life, earth, and the universe some 13.7
billion years ago. The course today still offers 'thirteen
billion years in thirteen weeks.' A number of the students
who take HISTl12 are puzzled and even shaken by their
first encounter with big history. They come to university
with expectations about what history is, with little recent
experience in the study of science, and sometimes with
firm religious beliefs. 'This is not history as I know it' is
a common comment offered in the first weeks of semester.
This is to be expected, because Christian's approach, as
Alfred Crosby has noted, is an act of provocation.
90 Teaching of History

Contemporary historiography asks to be wary of

coherent or even large stories in world history, portraying
them as 'metanarratives' that legitimate some views and
gloss over others. Further, few historians would see the
territory of their discipline extending back before the
appearance of writing, let alone before Homo' sapiens
sapiens. That, however, is the point of Christian's work,
for he wants us think carefully about our commitment to
models of world history and history making that in his
view make little use of the many scales of view that are
available to historians, underplay the interactions between
humans and the biosphere, and give short shrift to people
who are not literate or who do not reside tidily within
the boundaries of particular empires or nation states.
HISTl12 is akin to a roller coaster ride, and not all
students are initially happy about having their beliefs
about history shaken. All but a few hang on, though, and
their reward for persistence is an expanded view of
science, history, world history and their own critical
thinking skills. And while the majority of students start
out worried about big history, they tend to end the unit
very firmly in favour of its J.rguments and methods. On
the one hand, this might be considered an educational
success. On the other hand, the treatment of HIST112 as a
sufficient treatment of world history masks the existence
of other world histories.
To address this problem, staff and students work to
put HISTl12 in' context. Perhaps the most important factor
in encouraging students to see big history as one of a
number of competing approaches to world history is a
second survey, HIST114: The World Since 1945 from an
Australian Perspective. With its comparatively tiny
timescale and use of a national frame, this unit provides
a strong contrast to big history. It clearly announces
Teaching World History 91

through its title that it is not a continuation of, and does

not use the same approaches and ideas as, HISTl12. In
combination, these surveys embody the 'play of scales'-
the combined use of large and small scale analysis-thaI-
can show students the possibilities of world history writing
and research. The combined use of two surveys also
highlights the pliable form of world histories, and shows
students that they are constructed worlds.
Drawing connections across units of study and
highlighting differences in focus and method continues in
upper level units that focus on the 'Atlantic world' after
1492, war and peace in the ancient and modern world,
travellers and travel writing from the eighteenth century,
and the spread of Indian ideas and practices in South-East
Asia. Macquarie resembles many other universities in
Australia and abroad in its use of thematic frames for
upper level world history education.
How it differs from other programmes, though, is that
these thematic studies are not the end of world history
study. At the highest level of undergraduate study and in
the Masters programme, historiographical and historical
questions relevant to the field come to the fore as focus
shifts from 'world history' to 'world histories.' The
undergraduate and MA unit, 'World Histories', offers
students the chance to uncover and reflect on the shapes
of world history making in many different social and
historical contexts.
Working through chronologically arranged lectures
and thematic tutorial (class) and online discussions held
in conjunction with the global studies programme at
Leipzig University, students discuss labels such as 'global
history' and 'universal history,' methodologies, scales of
research and writing, where scholars begin and end their
world histories, approaches to gender, and debates on
92 Teaching of History

postmodernist and postcolonialist world histories. They

also study the relationships between the makers,
distributors and readers and auditors of world histories.
One of the major aims of the unit is to show that
current historiographical surveys of the field rely too
heavily on a limited body of works by European writers,
and that they may be revised and expanded in at least
five ways, through the extended consideration of world
histories made before 14006; through world histories made
outside of university settings by male and female writers
for adult and child audiences; through traditions of world
history making in China and Islamic centres; through
world histories made by social and natural scientists in
the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; and through
'holistic' histories of indigenous groups such as Aboriginal
Australians. This expanded view helps to highlight the
decisions made by historiographers about how world
history is to be understood and shows us that European
and North American world histories are thus only some
among many ways of world making.
In HIST 359/MHPG912, students are encouraged to
see that historiographers of world history, as well as world
historians, make worlds. But more importantly, they begin
to reflect on their own potential contribution to world
history making. Students design their own research project
and fashion critical questions in response to the classes
and readings. Further, they hear a series of mini-lectures
by postgraduate students working in the field of world
history. Far from being an ancillary or purely abstract
pursuit, historiography can show students that world
history is manageable, topical, and something that connects
with cultures around the world.
At Macquarie, research and teaching in world history
go hand in hand. Research students lecture, findings are
Teaching World History 93

taken to classes, and student questions become the basis

for smaller and larger research projects. And the
programme continues to grow. While the emphasis has
been on offering a complete programme for undergraduate
and graduate students, it has now shifted to
historiographical internationalisation. That is being
addressed through internationally collaborative research on
the history of world history making and the provision of
opportunities for students at Macquarie and overseas to
discuss ideas via online teaching and study abroad
exchanges. Much work remains to be done, though, if the
cultural and historical scope of research and teaching in
the historiography of world history is to match that of
world history itself.
Macquarie University's undergraduate and
postgraduate programme in world history is open to
students in Australia and around the world. Single units
may be taken on a 'Non Award' basis and studied on
campus or externally via the web, or students can study
at Macquarie for a semester as part of its 'Study Abroad'
programme. Australian and international students are
welcome to undertake degree programmes. Students with
outstanding honours or Masters results are welcome to
apply for PhD scholarships and PhD graduates with strong
publication records are welcome to inquire about
Postdoctoral fellowships.

Teaching Global and Local History

This section explores ways in which the global is also local.
It raises the question of whether a course in World History
is truly such if it fails to incorporate our students'
hometown connections to persons, places, objects,
activities, or events that reflect the emergence and growth
of North America as one hub of the new, modem world
system. Teachers and textbook authors, of course, are
94 Teaching of History

mindful of the highly visible, broad strokes of

revolutionary change that everywhere signify modernity,
but no single one of them can possibly deal with the
multiple ways in which these changes were locally realised
or experienced. To convey this sort of history in the
classroom, it is necessary to examine the pasts of the
localities in which our students reside, with an eye toward
connecting their lives and those places with the rest of
the world.
Indeed, China and India, especially, were the "center
of gravity" at the time of the modern hub's emergence,
and their influence will loom large in our students'
economic futures. Africa and Native America constitute
two other axes of crucial importance to local and regional
developments. Teachers must therefore subvert the
institutionalised divisions that exist between national
histories, grade levels, and even disciplines. Such
categories and habits of mind, still deeply entrenched, only
instill and reinforce students' perceptions of a false
disconnect between their own worlds and those of people
far away or long ago.
Over twenty years ago, a professional historian and
Berlin town resident wrote that "historically, in other than
a local context, Berlin has no great significance," and that
indeed, "no stirring events" had ever occurred there. From
a conventional perspective, this is undoubtedly true, but
from an anthropological perspective, it is precisely the
mundane and the ordinary that constitute one of the
unifying, core subjects of world history. In his classic
examination of the material culture of early American life,
In Small Things Forgotten, archaeologist James Deetz
showed how even the most un-noteworthy of everyday
objects, including ceramic ware, could be made to reveal
how people of the past viewed themselves and their world.
Teaching World History 95

Along these lines, the relatively widespread diffusion

of North America's first tin-plated pots, pans, and other
utensils, and the development of a unique mercantile
system for distributing them, can be traced to an event
that occurred in what is now the town of Berlin. This was
the decision, made around 1740 by the Scotch-Irish
immigrant Edward Pattison, to manufacture tinware there
instead of farming for a living.
Since the English colonies were commercial ventures
connected to the triangular webs of the Atlantic economy
almost from the very start, Pattison's idea to make money
by going into business for himself was hardly
revolutionary. Having learned the relatively new trade in
his native England, from which a good supply of the
otherwise rare metal could be mined and exported,
Pattison went from house to house in the Berlin area
selling his stock. After some years, other town residents
followed his example, with the result that soon "most of
the homes [in Berlin] had a trained tinsmith and his
apprentices." Individuals in neighbouring towns soon also
established shops, but it was Berlin that earned a
reputation as the most noisy "bang-all" place to live.
By the early 19th century, "so much tinware was being
produced that it became necessary to dispose of it beyond
the local market," and it was thus that Berlin became the
home of the original "Yankee Peddler," whose ubiquity
in the early 19th century can perhaps be seen as a precursor
to Wal-Mart. The new technology, products, machinery,
and distribution system that gradually emerged had a
significant impact on the domestic economy of both rural
and urban-dwelling American families, replacing utensils
made of iron, pewter, and wood.
Enshrined today on Berlin's town seal and laying the
foundation fur a manufacturing network and distribution
96 Teaching of History

system "that enabled them to re-supply their stock at

warehouses and Connecticut-managed workshops from
Ohio to Georgia," the early tinsmiths, blacksmiths,
peddlers (and eventually, the manufacturers of tools and
machinery for making tinware), it could be argued,
established Berlin as one harbinger of New England's
transformation from a rural to an industrial landscape.
Simeon North, originally a farmer, turned an old
sawmill into a forge where he started making tools and
eventually pistols under United States' government
contract. Eli Whitney may be better known for the first
"assembly line," and Hartford's Samuel Colt for firearms,
but it was North who invented a milling machine for the
shaping of metal that made interchangeable parts and
mass production possible. Eventually new turnpikes for
wagon transport, canals for river freight, and finally
railroads widened the market for these entrepreneurs'
products, which remained vigorous until the late 19 th
century when competition from Malaysian mines and
cheap Chinese labour negatively impacted the industry.
For a long time, until only recently with the publication
of research dealing with "the myth of northern innocence,"
Connecticut's tales of tinplate bangers, blacksmiths,
peddlers, and inventors formed part of the "American"
self-image propagated by New Englanders who vaunted
their own values of industriousness and entrepreneurship
as superior to those prevalent in the slave-holding and
foundationally racist South.
Some native buyers, not knowing how to extract the
spice, apparently thought that Connecticut peddlers
cheated them by selling them nutmegs made of wood
rather than the genuine article. Indeed, the story of nutmeg
makes for a fascinating tale in world history, but apart
from the manufacture of tin nutmeg grinders, there isn't
much of local significance that can be hung onto it. Central
Teaching World History 97

Connecticut, however, does have deeper, less well-known

ties to persons and events that reflect four major topics
relevant to the world's transformations in both early
modern and more recent periods: genocide, slavery, civil
wars heralding the decline of one empire (China) and the
rise of another (the U.S.), and the long-distance migration
of large numbers of people. It is to these that I now turn.

Whether or not Jared Diamond's conclusions about the
causes of world inequality as presented in Guns, Germs,
and Steel are accepted, the course of modern world history
has everywhere involved the domination of the have-nots
by the haves, and often the outright immiseration of
indigenous populations by more powerful newcomers.
Because of its associated cultural genocide and species
depletion, extinction, and exchange, the rise of the West
entailed uses of political and economic power that differed
substantially from how these were deployed in either the
so-called simpler societies or the civilisations that were,
before 1500, at about equal levels of technological
development. After this date a New World environment
was in the making socially as well as geographically, as
the growth of the Atlantic economy created boundless
opportunities for self-made men "to rival the old landed
elites in wealth."
These forces are evident in even the earliest colonial
history of Connecticut, when treaties stipulating land
cession after both the Pequot War (1636-37) and King
Philip War (1675-76) removed the inconveniently located
Indians (estimated to have been fewer than 5000 in
number) outside the zone of English settlement, despite
-initially "friendly" encounters and the apparent desire of
the local Indians to have English settlers nearby as a buffer
aga~nst their Mohawk and Pequot foes. The first Dutch
98 Teaching of History

and English inhabitants of Connecticut possessed precisely

the advantages over Native Americans that Diamond
identifies as crucial to the making of the modern world's
asymmetries: firearms that changed completely the nature
of warfare and hunting, bacterial immunities that changed
completely the region's demography, and the metal tools
and specie that transformed the meaning and distribution
of wealth.
While the Dutch at Hartford in the 1620s and 1630s
sought mainly to trade, English settlement in the
Connecticut River Valley followed the pattern established
earlier in the Massachusetts Bay, where as early as 1620
(Plymouth's founding), "the thriving, populous agricultural
villages [of natives] that [were earlier] seen were empty
and deserted," replaced by a new communal and economic
enterprise. Throughout southern New England, the
Indians' adoption of a more nomadic lifestyle
corresponded with an increase in the number of beaver
pelts demanded by the foreign traders, and the settlers'
introduction of new livestock and seeds on the most
desirable lands. The net result after contact was to make
them dependent upon the manufactured goods that trade
with Europeans brought, which were then incorporated
into indigenous systems of cultural meaning as they
"began to participate in the systematic slaughter of animal
populations with which they had formerly cultivated
symbiotic and spiritual relationships."
Southern New England's fur resources would, in the
end, prove limited compared to those that could be hunted
elsewhere, and even those larger quantities of beaver pelts
proved only secondarily important to the accumulation of
European capital. Timber and fish would soon replace it
as the colony's first cash-producing commodities. Yet, in
Connecticut they were briefly the focus of an intense
confliCt between Holland's mainly commercial pursuits
Teaching World History 99

and the desire of the English United Colonies to remove

the natives entirely.
By 1667 the Dutch forfeited their claims in North
America, but the role played by Native American hunters
in adorning, if not actually creating the Netherlands'
"embarrassment of riches" is noteworthy. At the very least,
upon being shown a Vermeer or perhaps some other
Dutch genre painting from its Golden Age, a student could
be led to inquire if a woman's fur collar or the felt for the
hat worn by some "merry cavalier" came originally from
an amphibious rodent that may have once lodged not far
from his or her own home!
Indian defeats cleared the way for the Connecticut
colony to take its part, albeit much smaller than that of
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, in the Atlantic Triangular
Trade. Bloody conflicts early established the abusive
pattern of treatment that expanding American government
eventually would apply to all Native Americans. The
Pequot War demonstrated English military superiority to
the Indians and dispersed those it did not kill. There was
some lingering resistance, evidenced by the imposition of
a fine by the colony's General Court of a half fathom of
wampum upon "whatsoever Indean shall medle with or
handle any Englisheman's weapens of any sorte," and
eventually it was forbidden to trade any items made of
metal to the Indians who "growe insolent and combyne
themselves together, being suspected to prepare for war."
Yet by the late 1660's, "the independent and roving
existence of the Indians had ceased ... they were little
more than the subjects and tenants of the white men."
Among "the little sagamores [who] sold land and
performed other acts of sovereignty on their own
authority" at that time was a certain Terramuggus, "chief
of the Mattabesett," a clan of the Wangunks, from whom
100 Teaching of History

militia Sergeant Richard Beckley (today deemed the first

settler of what would later be Berlin) "purchased" a tract
of some 300 acres around 1660 (an act which nevertheless
did not free him from the danger of theft). Fear of Indians
remained widespread, and in 1687 militia Captain Richard
Seymour built, for the inhabitants of "The Great Swamp
Settlement" of Christian Lane (Le., the church society of
Kensington, now part of Berlin), a fort of palisades sixteen
feet high as "protection against sudden attack from Indians
or wild animals."
Travel to worship under armed guard also kept
parishioners safe. Gradually, however, as they did
everywhere throughout New England, the Indians in
central Connecticut "settled into anonymity, constructing
brooms, bottoming chairs, weaving woodsplint baskets,
and carving pudding spoons that they traded in Yankee
towns." In Berlin, Indian men might occasionally be seen
well into the 19th century, "begging for cider" or for food
and a night's lodging in the barn, and being given it, for
"people were careful not to offend [them] .. , with their
long memories and revengeful dispositions, one never
knew when the blow might fall."
As for females, "a lone Indian woman, probably one
of the last of the Mattabesett tribe" was known to inhabit
a grove along the Sebethe River, where "her occupation
must have been stringing beads and making baskets" for
sale to the whites. Other Indians in Berlin are known to
have made baskets which they "sold ... in Hartford for
rum and when they returned the squaws used to go and
stay with Mrs. Goodrich until the braves were peacef~l
again." Though anecdotal, such references to itinerant and
"disappearing Indians" were common in the early 19th
century. It is known that in the 18th century, Indian
servitude survived in Connecticut "as a curious relic,"
probably as the result of a law requiring that the indigent
Teaching World History 101

"be disposed into service." All such data evince the

modern, globally-visible pattern of indigenous reduction,
impoverishment, and socio-cultural if not entirely physical
disappearance as a result of conquest by more powerful

After agriculture, shipbuilding was one of Connecticut's
largest industries in the lSth and 19th centuries. Shipyards
located in the ports of Mystic and London and at various
locations along the Connecticut River specialised in
making "cotton packets" of 700-1000 tons that sailed to
the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Norris Peck, a Berlin selectman,
farmer, and merchant with ties to Alabama cotton growers
and thus to African slaves and their African-American
descendants, was but one of the many Connecticut
investors in the cotton packet trade.
Other local merchants conducted business with
counterparts in North Carolina, including members of the
Wilcox family, who would later play a leading role in
turning the town of Meriden, next to Berlin, into a center
of "International Silver." Such ties were neither new nor
distasteful to early Puritan or later Congregationalist
minds, for West Indian cotton was available for spinning
by New Englanders as early as the 1640's. It is possible
that the first cotton thread to be made in America was
hand-loomed in a Berlin shop owned by one of Pattison's
Much later, in what is now called East Berlin,
Elishama Brandegee (whose father had sailed the seas and
brought back" a little negro boy from Guinea" ) established
a large spool cotton and thread ,mill that "gave
employment to forty girls" and is the 1fubject of a rustic
factory landscape painted by Charles Doratt in 1840. It,
102 Teaching of History

too, was but one of the many textile or textile-related

factories that proliferated throughout Connecticut in the
early 19th century and that owed their existence to "the
millions of pounds of slave-grown cotton they imported
from the Southern states."
Still another connection to the larger Atlantic world
is suggested by one of the several other nicknames for
Connecticut besides "The Nutmeg State," one which is not
as well-known or remembered. Despite the collapse of the
American economy during the revolutionary war, farmers
in Connecticut supplied substantial foodstuffs for the
Continental Army, which made it "The Provision State."
However, another meaning can be attributed to this name,
less enshrined in the public's awareness of identity and
history. Again, although Connecticut's share of shipping
was small compared to that of other colonies/states, its
navigable rivers put at least some of the products of its
fields and forests into the larger webs of the Triangular
Indeed, apart from domestic subsistence, some
production for the local market, and the production of
flaxseed for export to Ireland, it was the West Indies that
were for a long time "the one main market" in farmers'
minds. Connecticut's urban merchants, like so many others
throughout New England, thrived at least partly because
they traded the foodstuffs and forest products of the rural
areas to England's "sugar islands" of the West Indies,
without which the slave plantation economies could not
have survived. Local farmers produced com and kiln-dried
it, while mills in Kensington and East Berlin ground it
into flour. Some quantity of that meal was sent by teams
to Middletown or further south to New Haven, and then
shipped to the Caribbean where, along with dairy products
and preserved fish, it was used to feed slaves.
Teaching World History 103

A local historian who was active in the early 20th

century, and who was descended from a sea captain who
later owned a store that "ran vessels from Rocky Hill to
the West Indies," informs us that "com was ground [in
Berlin] and meal dried and shipped to the West Indies ...
great trunks of trees were sawed into lumber," but it is
impossible to know how much. However, "shipping
Irecords indicate that farms were feeding West Indian
slaves by the tens of thousands," while forested areas
throughout central Connecticut were cleared in order to
provide the shingles, barrel staves, and casks in which the
corn meal was stored.
New England Puritans had actually begun trading for
slaves with the West Indies in 1638 and initiated direct
trade for slaves in Africa as early as 1644. At first, Indian
slaves were imported from other colonies, but they were
difficult to control and the practice was soon abandoned
in favor of Africans, who "had no place to run to, no tribe
to assist them in a rebellion, and ... seemed more able to
adapt to European ways." Special recent supplements to
the Hartford Courant and a newly-published book have
been devoted to what has been, until now, the utterly
neglected topic of slave-holding and the economics of
slavery in Connecticut. And despite its small part in the
trade, Connecticut had the largest number of slaves (6,464)
in New England on the eve of the Revolution.
Twenty-two Africans were officially counted as living
in Berlin in 1801. Exactly what they did and who they
did it for cannot be known without further research, but
their work was undoubtedly servile and some were most
likely owned by traders or merchants. It is known that
about a half-century earlier, "as far as possible from the
pulpit," seating was reserved in one church "for the negro
servants [sic] ... not because [it was] thought they had any
104 Teaching of History

souls worth saving but because [their owners] did not like
to leave them at home."
Even after the American Civil War, fortunes were
made in the state on the backs of the countless African
slaves who carried ivory tusks to Zanzibar, from where
they were transported to factories on the Connecticut River
that turned them into piano keys, combs, and brush
handles. It might be added that without West Indian
molasses, spices, and rum, and the risks associated with
its importation, Hartford would not have become "The
Insurance Capital" of America. But those are other places
and other stories, and do not fit within the scope of this

Civil Wars
As is well known, the British went to war twice against
China in the first half of the 19th century because of an
unfavorable balance of trade and the Qing Emperor's
refusal to allow Canton's merchants to continue
exchanging beneficial products (silk, tea, porcelain, human
labour) for harmful ones (opium and life as a "coolie" in
the Americas). Demand for silk was so great that attempts
were made during the late 18th and early 19th centuries to
replicate Chinese success in the American colonies.
Americans in large numbers started planting
mulberry. trees, breeding silkworms, and spooling the silk.
Ezra Stiles, president of nearby Yale College, was one
enthusiastic promoter of silk production, and among the
notable results of his efforts was the formation, in 1788 in
the town of Mansfield, of the first U.S. corporation devoted
to manufacturing. The 1820's and 1830's, in particular,
witnessed a sericulture "craze" that prompted dreams of
fast riches through home production throughout New
Teachi1lg World History 105

In the Berlin/New Britain area, Elijah Tinsdale had a

mulberry orchard and a silkhouse that was, following a
pattern common since King James' command that silk be
produced in Virginia, promoted and partly subsidised by
state government. The mother of Elishama Brandegee, the
aforementioned factory owner whose other business
interests were in the West Indies, not only ran the family
general store but raised silkworms and tended a mulberry
orchard on Worthington Street while doing so,
exemplifying both the adoption of Chinese technology and
the tendency, at this time, of New England women of all
social classes to "[define] their lives through work."
But once again, as with the tin industry, local
enterprise was thwarted by conditions prevailing far away,
and colonial silk production reached a dead end: "The
hitch appeared when it became clear that, even with the
cost of freight ... factored in, New Englanders would not
perform the delicate work of unwinding cocoons for rates
that could compete with Chinese wages." The one major
Connecticut success story was that of the Cheney Brothers,
who turned Manchester into a company town with a silk
mill that remained active until the early 20th century.
America's maritime Clipper Age coincides with the
defeat and humiliation of the Chinese "Celestial Court"
by the British, and the onset of a long period of foreign
intrusion and civil war in China. Connecticut shipyards
built many of the vessels that sailed out of New York,
and many sea captains of the China trade came from
Connecticut families. The town of Berlin plays a part in
one profoundly American and virtually unknown story
from that period. In 1852, one year after the founding of
the rebel Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace and
somewhere along the endemically hungry, flooded,
people-exporting coast of southern China, a Chinese boy
of about ten years old was sold to Captain Amos Peck,
106 Teaching of HistonJ

son of the aforementioned Norris Peck. On the return

voyage round the Hom, the cabin boy was named "Joe"
by the ship's crew, and was brought back to Berlin along
with whatever goods Amos purchased as his father's
Joe was raised together with Amos Peck's younger
siblings in his parents' home (an 181h century central
chimney house that is still standing). Joe attended school
with them, but instead of taking the Peck family name he
was given the surname "Pierce," after the President then
in office. Years later, family members would tell conflicting
versions of why, where, and even for how much Joe was
purchased. But Connecticut had officially abolished slavery
in 1848, the Pecks were-at least in principle-locally known
to be against it, and Joe was neither thought of nor treated
as a slave during the years he spent in town.
Pierce grew to manhood in Berlin, and, following
President Lincoln's call in 1863 for "300,000 more," enlisted
in the 14th Connecticut Volunteers. Manchurian pigtail
tucked under his blue Union kepi, he saw action at
Gettysburg and elsewhere, ultimately witnessing Lee's
surrender at Appomattox. After the war, he married into
and lived entirely within central Connecticut's white
American society, eventually finding employment
(undoubtedly through Peck family connections with the
Wilcoxes) at the nearby Meriden Brittania Company.
Besides teapots and spice boxes, Meriden Brittania made
all kinds of vessels and utensils for the burgeoning
railroad, steamship, restaurant, and hotel industries whose
development corresponds with increasingly tightening
webs of modem world interconnectedness.
As a highly-skilled engraver of Britannia and silver-
plated holloware, Pierce's custom work differed vastly
from the labour of virtually all the other Chinese who
Teaching World History 107

labored bitterly as mere coolies in the United States in the

decades prior to and during the infamous years of official
Chinese Exclusion. Still, despite his wartime service and
his adoption of Yankee identity, he could not become a
citizen, nor is it likely that other Americans allowed him
to forget that he was "yellow." Pierce died in 1916, leaving
a wife and two sons, but apparently no trail other than
documents related to his residence, employment, and
military service.

Finally, evidence of more recent connections between the
near and the far may be seen up and down the Berlin
Turnpike, which prior to the completion of the federal
interstate highway system in the 1960's was part of the
main route connecting New York, Bridgeport, New Haven,
Middletown, Meriden and Hartford.
Decades of commercial decline along this highway
ended with the influx, since the late 1970's, of what is now
a significant bloc of local commercial property owners and
tax-payers. Families from western India's Gujarat state
(mainly the areas around Surat and Ahmedabad), with
centuries of experience in property ownership and cross-
cultural trade, are today the proprietors of motels, filling
stations, convenience stores, and "Gandhi Plazas" virtually
This demographic pattern has been replicated along
secondary roads throughout the United States. Elsewhere
throughout the area (and through much of New England)
small Chinese take-outs, owned and run by families from
Fujian Province, have become ubiquitous. In 2004, more
persons of Asian Pacific race/ethnicity re&ided in Berlin
than the total of Native Americans and African-Americans
combined, and these are mainly South Asian Hindus and
108 Teaching of History

Muslims. Because of its central location in the state, Berlin

is also the home of Connecticut's largest mosque.
It is too early to tell what future trends may connect
local realities to Asia even further, but at least one local
multiplex now features regular screenings of "Bollywood"
films, while perhaps as many as two hundred thousand
Connecticut jobs in both low-tech (manufacturing) and
high-tech (information) sectors have been outsourced to
Asia. It is estimated that by 2008, U.S. corporate
involvement in India alone will involve 1.2 million
workers and $23 billion in revenues. One hint of things
to come may be seen in the recent growth of the Chinese
population in the town of Norwich.
Relocated to New York City's Chinatown from Fujian,
and then to eastern Connecticut after the devastating
impact of the events of September 11 th, 2001 on businesses
in lower Manhattan, their main source of livelihood now
lies in the casino, resort, and entertainment industries
developed over the past fifteen years or so by Pequots
and Mohegans. If the past is prologue, this particular
confluence of people and economic opportunity is truly
Yet Connecticut's connections to India specifically did
not begin with the emergence of what is jokingly called
the "Patel Motel Cartel." Though it may seem tenuous,
without a link to South Asia there would have been no
such thing as a Yale education-legal, divinity, or otherwise-
for many central Connecticut luminaries of the 18th and
19th centuries. Born in the New Haven Colony in 1648,
Elihu Yale's gift to a school that was at first located in the
town of Saybrook included 1/25 pieces of garlic (a kind of
cloth), 18 pieces of calico, 17 pieces of worsted goods, 12
pieces of Spanish poplin, 5 pieces of plain muslin, and 2
pieces of black and white silk crepe," which, when sold,
raised 562 English pounds for the construction of the new
CoJJege Ln Nt>w Haven."
Teaching Effective World History

World History has developed as a teaching programme,

mainly through survey courses at both high school and
first-year college level, a number of objections have been
raised in US. Many area studies specialists have worried
about the feasibility of such a vast subject, and particularly
about the distortions and simplifications a world history
programme might entail in their specialty. Here was one
source of the resistance to world history in Ivy League
and comparable institutions. Sheer routine posed another
set of barriers, long compounded by the lack of specific
training possibilities for world history teachers.
Many high school teachers were and are intimidated
by world history and also remain attached to subject
matter they have long taught and have come to love. The
agonies, for example, about what to do with the beloved
Italian Renaissance, when prodded to convert from
European history to world history, form a case in point.
But it is the cultural resistance to world history that has
been most interesting and probably, in the long run, most
telling in its curricular impact, sometimes compounded of
course by sheer routine-mindedness.
110 Teaching of History

A number of educators, and even more patrons and

observers of education, are convinced that world history
threatens the values and knowledge they find central to a
well-conceived history programme. For them, the two
central pillars of such a programme involve, first, a special
emphasis on American history, usually conceived (at least
implicitly) along lines of American exceptionalism, and
second, an appropriate dose of Western civilisation.
An educated person, according to this argument, must
know a daunting number of facts about both fields-1,200
or so in U.S. history, and over 1,000 for Western civ,
according to conservative education guru Chester Finn.
More broadly, American citizens generally should have a
unifying exposure to some common stories about the West
and about American history, and a fairly explicit sense of
the superiority of these traditions over (usually unnamed)
These attitudes reflect, first, a national establishment
that has had no reason-in obvious contrast to current
counterparts in the European Union-to rethink the
importance of specifically nationalist frameworks for
history curricula. Recent federal legislation promoting the
teaching of strictly American history and proposing
mandatory training on topicS such as the U.S. constitution
show the continued vitality of state-serving national
history. And while increasing numbers of professional
historians are eager to "internationalise" the American
history survey to make it more compatible with companion
world history courses, there is little official sponsorship
for these efforts.
The widespread attachment to Western civ, the more
direct competitor to world history, is less self-evident, for
obviously the programme here is not strictly national.
Western civ courses became curricular staples, first at
Teaching Effective World History 111

prestigious universities headed by Columbia, then by

reflection as European history survey courses in many high
schools, from the 1920s onward. They reflected a successful
campaign by many historians of Europe, headed by James
Harvey Robinson, to urge Western civ as an essential
backdrop and legitimizer to what was, after all, a rather
brief, strictly national, experience.
The United States was also seen in terms of
maintaining the European cultural and political tradition
at a time, between the world wars, when Europe itself
seemed unable to do the job. Here again was a reassuring
assignment for an upstart transatlantic republic. Western.
values-and the emphasis in the Western civ tradition rested
on intellectual and very general political heritage, not
messy details-were fundamental to American development,
and the United States had its additional role as preserver
as well as heir.
S=urricular history itself, then, explains much of the
conservative attachment to Western Civ and resentment
of world history as interloper. Because world history
necessarily reduces the space available to the West and
treats the Western tradition as one among several major
and valid civilisational experiences, it is inherently suspect.
Add the not-inconsiderable dose of West-bashing
associated with some world history efforts, designed to
trim the West down to size, and the conflict escalates.
Indeed, something of a vicious circle is often established,
with world historians all the more eager to point out flaws
in the West given their opponents' adamant insistence that
West is best.
History curricula, then, become one of the
battlegrounds in the notorious American culture wars,
between defenders of a clear tradition, eager to maintain
established landmarks for assessing the knowledge of an
112 Teaching of History

educated student, and the advocates of the greater breadth

and considerable relativism of world history.
Conflict is all the more acute given the relationship
between history curricula and two of the major forces
impinging on the contemporary United States. First, there
is the unprecedented flow and diversity in the immigrant
population. For many world historians, an increasingly
diverse student body has been a vital asset, providing
voices insisting on historical treatment of traditions besides
that of the West. But for their opponents, this same
mixture makes. it all the more imperative that students be
exposed to standard single stories about the national and
the Western traditions-history is designed to Americanise,
and world history distracts from and possibly subverts this
task. The same divergence applies to growing complexities
in the United States' world role in a post-Cold War
To world historians, national involvement in global
rather than predominantly European interactions dictates
world history as essential perspective. But for their
opponents, this same complexity requires an even fiercer
emphasis on the certainties and superiorities of Western
values. This clash gained additional illustration
immediately after 9/11: while most people saw the attacks
as a reason for new curricular attention to Islam and to
central Asia, conservatives like Lynn Cheney explicitly
argued that America besieged required ever-stricter
emphasis on the Western verities, without the dilution
involved in dealing with the larger world. The wars
Several features of world history, as a teaching
programme, have complicated the disputes. Despite some
previous research pedigree, world history long developed
in the United States primarily as a teaching field, not
Teaching Effective World History 113

buttressed by major research claims. Even the

achievements of the field, in significantly revising our
understanding of historical developments particularly
between about 600 C.E. and the 19 th century, have not
always been highlighted. This may generate unfavourable
contrast with the more familiar research pedigree of
Western civ-beginning with scholars like Robinson himself.
Again in contrast to Western civ., world history
programmes took earliest and widest root in state colleges
and public high schools, rather than the most prestigious
universities that clung to well-established Western civ
offerings. Again, some potential clout was lost as a result.
These features are transitory, already being amended; the
recent move in the Ivy League toward formal world
history programmes, though a belated response rather than
a leadership gesture, is a striking case in point. And
research credentials advance steadily as well, along with,
more haltingly, available training programmes.
The central question, of course, is how much the
ongoing culture wars over world history have mattered.
On the surface, despite the rhetorical storms, surprisingly
little. Worries that official condemnation in 1994 would
dampen the world history surge proved largely
groundless. The Standards document itself continued to
be widely referenced by secondary school teachers, at least
for several years. Two other developments were
particularly noteworthy.
First, in the wake of the partial collapse of the
national standards movement, a variety of states issued
standards statements of their own, sometimes with
assessment mechanisms attached. Distressingly (though
perhaps understandably given the Standards controversy)
professional historians were relatively rarely involved in
developing these materials.
114 Teaching of History

Nevertheless, most state standards referenced world

history, not European history. The state of Texas, perhaps
surprisingly, so emphasized world history that the
opportunity to teach strictly European history in high
school programmes withered; a somewhat similar situation
prevailed in California. And many individual school
districts, for example in Maryland, Virginia, and
Massachusetts, opted strongly for world history goals
under the umbrella of a slightly vaguer state mandate. The
second development, still more recent, involves the
installation and rapid success, numerically at least, of the
Advanced Placement World History course. The course
was launched four years ago, to the largest student
audience of any AP programme at roughly 20,000; it has
grown massively, with roughly triple the original number
of students involved in the programme this year.
This growth has challenged many teachers, some of
whom have doubtless been hastily chosen-in some cases,
the least experienced teachers were dragooned-or
incompletely trained. But teacher response to training
opportunities has been impressive as well. Finally, though
numerical data are less firm here, college programmes
have continued to spread as well.
Despite the culture wars, in other words, world
history curricula have advanced. Programmes like the AP
effort and many college courses have been progressively
refined, so that there are many illustrations of careful
periodisation, calibrated balance among comparative
approaches, emphasis on contacts, and focus on global
forces-moving well away from the parade of one society
after another that remained common just a decade ago.
Diligent efforts by world historians themselves, at both
college and secondary levels; awareness of exciting issues
in research and teaching in the field; the need to respond
to the increasing diversity of the student body; and above
Teaching Effective World History 115

all the overwhelming imperative to provide historical

perspective on the complex network of global relationships
with which American students will be engaged, as citizens
certainly and often as workers-all these factors have
promoted the world history programme even as the
culture wars continue to distract.
This is not to say, however, that cultural dispute and
other retardant factors have lost their force. Several
distortions remain significant.
First, obviously, world history surveys have not
spread as widely as would have occurred with less
opposition, particularly at the introductory college
level. While European surveys had never been
ubiquitous, and while they varied far more than
Western civ proponents sometimes acknowledged, it
remains true that world history has yet to achieve the
standard place that European surveys could boast two
decades ago.
More importantly, and here particularly at the
secondary sch<)ol level, the combination of routine
mindedness and the vigorous promotion of Western
values has produced many world history titles that
are hollow, misleading or even intellectually
dangerous. The average high school world history
course and textbook-aside from Advanced Placement-
is still 67% Western, which means that other societies
and larger, global forces receive both inadequate and
inconsistent treatment. The world is still seen in terms
of Western preponderance and initiative, and
occasionally significant response elsewhere. Distortions
are particularly great in the modem era.
The state of California, for example, offers an
imaginative world history programme in the early
grades, running up to 1500, at which point it abruptly
116 Teaching of History

turns on its heels and becomes elaborately and rather

conventionally Western. And there is always Texas: a
state with world history requirements on paper, but
where conservative assessments of textbooks, among
other things eager to slam religions other than
Christianity, can constrain presentations for the whole
country because of the power of this particular state
adoption pr:ocess for texts. Or another example:
Virginia's standards of learning in history have a
world label, but the facts they require are almost
entirely Western; school districts that seek a world
history experience face a difficult juggling act, and a
two-year window, in order to give students both some
real world history and a decent chance to pass the
SOLs. One can debate, of course, whether a bit of
world is better than nothing, but there is reason to
fear that many students are being encouraged to think
they know the world when they do not; honest
labeling, of what are still largely Western courses with
a smattering of the West and the rest, might be
Given the conflicts, there has been little intelligent
discussion of how to relate Western and world history.
Proponents on both sides, eager to overwhelm the
other, talk in terms of either-or. Sequential possibilities
have been little explored. Both sides seek to capture
both high school and college entry survey courses,
risking among other things some redundancy for able
students. Compromise, other than the unacceptable
West-and-rest approach, may be impossible, but it has
not even been seriously advanced. In my own
judgment, a sensible world history approach,
genuinely global but not West-bashing, allows
important insights into Western history not available
in turgid European history surveys by themselves; but
Teaching Effective World History 117

amid conflict there is little opportunity to probe the

comparative advantages of newer approaches,
particularly at the high school level-Given the
conflicts, there has been little intelligent discussion of
how to relate Western and world history. Proponents
on both sides, eager to overwhelm the other, talk in
terms of either-or.
Sequential possibilities have been little explored. Both
sides seek to capture both high school and college
entry survey courses, risking among other things some
redundancy for able students. Compromise, other than
the unacceptable West-and-rest approach, may be
impossible, but it has not even been seriously
advanced. In my own judgment, a sensible world
history approach, genuinely global but not West-
bashing, allows important insights into Western
history not available in turgid European history
surveys by themselves; but amid conflict there is little
opportunity to probe the comparative advantages of
newer approaches, particularly at the high school
Conflict has also retarded appropriate teacher training.
Too many prospective teachers, who will be called
upon to do something in world history in their high
school post, attend colleges where world history is not
offered at all, or is poorly developed. The disjuncture
between teacher needs and many major programmes
can be shockingly great, and those college instructors
who stubbornly oppose even world history options
are doing their charges, and ultimately their charges'
charges, a serious disservice.
Though some hopeful signs have emerged, conflict has
also limited discussion of linking American and world
history at the curricular level. So much energy is taken
118 Teaching of History

up merely defending world history in the first place,

against cultural opposition, that the inevitable
challenges of adapting the teaching traditions in
American history have been largely sidestepped. Here
too, there is repair work to be done.
Finally, while conflict has not prevented the growth
of world history and-as the best college texts now
attest-some serious thinking about curricular options,
it has tended to unduly confine most discussion of
world history in teaching to the survey course level.
As teachers, most world historians are so busy trying
to install and defend their course in the schools or in
colleges, that they have paid surprisingly little
attention to a larger world history curriculum beyond
the entry stage. Exception is noted for a growing
number of graduate programmes or graduate tracks,
but at the level of undergraduate majors the judgment
Usually, the student, interested in world history, who
inquires about what to do after the survey courses is
simply shunted to a series of non-Western civilisation
surveys. Not a dreadful recourse, but frankly
inadequate. Here is where, aside from continued
growth, an ability to escape the snares of cultural
conflict will have the greatest payoff in extending
world history curricula and the perspectives they
provide on past and present alike.


As the digital media wave began to roll over history

classrooms in the mid-1990s, it seemed that the new
technologies would substantially and rapidly transform the
ways teachers teach the survey course. In just a few years,
previously unimaginable amounts of historical
Teaching Effective World History 119

information-texts, images, music, video-became available

to the students (and us) at the click of a mouse.
As just one example, the American Memory Project
of the Library of Congress alone now offers more than 7
million digitised primary sources drawn from 100 different
archival collections. And sometime in the mid 1990s
administrators and many faculty members became
convinced that infusing information technology into a
course would improve learning outcomes. With that
conviction came the inevitable pressure on teaching faculty
to "ramp up" their courses.
This compulsion is not new. Charles McIntyre,
writing in the Journal of Higher Education, argued:
It should not be necessary at this time to elaborate the
reasons that the effective integration of technological
developments into educational practice may be highly
desirable, if not essential. They apparently provide the
means, if we have the will and the wit to use them
appropriately, of making Significant improvement in the
efficiency of our instructional procedures .. .1 do believe that
there is evidence that by the use of [new] media (a) the
effectiveness of the superior teacher can be extended to
more students with little or no diminution; (b) instruction
can be systematically structured, revised, and improved in
the light of measured student achievement toward agreed-
upon goals; (c) the time of teachers can be diverted from
lecture, demonstration, and drill and put to better use in
instruction requiring the interaction of teacher and student,
and (d) teaching can be enriched with a variety and depth
of experiences not otherwise available to students. The grant
funds which may have helped at the beginning are no
longer available for day-to-day operation, and the full
implication of the cost of operating [such] new facilities
may, for the first time, become clear to the university

This is not all to say that the arrival of digital media in

the teaching and learning of World History is a bad thing.
On the contrary, carefully constructed digital media can give
120 Teaching of History

the students access to immediate multimedia experiences

that conventional teaching cannot provide-encounters with
still and moving images, music, data, and text more or
less simultaneously. Common sense tells that these media
have the potential to .change both teaching and learning in
substantial ways. This prospect alone offers a genuinely
revolutionary possibility for the teaching and learning of
World Hi~tory, especially if students might actually be
pursuing. different lines of inquiry simultaneously and
interactively in an increasingly networked environment.
A recent Coogle search on "Latin American history"
and "primary sources" turned up 3,130 hits when the
terms were delimited. The good news is that the first site
to come up in such a search is the Modern History
Sourcebook-a reasonable, albeit imperfect choice. The bad
news is that the next ten possibilities are all library sites
offering useful links.
A diligent student will move beyond the first ten
results of such a search, but as we have all experienced,
even the most diligent student often ends up at a site of
questionable quality. For example, if one types "Adolf
Hitler" into the Coogle search engine, the fifth website to
appear in the rankings is the Hitler Historical Museum.
This website can seem like a reasonable choice for research.
After all, it appeared in the second position in the Coogle
rankings, its production values are fair, and the site offers
a non-biased, non-profit museum devoted to the study and
preservation of the world history related to Adolf Hitler
and the National Socialist Party. True to its role as an
educational museum, these exhibits allow for visitors to
understand and examine historical documents and
information for themselves ... No biased judgments,
slanderous labels or childish name calling exist here as they
do in most of the writings on this topic.
Teaching Effective World History 121

Only a careful reading of the website indicates that it is

clearly a production of those who believe that Hitler was
on the right track and has gotten a bum rap over the years.
This simple example demonstrates how desperately
teachers need to train the students to use the resources
that are available to them on the Internet. At the same
time, it must also be said that a minority of the students
are doing very interesting work in the vast online archive
teachers are creating for them-producing essays,
multimedia presentations, weblogs, and other results that
are quite impressive.
Given the many challenges and opportunities teachers
face in bringing digital media to the World History course.
There are three main points that will guide what they do
in the coming five to ten years as they infuse more and
more technology into the courses.
Most faculty members would agree that the students
are incredibly intermediated, they are wired to one another
in ways none of us would have imagined just ten years
ago. Most will also agree that when the students are given
a new assignment, the first (and too often only) place they
look for answers is online, going to the library only in
extremis. This problem raises the question of what, exactly,
they know for sure about how students learn using
information technology. The answer is very little when it
comes to higher education and only a little bit more when
it comes of secondary education.
As Esther Dyson pointed out in a recent radio
interview, access to information should not be confused
with education. Given this situation, until teachers know
more about how the actual learning takes place online,
teachers need to be very explicit in designing resources
for their students that promote the kinds of skills with
technology that they think are essential to their success in
122 Teaching of History

the courses. In the same way that a generation ago they

gave their students library skills building assignments,
they now need to create similar exercises that take
advantage of what the technology offers us.
The pressures of professional practice are already such
that only a few historians will ever have the time or energy
to devote to learning how to produce Flash movies or
write MySQL/PHP code. Instead, what is more important
is that the colleagues be trained in how to use the
resources that exist. What teachers need is training in how
to use the resources that exist to train the students to
engage in historical research and analysis, and how to
teach their students to find and use appropriate resources.
At present, such training is largely non-existent. Not
one of the many NEH-funded summer seminars for faculty
in 2005 provided this sort of training. In the American
history survey course the number of syllabi posted online
has doubled each year between 1997-2004. As evidence of
how reluctant faculty teaching history survey courses are
to use online resources, Daniel J. Cohen's analysis of U.S.
history syllabi posted online shows that only 6% of 2004
syllabi posted online included links to online resources
other than the website associated with the course's
The third issue remaining to be addressed on the
campuses is the continuing lack of sufficient technology
infrastructure for those faculty who do want to make full
use of digital media to do so without having to cart their
own projectors and laptops with them from class to class,
or for their students to have sufficient access in the
classroom. Despite a massive investment in infrastructure,
most campuses in the United States still have only a few
classrooms, relative to the total number on campus, that
are fully enabled for students and faculty to maximise their
Teaching Effective World History 123

experience with new media. Because the share of new

students on the campuses who come from economically
and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds continues
to grow, many of these students find it difficult to access
technologically-enhanced learning opportunities in the
same ways that their more advantaged peers can.
These are familiar challenges, all of which are
primarily administrative in nature and all of which can
Be overcome by increased investment in curricular change,
technology infrastructure, and the equalisation of student
access to technology. The path to their solution may be
expensive, but is not especially complicated. Thus far this
essay has sounded like a lot of bad news. Fortunately,
there is a lot of good news to balance the bad. Most
encouraging is the growing number of high quality
web sites that provide researchers-whether students or
faculty-with sophisticated access to large libraries of
primary source material.
As more and more of these websites place their source
materials into databases rather than folders of flat html
files, powerful searching software makes it possible for
visitors to these web sites to manipulate the information
they contain in ever more sophisticated ways. New
resources like the Web Scrapbook, created by Daniel
Cohen, allow users of these web sites to capture and
organise what they find there with increasing ease. Tools
such as these allow students to create and pursue their
own lines of inquiry and to engage in the kind of research
previously reserved for advanced graduate students and
faculty. Seven years ago Randy Bass wrote about these
"novices in the archive" to describe what the availability
of a vast library of primary source materials online meant
for the students. Access to large collections of primary
sources is a potentially wonderful thing, Bass wrote, but
124 Teaching of History

having access to the sources is not the same thing as being

able to work with those sources effectively.
Digital media are also transforming the way that
students write about the past and participate in collective
knowledge production. Since the late 1990s various forms
of the discussion forum (WebCT, BlackBoard, etc.) have
become common on college and university campuses.
These "older" forms of online collaboration are being
pushed aside by the expanding blogosphere and the
surging popularity of tagging at websites such as
and Where once students had websites of their
own and used discussion forums and chatrooms tb
exchange information, now they link their lives-personal
and academic-through weblogs, "live journals," tagging,
and other forms of digital communities.
The website counts more than 2.5
million active users, most of whom are between the ages
of 15-23 and more than two-thirds of whom are female.
This one example demonstrates how comfortable the
students are expressing themselves online. At the same
time, online writing is transforming the way they write.
Catherine Smith argues that students "take real-world
writing more seriously when it is done on the web, where
it might actually be seen and used." For World History
teaching, which relies so heavily on students being able
to think across time and space to draw together examples
from disparate cultures, this integrative style of writing
seems especially important.
The final big question when they think about the
integration of digital media into the World History course
is perhaps the most difficult to answer. When new media
are added to a course, do the students learn better, more,
or differently? In other words, is there some sort of
measurable beneficial outcome from all the time and money
Teaching Effective World History 125

invested in ramping up a course? The World History

survey seems a particular apt laboratory for this sort of
research because in We-rld History they demand that the
students cross national, regional, methodological, and
temporal boundaries on a daily basis and the digital world
facilitates this sort of boundary-crossing.
Fortunately, a growing number of researchers spread
across a range of disciplines are inching toward answers
to this vexing question, and their answers are rooted in
their own epistemologies, rather than being solely the
property of cognitive psychologists and schools of
education. Historians, literary theorists, chemists,
mathematicians and many others are engaging in 'more
and more assessment of the impact of technology on
learning in their courses. While some of this research is
being conducted by individuals working in isolation, a
substantial portion of the inquiry into what is really
different about teaching and learning with new media is
occurring in collaborative endeavors like the Carnegie
Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
(CASTL) and the Visible Knowledge Project based at
Georgetown University.
As a participant in both of these efforts over the past
several years, the researchers affiliated with both projects
have made significant progress in the framing of the right
questions to ask about technology and learning, and some
have even begun to offer interesting, albeit tentative


Despite the recent "cultural wars" over the introduction

of National Standards in the U.S. and the fact that neither
standards nor textbooks show much reflection of the
transcultural, global, and comparative approaches of world
126 Teaching of History

history research, froII'l: the German perspective the U.S.

world history curriculum development since its beginnings
in the early nineteenth century looks like the story of an
easy success. The impressiveness of world history teaching
in the American classroom, especially after the
introduction of AP courses, makes the neglect of this
subject in German secondary education all the more
Although Germany can look back on a long tradition
of world history writing, it never really reached the school
curriculum except in two cases. First, during the nineteenth
century, textbooks on world history had been written and
used in schools, but this practice ceased once the imperial
age arrived. Second, in East Germany world history in the
shape of Western Civ - albeit based on Marxist theory and
with different ideological aims - was part of the school
curriculum. But in genera1, a nation-centered view has
dominated the German history curriculum.
Although the biased nationalistic and chauvinistic
curriculum changed after World War II, neither the
abandonment of all Nazi ideology in textbooks nor the
overall reform of the history curriculum led to a
replacement of the nation-orientated history instruction in
Germany. Only as a result of the European unification
process and the numerous attempts to revise history
textbooks by the Council of Europe did a thematic
broadening of the curriculum since the 1970s occur. The
conferences of the German ministers of education in 1978
and 1997 decided to set up guiding principles aiming at
the creation of a "European consciousness as pedagogical
task of the school." But world history has still not found
its way into school curricula.
Before elaborating further on this phenomenon, a few
words on the structure of the German school system are
necessary. To begin with, this system is very
Teaching Effective World History 127

heterogeneous due to the fact that the federal government

has no regulatory authority over the schools; each of the
sixteen German states develops its own system. Primary
school generally starts at the age of six and goes to grade
4. Based on merit, the students are then sent to one of
four secondary schools that end either at ninth or tenth
grade (secondary level I), or the twelfth or thirteenth grade
(depending on the state and encompassing secondary
levels I and II), with the best students continuing the
History is obligatory from the sixth through tenth
grades and two classes a week are taught. Depending on
the school type, it can be combined with other subjects.
Traditionally, curricula are issued by the state government
and are input-oriented, and there is a free market of state-
approved textbooks. Beyond grade 10 (i.e., secondary level
II), history is no longer mandatory. As a reaction to P1SA
and to a general school reform debate reflecting the
international discourse on general education, school
quality, autonomy, and assessment, among other topics,
various German states are reforming their curricula.
One example is the new history curriculum of Baden-
Wuerttemberg, which was introduced as part of the so-
called Bildungsplan in 2004. With respect to the Gymnasium
(which is the secondary school type for the best students
to grade 12 in this state) this new curriculum reveals at
first glance a change in the traditional approach. As an
output-oriented curriculum focusing on standards and
school autonomy it means a shift away from the traditional
curriculum. The introduction of specific school- and
subject-related standards, the definition of a core
curriculum, a specific school curriculum autonomy, which
can be set up by each school individually, and the merging
of different subjects into one seem to offer new ways of
teaching history. The basic goal of history instruction is
128 Teaching of Histonj

now stated as such: "The acquisition of basic knowledge

about important events, persons, developments, structures,
terms, and epochs of regional, national, and European
history, as well as world history, is indispensable for
history instruction."
If one has a closer look at the history standards,
however, it becomes obvious that world history is hardly
treated and that a transformation from a nation-centered
perspective to a global approach has not taken place. From
grades 6 to 9 the curriculum is characterised by a
chronological, Western culture-based survey; grade 10
deals with contemporary history of the twentieth century.
After national history, European history has a second
narrative line. The advanced courses in grades 11 to 12 -
so-called Leistungskurse that are comparable to the
American AP courses - focus on Modern Europe and
neglect non-European history, decolonisation, and other
global topics with the exception of the Chinese Revolution.
Problems af globalisation, migration, environment,
economy, and trade are treated in the Hicherverbund (the
merging of subjects into one curriculum) of geography,
economics, and social studies. Altogether, the new
curriculum turns out to be only a trimmed version of the
old curriculum and formulates standards on a very abstract
In contrast to the general goal of history teaching cited
above, world history is only treated peripherally, and
problems of globalisation are assigned to subjects other
than history. By no means does the new history curriculum
incorporate a change of the basic narrative. Recent studies
on the history, geography, and civic instruction textbooks
and curricula carried out by the Georg Eckert Institute for
International Textbook Research in Braunschweig confirm
that the national approach still prevails and that non-
European perspectives are only integrated selectively.
Teachillg Effective World History 129

Europe, however, does tend to playa more visible role in


Teaching Historical Consciousness

The U.S. debate on the history curriculum revision has not
yet arrived at the German schools. Only in the past two
years have educators started debating the revision of the
history curriculum. Whereas the introduction of the U.S.
National Standards could be justified by major changes
within American society and was promoted by various
pressure groups, the impulse of a history curriculum
reform in Germany is based on the idea of the general
mission of history instruction: to produce knowledge about
the past and to develop a historical consciousness and
identity that provides a basis for orientation in society.
History, in short, plays a major part in the historical-
political socialisation of adolescents. Since the globalisation
process has changed life and world perspectives
dramatically, the nation-centered history is no longer
sufficient to guarantee the identity and orientation function
of history instruction and, therefore, does not correspond
to the needs of youth in a global world, according to the
advocates of world history in Germany.
These normative assumptions are not yet proved
empirically, however. The international comparative study
"Youth and History" of 1995 investigated the historical
consciousness of some 32,000 ninth-grade students in 27
European countries. Without going into the details of this
study, one of the results identified was that "connections
between conceptions of the past, perceptions and
evaluations of the present, and expectations for the future
are visible but not strongly developed." It is evident that
the impact of daily experiences on the historical
consciousness is much stronger than vice versa. This
means that the supposed orientation and identity function
130 Teaching of History

of history has to be seen rather as a confirmation of

experiences than a cognitive processing of the past. Other
studies reached similar results, for example the sociological
studies on the effects of the European unification process
on a "European" consciousness and identity.
Recent empirical investigations in the field of youth
and adolescence research show, however, that youth
cultures are influenced to a large extent by global
developments and that they react to them in various ways.
Furthermore, the twelfth Shell Study confirms that
adolescents reflect globalisation and its challenges in a very
realistic and pragmatic way. It seems to be evident that
life experiences and future expectations shape the social
actions of young people more than historical consciousness
does. It is therefore an empirically open question as to
what degree history instruction in general and world
history instruction in particular contribute to the
socialisation process of youth in comparison to family,
tradition, culture, and peer group. It is not really known
what the needs of students for orientation and identity in
a global world are and how they reflect globalisation, or
whether a world history-centered curriculum can serve
these needs better than a traditional one.
Further research needs to be done on what exactly
constitutes aI/global-oriented historical consciousness" and
what kinds of skills - cognitive, social, methodical, or
subject-related - have to be developed to transform
historical consciousness. These are important questions for
a prospective curriculum reform.
What models should Germany look to for reforming
this nation-centered curriculum? Simply adding non-
Western civilisation courses into the cUlriculum does not
seem to be very successful, as the history of Western Civ
courses at U.S. colleges indicate. The method of
implementing a separate world history course besides the
Teaching Effective World History 131

traditional national history course - as in the case of the

AP courses - carries with it the danger that there is no
link between the two narratives. The alternative path of
teaching national history within the context of world
history has not yet been attempted. Regardless of how one
tries to implement world history into the curriculum, it
poses the additional question of how to define world
Such a justification seems to have become a crucial
point considering the competition with other subjects that
history has to face, and in the U.S. this competition is also
present. The discussion about core curricula and
knowledge standards will have effects on how much space
subjects will be allotted in the curriculum. The position of
history is by no means secure. A glance at the specifics of
the German school system and the fact that history at the
highest secondary level (grades 11 to 13) is voluntary
confirms that the impact of history instruction on identity
should not be overestimated. In addition, studies on the
preferences of students reveal that 25 percent of all
students dislike history courses and that it is ranked third
after mathematics and physics in the scale of unpopular
subjects. There is also a significant difference between
teachers and students regarding the goals of instruction.
Whereas teachers assume that the "explanation of the
present through history" and the teaching of "democratic
values" are most important, students put "knowledge of
important historical events and care of traditions" first.
The low rank of history among school subjects
coincides with the lack of appropriate teacher training. This
problem is more pronounced in the U.S., as Diane Ravitch
has recently shown. In Germany the education of high
school history teachers at the university is not undisputed
in the context of a general discussion on teacher training
but it does follow a certain curriculum and is, as teacher
132 Teaching of History

training is in general, divided into two parts: academic

(within the university) and pedagogical-practical (at
teacher seminars). However, since world history has not
been institutionalised at German universities, there is no
special training in world history.
Finally, if history can defend its position within the
school curriculum and if world history is able to justify
its implementation into the history curriculum, the
question remains how such a curriculum change might
look and what kind of curriculum definition one refers
to. Setting aside the German debates on what constitutes
a curriculum, it can be stated that most experts agree that
learning goals and teaching strategies are content-directed
elements of the state's control of instruction and that the
curriculum therefore serves political strategies of
Studies on civic education in the U.S. show that a
link between history instruction, the teaching of political
and cultural norms, and the life experience of adolescents
leads to greater success in the development of a historical
consciousness and identity than traditional curricula and
textbooks. It is, therefore, crucial for world history teaching
that life experiences of the students in a global world
correspond to the knowledge they receive in school in
order to act responsibly in society.
Teaching Medieval Castles

Castles are 'tangible' monuments that exert a powerful

hold on the imagination of students and academics alike.
In Britain, the medieval castle is therefore a potentially
valuable teaching resource. Castles can provide an
excellent starting point for the study of medieval history,
especially for those students who, due to the constraints
of school curricula, are only familiar with twentieth-
century history. The variety and distribution of castles
across Britain ensures that they can offer tremendous
potential for fieldtrips and seminars in the field. Alongside
the familiar role of military fortress, castles also provide
potential for the study of topics as various as the
household, attitudes to authority, lordly lifestyles,
landscape design and spirituality.
Alongside the undoubted benefits, teaching the
medieval castle also prevents certain problems. The study
of the castle frequently does not fit easily into 'traditional'
undergraduate units in medieval history or archaeology.
This is due, in part, to the multifarious nature of the castle
itself. Castles hpd a multiplicity of roles in the medieval
period and, according to the demands of the
undergraduate unit in question, often appear in only one
of their many forms: as military fortresses, estate centres,
134 Teaching of History

as part of the infrastructure of government, as tools of

conquest. Only rarely is the unified concept of 'the
medieval castle' tackled in undergraduate seminars.
Moreover, various structural problems ensure that
teaching castles can be, frankly, difficult. Many castles are
physically inaccessible to campus-based undergraduates
and this is compounded by the fact that students
themselves, particularly those registered on history degree
programmes, often find it difficult to interpret complex
architectural arguments or follow the nuances of
archaeological reports.
It is often the case that before the really interesting
questions concerning castles can be attempted, it is
necessary to wade through a vast mass of material on
architectural history, archaeology and contextual social
history - something that seems to take us away from the
castle itself. What follows here is intended as a guide to
how the castle can be put at the centre of teaching and
used as a vehicle for exploring wider issues and problems
in the study of medieval society. It is by no means
prescriptive, but hopefully highlights some of the key
points of debate in recent years and direction on key pieces
of work. The focus is very much on England and Wales,
but the bibliography does include material from
Continental Europe and the Holy Land.


In recent years, castle studies have been dramatically

transformed. Scholars from a variety of backgrounds have
seriously questioned, and in many cases rapidly
overturned, much of the received wisdom about castles
that has been handed down to us by previous generations.
The main focus of this new thinking has concerned the
military role of the castle. Rather than judging castles as
Teaching Medieval Castles 135

primarily military buildings, the historiographical trend is

now to see them as noble residences built in a military
style. This is undoubtedly a shock to most undergraduates
as the 'battering rams and boiling oil' approach of the
military engineer is still the dominant perception of the
medieval castle.
The clearest way of explaining when and why this
change came about is to discuss in some detail castle
historiography. This also serves as a platform for the
various teaching topics suggested below, all of which relate
back to a theme that has been at the centre of debate for
over a century: what were castles actually for?
Such has been the pace of change within castle studies
that it has been fashionable in recent years to sum up the
historiography of the late nineteenth and twentieth
centuries with reference to what has come to be known
as the 'castle story'. In essence, this represents the
overarching analytical framework within which castles and
castle development could be explained and it represented
the orthodoxy for many years. Although now open to
question at almost every turn, the 'castle story' is one that
is elegant, highly persuasive and remarkably enduring.
Even for students encountering castles for the first time,
much of the story is familiar and provides a good basis
from which to begin further study.

Castle Story
The 'story' begins when the castle (together with
feudalism, the social organisation which supported it) was
introduced into England in 1066 during William the
Conqueror's invasion of England. In the Norman
settlement that followed the victory at Hastings, William
and his followers studded England with castles in order
to pacify a potentially rebellious population. These castles
136 Teaching of History

were chiefly of motte and bailey type (the motte being an

artificial mound of earth and the bailey the adjacent
enclosure) which had the advantages of being quick to
build and offered good protection for the invaders.
Once the immediate danger of the Conquest had
passed, however, new threats emerged, this time from the
Norman barons themselves, who used their castles for
private war as seen during the reign of King Stephen. If
the monarch was not powerful enough to subdue them,
barons would usurp royal authority and fight each other
(and the king), using their castles as bases. It was only in
the late twelfth century, as siege weaponry developed, the
costs of building in stone became prohibitive, and royal
authority was strengthened, that the evils of private
castlebuilding began to be curbed.
Thereafter the development of castles became
something of a Darwinian evolutionary struggle between
attacker and defender and the form of the castle changed
in response to the demands of siege warfare. Round towers
came to replace square towers in order to counter the
threat of mining; the development of the gatehouse
reflected the need to protect the weak point of the castle
gate; water defences grew more extensive to prevent
attacking engines from reaching the wallsi concentric lines
of defensive walls maximised the castle's defensive
firepower. These developments in military science
achieved their high point in the late thirteenth century
with the castles built in North Wales by King Edward 1.
Castles like Conway and Beaumaris represented the high
point of medieval military architecture.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the castle
went into decline. Conflict was more likely to be resolved
by pitched battle, rather than by the siege (as during the
Wars of the Roses), and cannon made the castle
Teaching Medieval Castles 137

increasingly obsolete. In response, the castle increasingly

made concessions to domestic comfort. The late medieval
castle might still reflect a concern to deter local violence,
but the classic fortified residence of the medieval regional
magna,te was slowly evolving into the country house. By
the early sixteenth century, the strong Tudor monarchy
had brought the medieval baronage to heel and the
construction of a chain of artillery fortifications by Henry
VIII showed that it was now the state that had
responsibility for war and national defence. The age of
the castle, and thus the castle 'story', was over.

Historiographical Study
The origins of the castle story (at least in its modern ,form)
can be found in the late nineteenth century. At this time,
castles were studied almost exclusively as fortifications and
a new category of reference - 'Military Architecture' -
provided a structure within which they could be studied.
Castles were the medieval equivalent of the artillery forts
and bastions that had been built in Europe from the
sixteenth century and seventeenth centuries. The warlike
image of the castle also dovetailed well with then current
ideas about the nature of medieval European society. In
an age where life was nasty, brutish and short, the castle
was the lair of the robber baron.
In British historiography one of the first major studies
in castles and castle-building was G. T. Clark's Mediaeval
Military Architecture in England (1884-5). This work
comprised a detailed survey of sites in Britain and France
but an extended introduction charted castle development.
Clark saw castles primarily as military structures and his
interpretation of many individual buildings owed much
to his background in civil engineering. Clark's work was
highly inventive, but it was two books published in 1912
that would dominate castle studies for decades. The first
138 Teaching of History

was Ella Armitage's The Early Norman Castles of the British

Armitage, armed with a combination of Ordnance
Survey maps and references to early castles culled from
documentary sources, demonstrated that it had been the
Normans who had introduced the castle to England. This
was not an entirely new idea - the historian J. H. Round
had also written on this subject some years earlier - but
Armitage and Round had certainly blown out of the water
the idea that mottes belonged to the Roman, Viking or
Anglo-Saxon period. Armitage also discussed the siting
and distribution of Norman sites and offered a tentative
analysis of their landscape context. In this, and in many
other senses, her work was ,pioneering.
The second crucial work in the development of the
castle story was A. Hamilton Thompson's Military
Architecture in England during the Middle Ages. This was
primarily a study of the architectural evidence and in a
particularly persuasive argument, the book charted the
evolution of the castle across several centuries. The engine
driving forward castle development was the need to keep
intruders out.
In a characteristic remark he explained 'it is obvious
that, in the history of military architecture, any
improvement in defence is the consequence of improved
methods of attack' and much of his work follows this logic.
By the early decades of the twentieth century, then, the
castle was firmly established as a 'Norman import' and
there was a template with which to explain the changing
form of the castle from the eleventh century to the end of
the Middle Ages.

Development of an Orthodoxy
The inter-war and immediate post-war periods saw the
Teaching Medieval Castles 139

further development of this military interpretation of

castles. The decades after 1945 were dominated by the
work of three scholars - A. Taylor, R. Allen Brown and
D.J. Cathcart-King. Arguably in the work of the latter two
figures, the military interpretation of castles was taken to
its logical conclusion. The period after the Second World
War was a time when new research produced significant
quantities of information about castles: the publication of
the medieval volumes of the History of the King's Works
marked a watershed in terms of information on royal
castle-building and Taylor and Brown both published
ground-breaking work on patterns of royal castle-building
in England and Wales.
At the same time D. Renn published his study of
Norman castles, which provided valuable new information
on castles of the earlier period. An enormous amount of
documentary research and fieldwork allowed King in 1984
to publish his massive Castellarium Anglicanum, an
inventory of castle sites in England and Wales, and, later,
The Castle: An Interpretative History.
In terms of their ideas on the function of castles,
Brown and Cathcart-King in particular closely allied
themselves to the basic tenets first formulated by Armitage
and Hamilton Thompson. Brown's bestknown work,
English Medieval Castles leaves no doubt as to the military
rationale that he believed governed castle development.
The chapter headings to English Medieval Castles adhered
to the familiar narrative: the development of keeps is
described in a chapter entitled 'The Perfected Castle', that
for the Edwardian castles of North Wales is entitled
Apogee', but hereafter the castle goes into 'Decline'. The
extended introduction to King's Castellarium Anglicanum
perhaps owed more to the work of Armitage, in that it
deals substantially with issues such as siting and
140 Teaching of History

distribution, but again the military character of castles as

private fortresses was not in doubt.
This is not to say that the residential functions of
castles were unappreciated or ignored at this time.
Particularly innovative in the 1950s and 1960s was the
work of P. Faulkner, who analysed castles in terms of their
internal domestic arrangements and tried to relate the
design of castles to their residential purpose. It is also
worth noting that even some of the greatest exponents of
the military school were puzzled over the seeming
weakness of even some of the most famous castles. King
speculated over castles such as Portchester, where a
Norman keep stands in the corner of a Roman shore fort.
The Roman structure exhibited the military
advantageous rounded towers that allowed flanking fire,
but the Norman architects ignored this design and chose
to build in an inferior square style. King concluded that
siege warfare must have been in its infancy at this time if
builders could apparently disregard such obvious
weaknesses. R. Allen Brown was also troubled by the fact
that much of his own documentary research pointed to
the conclusion that the majority of castles spent most of
their time at peace and were badly prepared for conflict.
It was the puzzles that presented themselves at this time
that would ultimately be responsible for the change in
attitude that would come later.

Military Interpretation
The military interpretation of castles first began to be
questioned in the 1960s when archaeological research
began to address the problem of castie origins. As a result
of systematic field survey, it was realised that many of
the very earliest Norman castles were not of motte and
bailey type but were ringworks (an oval enclosure with
Teaching Medieval Castles 141

bank and ditch). In 1966 B. K. Davison pointed out that

there seemed to be a lack of mottes in Normandy prior to
1066 and that the motte and bailey may have only
developed during the course of the Norman conquest of
In 1967 he went further and suggested (before a major
series of archaeological excavations at a number of early
Norman castles designed to test the point) that ringworks
must have been known in pre-Conquest England and
implied that if a castle was defined as a 'fortified residence
of a lord' then, de facto, the idea of private fortification
being new to England in 1066 was incorrect. This provoked
a fierce backlash from R. Allen Brown who vigorously
restated the case for the castle being a Norman import
and suggested that;. Ella Armitage had answered all the
major questions over origins a generation earlier. As it
transpired, the series of excavations in the late 1970s did
not come to any clear-cut conclusions on the issue but an
important line of future enquiry had been put on the
An article by Charles Coulson entitled 'Structural
Symbolism in Medieval Castle Architecture' (1979) was the
starting point for much of the 'new thinking' on castles
that has emerged over recent years. Coulson suggested that
the 'military' architectural features of castles might not
necessarily have served a utilitarian function, but instead
some kind of symbolic purpose. While acknowledging the
need for domestic protection, Coulson suggested that the
construction of a crenellated building could be intended
to stand as an emblem of lordly status, rather than a
response to military insecurity.
Moreover, it was suggested that one of the dominant
themes of castle architecture was the element of nostalgia,
and not the desire to build the most perfect military
142 Teaching of History

structure. Not only were castles aesthetically pleasing to

the medieval eye, but also their construction embodied 'the
moeurs of chivalry, the life-style of the great, and the
legends of the past'. The idea that arrowloops, gunports
and battlements might have been designed within these
frames of reference was a major departure from previous
arguments. Perhaps surprisingly, the wider academic
community largely ignored this article and the 1980s saw
a steady stream of work but nothing which hinted at the
turnaround in thinking that was to come later.
Coulson continued the themes of his 1979 article,
particularly on the topic of fortress customs. Platt's The
Medieval Castle stuck to the traditional narrative but the
chivalric elements to castlebuilding informed much of the
discussion on the castles of the later medieval period. M.
W. Thompson's The Decline of the Castle offered a
valuable survey of later medieval building, but its title
reflected the orthodox view of the period. King's The
Castle in England and Wales was perhaps the last
monograph that can be said to fit easily within the military
By the late 1980s, although important elements of the
military interpretation had been queried, it could not be
said that a new orthodoxy had been developed or that
the wider academic community had necessarily accepted
any of the new thinking. In the early 1990s, however, the
debate over the military role of the castle suddenly came
to the fore and the debate crystallised over one castle in
particular: Bodiam in Sussex.

The Battle for Bodiam

Bodiam has always been a well-known castle; it is

remarkably well preserved and its watery setting makes
it extremely photogenic. Although its description as 'an
old soldier's dream house' was coined as early as the
Teaching Medieval Castles 143

1960s, the castle has traditionally been seen as one of the

last military buildings of its kind, a final salute to a martial
role that had diminished over the previous century. The
purpose of Bodiam is seemingly evidence in the license
to crenellate granted to Sir Edward Dallyngrigge in 1385
'to make into a castle his manor house of Bodiam, near
the sea, in the county of Sussex, for the defence of the
adjacent country'. The design of the castle itself also
superficially displays a utilitarian, military purpose. The
moat prevents anybody gaining access to the curtain walls,
the symmetri~al design allows flanking fire and it also
contains early gunports - its up-to-date design even allows
provision for the weapons that would ultimately make the
castle obsolete.
The scholarly assault on Bodiam came from two
directions. Charles Coulson offered a critique of the
documentary evidence for the castle and its architectural
remains, while Paul Everson and Christopher Taylor, as
part of a survey of the castle for the Royal Commission
for Historic Monuments, examined the landscape context
of the site. Although working independently of each other,
the conclusions theses scholars reached were remarkably
The martial language of the licence is explicable given
the aristocratic obsession with military culture that existed
throughout the medieval period. When it comes to the
building itself the defensive provision is in fact highly
suspect. The gunports and murder holes are impractical
and could never be militarily effective, the battlements are
too small, the moat is shallow and easily drained, access
around the parapets is difficult and the whole site is
overlooked by higher ground.
Rather. the castle's architecture is deliberately
nostalgic; it harks back to the thirteenth century and the
144 Teaching of History

perceived 'golden age' of castle-building during the reign

of Edward 1. Considerable effort went into improving the
castle's external appearance; the provision of a moat
ensures that the building looks larger than is actually the
case, an impression heightened by the size of the windows
and the battlements, which are proportioned to give the
impression of strength. The relatively cramped domestic
courtyard is something of an anticlimax: in reality, it is a
medieval manor house. Confirmation of this analysis was
suggested by a survey of the landscape context of the site.
Rather than a defence against mining, it was suggested
that the castle moat was an ornamental lake, setting the
building off to maximum visual advantage. In addition to
the moat, the castle was surrounded by a series of further
Any visitor wishing to approach the castle did so via
a circuitous route from which the aesthetic appeal of the
building and its surroundings could be appreciated. This
latter characteristic seemed cO'1firmed by the
reinterpretation of the earthworks on the rising ground
above the castle as a viewing, rather than an artillery,
platform. Taken together, the historical and architectural
evidence suggested that Bodiam castle was a residence
built in a martial style - its 'military' elements part of an
architectural language of display - all standing at the centre
of a contemporary 'designed landscape'. This is certainly
a long way from the idea of a fortress intended to inhibit
French raiding.
The 'Battle for Bodiam' was something of a cause
celebre within castle studies but, such has been the pace
of change, it is now something of a cliche. Nevertheless,
it did kick-start a serious debate. Although the problems
with the military orthodoxy had already been signalled
some years before, Bodiam became the central focus of
the discussion. A particularly influential review article by
Teaching Medieval Castles 145

David Stocker, 'The Shadow of the General's Armchair',

put Bodiam at centre stage and gave credence to the
revisionist line; it was suggested that what had hindered
the stu~y of castles was the retrospective application of
modern tactical thinking to a period where such ideas
never existed.

Post Bodiam
The ten years or so since 'the battle for Bodiam' have been
fruitful as far as publications on castles are concerned. A
number of general narrative accounts and specialised
monographs have appeared. J. Kenyon's Medieval
Fortifications summarised much archaeological work on
castles in England and Wales and this year also saw the
publication of N.J.G. Pounds' The Medieval Castle in
England and Wales, a massive study of castlebuilding
largely based on documentary research. M.W. Thompson's
The Rise of the Castle stuck closely to some older
interpretations but included valuable chapters on castles
as settlements. In 1992 T. McNeill's Castles rejected a
traditional chronological approach in favour of the social
and cultural dimensions of castle-building. The same year
saw the publication of P. Barker and R. Higham's study
Timber Castles, which was the first major survey of earth
and timber castles and dispelled the idea that such
fortifications were the poor relation of their masonry
The 1990s also saw a progressive stream of
publications all overtly contributing in some way to the
debate kick-started by Bodiam. Indeed, such has been the
pace of change that as early as 1996 warnings were
sounded about a 'bandwagon effect', whereby 'status'
replaced 'war' as a simplistic buzzword for the
development of castles. Considerable analysis and re-
interpretation of key buildings in the 'castle story' took
146 Teaching of History

place at this time. One of the most influential was T.A.

Heslop's study of Oxford castle in Suffolk where the
traditional military rationale of Henry II's keep was
rejected in favour of a more ideological explanation for
the design of the building.
Work by P. Dixon and P. Marshall has drawn
attention to the elements of courtly chorography in the
way guests entered and experienced the interior of castles
and suggested new ideas for the function of keeps. Bodiam
generated a good deal of interest in the landscape context
of castles and the number of 'designed landscapes' of
medieval date identified has risen significantly. One of the
most significant general advances has been the extension
of the 'revisionist' arguments back chronologically from
the later medieval to the Anglo-Norman period.
Arguments made ten years ago about fourteenth-century
castles such as Bodiam are now being applied to castles
such as Dover, built two centuries earlier.
Very recently a series of books have emerged dealing
with the revisionist theme directly. Oliver Creighton has
.prod1J.ced a much welcome full-length study on the theme
of castles and landscapes, Matthew Johnson a volume on
the material role of castles in medieval society and Charles
Coulson a massive historical study on the social character
of fortifications in the Middle Ages. A significant body of
literature now exists that details specifically with the
'revisionist' agenda and it is now possible for students not
only to write about, but also to critique, the newer
questions posed about castles and castle-building.
History Teaching through
Reflective Practice

History teaching is largely concerned with the transmission

of an agreed body of historical knowledge. The student's
role was essentially passive: to assimilate and reproduce
the information delivered by tutors. Whilst this has long
ceased to be the most dominant pattern of teaching and
learning in universities, in recent years the 'transmission
model' has come under particularly sharp attack.
As postmodern critics have underline the contingent
and contested nature of historical knowledge, so too has
research on student learning emphasised the need for
students to interact actively with material and transform
it in order to make it personally meaningful and useful.
This has pointed to the importance of understanding the
ways in which students learn in their subject, of
understanding their perspectives on learning, and of
encouraging them to explore their own conceptions of
teaching and learning so that they can become more-
effective critical thinkers of the sort most valued in a
History education. The result has been a growing trend
towards teaching methods which put the student at the
centre of learning, and in the 1990s this has been a
prominent thread in most major developments in History
148 Teaching of History

teaching, whether in lecture and seminar work, assessment

practices, or work on transferable skills.
Developing students as critical and reflective thinkers
clearly requires us to become more reflective about what
we do as tutors, and this is the subject of this newsletter.
It is intended as an introduction to an increasingly
important area in teaching and learning, and to provide
some guidelines to assist individuals and small groups in
the processes of investigating their own teaching.


Paul Ramsden suggests, 'the aim of teaching is simple: it

is to make student learning possible'. Nonetheless, the
effective teaching of History demands a high level of
knowledge and skills, particularly as students learn in
many different ways and no two teaching situations are
ever identical. Developing these abilities requires clear
awareness of one's actions, what Donald Schon in his
pioneering studies of the education of professionals has
called 'reflection in action' ('thinking what they are doing
when they are doing it'). In the context of 'traditional'
disciplines, he writes:
"A reflective practitioner must be attentive to patterns of
phenomena, skilled at describing what he observes, inclined
to put forward bold and sometimes radically simplified
models of experience, and ingenious in devising tests of
them compatible with the constraints of an action setting."

This involves systematic observation, reflection and

experiment, and the application of theory in the sense in
which Noel Entwistle has neatly defined it: 'the bringing
to bear of critical intelligence upon practical tasks'. Whilst
terms like 'reflection' are open to multiple interpretation
and clearly involve a complex web of skills, at the centre
of reflective practice is the ability to recognise and
understand one's underlying assumptions about the
History Teaching through Reflective Practice 149

meaning of teaching and learning in the subject and one's

habitual responses to teaching situations, and the ability
to interrogate the relationships between these. Failure to
do this can lead to common problems in teaching.
For example, in History teaching it is taken as
axiomatic that a principal goal is to encourage students to
think critically, deeply and independently. However, even
today, seminars are sometimes still (and often unwittingly)
dominated by tutors who, in effect, transmit an 'agreed'
body of facts and interpretations to the students who see
it as their job to absorb as much of this information as
they can.
This may be a misconception on the part of students,
but at least part of the problem may be our own, often
unconsciously-held habits and assumptions about teaching,
which lead students to adopt relatively superficial
approaches to learning. Improving what we do as History
tutors, therefore involves examining what we are actually
doing to encourage student learning in the light of what
we think we are or should be doing, and then changing
or adapting our practices in the light of what we have
learned. Here, an awareness of recent developments in the
field of research on teaching and learning can prove
helpful in focusing attention, generating well-founded
ideas and providing a wider framework for understanding
what is happening in a teaching/learning interaction.
However, most important is returning to one's own
experience: that complex of habits, beliefs and meanings
that informs any single teaching situation and to which
the individual tutor has best access.
Here is the most quoted passage from Schon's work:
"There is a high, hard ground where practitioners can make
effective use of research-based theory and technique, and
there is a swampy lowland where situations are confusing
'messes' incapable of technical solution. The difficulty is
150 Teaching of History

that the problems of the high ground, however great their

technical interest, are often relatively unimportant to clients
or to the large society, while in the swamp are the problems
of greatest human concern. Shall the practitioner stay on
the high, hard ground where he can practice rigorously, as
he understands rigor, but where he is constrained to deal
with problems of relatively little social importance? Or shall
he descend to the swamp where he can engage the most
important and challenging problems if he is willing to
forsake technical rigor?[oo.] There are those who choose the
swampy lowland. They deliberately involve themselves in
messy but crucially important problems and, when asked
to describe their methods of inquiry, they speak of
experience, trial and error, intuition, and muddling


Broadly speaking, this involves the following cycle,

adapted from Kolb's 'Learning Cycle'. The key stages of
the process are observation, reflection, planning, and
action. These stages must be followed in sequence, but
the cycle can be entered at any point for different
purposes. So, to improve our teaching we might start by
examining a particular aspect of our current practice
(maybe something that works very well in our seminars,
or something that is not as effective as we would like),
then thinking through issues and problems (perhaps in
consultation with others) in order to formulate a plan of
Clearly, all stages of this experiential cycle require
close critical attention, and it is all-too-easy to fall back
on well-worn responses (often unconsciously). What then
can hard-pressed tutors in History do to develop reflective
practice? The suggestions which follow have been divided
for convenience into three broad and overlapping areas:
self-evaluation, working with colleagues, and research into
teaching and learning.
Teaching the 20th -Century History

In the 8th grade, students study the Constitution to World

War I, followed in the 11th grade with a continuation,
focusing primarily on 20 th -century United States history,
following a required review of the previous course. One
of the Bradley Commission's recommendations is that 8th _
grade students study United States history through the
Civil War and 11 th -grade students continue the study of
United States history after 1865. The National Commission
on Social Studies in the Schools report, CHARTING A
COURSE, suggests 8 th -grade students study the United
States, with a world view, and in the 11th grade, students
concentrate on world and American history and geography
since 1900.
These suggestions have been and will continue to be
discussed and reviewed. However, the reality of most
United States history classes today is that each begins with
colonialisation and continues, in some cases, all the way
up to the Great Depression. The simple explanation for
not covering the rest of 20th -century United States history
is lack of time. The school year ends before the students
can be exposed to several key events of the 20 th century.
Frequently, 8th _ and 11 th-grade United States history classes
cover almost identical material. It is not surprising that
152 Teachillg of History

students often find the study of history redundant,

irrelevant, and boring.
Yet, another obstacle to adequate teaching of 20th-
century United States history is the textbooks. More than
other subjects, social studies textbooks influence the
content of the course and the motivation of the students.
The strengths and weaknesses of the textbooks tend to be
the strengths and weaknesses of the course, and ultimately
the students' knowledge of the subject. An analysis of five
of the 1991 high school United States history textbooks
and five new 8th-grade United States history texts revealed
weaknesses in coverage of 20th-century U.S. history.
Coverage in the 8th -grade texts varies between 3-4
units, an average of 248 pages out of 771 total pages. All
of the textbooks cover the same information, in more or
less the same glossy, 4-color, yet narratively lacking format.
The five 11th-grade textbooks generally offer the same
information, again in a riot of colors and numerous
accessories, overwhelming the story. The 11th-grade
textbooks present 20th -century U.S. history in an average
of 368 pages out of 1049 total pages. Most of the 11th-
grade texts attempt to include some type of in-depth
coverage of one or two important events or people. These
attempts are laudable and should be strengthened and
Gagnon argues for careful selection of content: "But
because recent history in most textbooks is recounted so
blandly, and in such bewildering detail, a clear focus on
only three or four selected themes is all the more
important." He argues there is simply too much history
to cover every little detail and offers six topics around
which to study 20 th -century U.S. history. One of the
Bradley Commission's recommendations for the middle
and secondary schools, Pattern D, puts a two-year
Teaching the 20th-Celltury History 153

sequence together at the 10th and 11th grades. This allows

the students a better opportunity to retain what they have
learned in the previous year. This also alleviates the need
to take precious time rehashing what students learned
previously, leaving more time to reach and study the 20 th


The consequences for inadequate treatment of 20th-century

United States history are appalling and have been reported
in national assessments. Students said they had studied
the U.S. history of the 20th-century, yet fewer than 40
percent of them knew the invasion of Normandy took
place during World War II. THE U.S. HISTORY REPORT
CARD demonstrated that less than half of the 12 th -grade
students were able to associate Martin Luther King, Jr.
with the Montgomery bus boycott. Students' lack of
interest in the subject matter adds to that deficiency. Badly
written and misguided textbooks exacerbate this situation.
Many of our students do not know what side Germany
fought for in World War II. Half of our high school
graduates have little concept of the issues and events
leading up to the Vietnam War. The Civil Rights
movement is, for many students, little more than what
they might have seen at the movies or on network
television programmes.
Assessments have indicated that today's students are
not familiar with events that have taken place in history
since 1945. Many of our students have no idea of the
substance and significance of the 1954 "Brown v. Topeka
Board of Education" decision, while personally
experiencing busing and enforced desegregation. In THE
U.S. HISTORY REPORT CARD, the NAEP reported that
the students responding to the survey's questions
displayed a particularly weak understanding of the 20th-
154 Teachi/lg of History

century events that helped shape our country, as we know

it today. Less than 30% of the students responded correctly
to questions dealing with the temperance and suffrage
movements, and to questions about World War I. A
significant number of our students are not remembering
the history they have studied; they are not integrating it
into their repertoire of background knowledge. In other
words, history is poorly learned.
The problem of lack of student knowledge ,')f 20th_
century United States history has been reported. Now is
the time to start reversing this appalling trend.


Even with the constraints on the amount of time to teach

20th -century United States history, there are examples of
interesting lessons that involve and excite high school
students. These exemplary lessons show that history is
much more than a survey of names, dates, and other facts
about past events. The lessons also teach how and why
events happened and trace their effects on subsequent
events and developments. Furthermore, exemplary lessons
teach that contemporary events have been shaped by
actions of people in the past and that people today have
the capacity to shape the future.
Obvious aids in the teaching of recent United States
history are the mass media, including newspapers, radio,
and television. But going beyond a merely passive view
of the media is the important lesson for students. It is
essential to teach students how to view and read critically,
and not to accept thoughtlessly whatever is told to them.
Teachers must exploit the television curriculum, or it will
exploit them. The wide variety of education-based cable
channels greatly increases the opportunity to use television
to teach 20th-century United States history. For example,
Teaching the 20th-Century History 155

two recent television programmes suitable for high school

history students were an in-depth biography of Robert
Kennedy and the award-winning Civil Rights movement
documentary, "Eyes on the Prize."
Teaching the use of primary sources is of critical
importance. One type of primary source, newspapers,
offers readily available reports of current events and
provides data for student research projects. Copies of the
front page of THE NEW YORK TIMES the day World War
II ended in Europe and the Pacific are easy to obtain and
can be used to broaden the coverage of events. Having
students write their own newspaper articles (emphasizing,
succinct, direct writing) describing key events, such as the
first moon landing, involves them in actually gathering,
interpreting, and synthesizing data. Videocassettes perhaps
offer the best opportunity to capture students' attention
about the recent past. One excellent example is liThe Road
to Brown," the story of racial segregation and the brilliant
legal assault on it that launched the Civil Rights movement
of the 1950s and 1960s. Video camcorders can be used to
record classroom reenactments of significant public issues
cases, such as the Senate Watergate hearings.
Another 20 th -century event of wide interest and
concern is the Vietnamese conflict. Many lesson plans deal
with teaching about the Vietnam War. In April, 1984,
Jerold M. Starr announced the establishment of the Center
for Social Studies Education, after trying, unsuccessfully,
to find enough supplemental curriculum materials to teach
a course on the Vietnam War. This eventually led to the
Another way to capture students' attention is to teach
history by utilising one of their favourite pastimes--rock
'n roll music. Paul Hoffman describes, in the April 1985
OAH MAGAZINE OF HISTORY, how he uses rock music as
a primary source to teach history. He uses the common
156 Teacllillg of History

themes of 1950s music, e.g., school, cars, first love, and

summertime, to tie together, for students, the post-war
optimism. The 1960s protest songs reveal the historical
significance of the Civil Rights movement and the anti-
war sentiments. The controversy over rock lyrics of the
1980s can be utilised to discuss issues about limits to
freedom of expression. There are multiple resources from
which to draw interesting and educational 20th-century U.S.
history lessons. Emphasis on issues and ideas will help to
enliven the history classroom.
Teaching 20th-century United States history effectively
is a difficult task. Time constraints, flawed textbooks, and
student apathy are a few of the obstacles. However,
teachers can make history come alive by using television
documentaries, news programmes, and oral or written
primary sources. By carefully selecting and synthesizing a
variety of media, sources, and teaching strategies, teachers
can meet the challenge of teaching 20 th-century United
States history to today's secondary school students.


Oral history is a stimulating classroom activity and an

exciting process designed to increase student involvement
in a United States history class and improve student
understanding of the historical topic. Further, oral history
involves students directly in a method of historical inquiry,
which includes the organisation and presentation of data
acquired directly from another person.

Conduct an Oral History Project

An oral history project, regardless of the historical topic
being investigated or its duration, helps students
understand all phases of designing, implementing, and
completing an activity. Students of all learning and
comprehension levels can use the oral history process to
Teaching the 20th-Century History 157

increase their active involvement in the study of United

States history.
An oral history project is an attempt to preserve a
small segment of a relatively recent historical period as
viewed through the eyes, experiences, and memories of
people who lived during that time. Capturing their
experiences and memories on either video or audio tape
is invaluable. Over a period of time, memories can fade
and those feelings or emotions associated with the events
can easily be lost or altered by time.
An oral history project involving local participants is
an exciting method of providing students the opportunity
to "experience" history firsthand, which makes the
learning of United States history a more valuable
experience and places local history within the overall
context of United States history. Participants are eager to
share their experiences with students. Students are
enthralled to hear the stories of the participants and
usually cannot wait to share them with the rest of the class.
Oral history projects add to the collective knowledge
of local and national history, because such projects
document citizens' participation and memories concerning
a specific event or time period. Students begin to
understand that United States history is not simply a series
of isolated events from the pages of a textbook, but rather
it is composed of life experiences and memories of many
Americans just like themselves. Students learn that history
is in essence the collective memories of actual events that
have directly affected the lives of their friends,
acquaintances, and relatives.

Instructional Goals
An oral history project has a multitude of instructional
goals for the students. Students will increase their
158 Teac1lillg of History

understanding of a specific historical event. First-person

information about any historical event makes it much more
relevant to their lives. Students will create and administer
various interview instruments. They must pilot the
interview instrument to better understand that various
questions may elicit unanticipated, unexpected, and
unintended answers.
The selection of the participants will result in
comprehension of the dynamics of time, continuity, and
change among age groups. Students will improve their
questioning skills as they ask the various questions and
follow-up questions of the "what" variety, and the probing
questions of "how" and "why." Students will improve
their writing skills as they become cognisant of how
people use their language skills. Students will enhance
their listening skills by accurately listening to what was
said, and by listening for how and why the person being
interviewed chose to describe an event as he/she did.
Students will gain organisational skills pertaining to their
use of time, energy, and information. Finally, the students'
proofreading skills will be enhanced as they read and re-
read their final product to insure accuracy.
Various topics involving events that are national,
state, or local in scope and importance can be used for an
oral history project. Students need to be aware of the
dynamics of age and time as they select a historical period.
If students select a topic involving the Depression or
World War II, they must remember that the participants
to be interviewed typically are 65 years of age or older.
However, a topic such as the assassination of JFK or the
Vietnam War could involve participants as young as 40.
The potential pool of participants can be affected by the
topic chosen. The level of recollective ability and historical
accuracy also can dramatically be affected by the age of
the participants being interviewed. Hence, the selection of
Teaching the 20th-Century History 159

participants is a critical component for an effective oral

history project. Students will soon discover that some
participants are simply better interviewees than others.
Students will usually approach relatives or friends as their
first potential interviewees and then expand their pool of
people to be interviewed.
An oral history project can be as simple as a student
interviewing one person, writing the responses of the
participant, and reporting those survey responses to the
class. Another project could involve audio- or video-taping
of the participant and the student composing a written
account of the dialogue. But a more sophisticated and
encompassing oral history project could involve the entire
class during a semester or school year. The class would
conduct taped interviews throughout the school year, type
the dialogue of the interviews, and print the results in a
book format. The culmination of the year's project would
be to publish the interviews and make the books available
tu interviewees, students, libraries, and interested
individuals in the community.

Conducting an Oral History Project

The oral history project is a process-oriented activity. The
students are responsible for the entire project. It is
imperative that students have adequate background
knowledge of the historical topic and time period before
interviewing the participants. Good content knowledge
will enhance their understanding of the historical topic or
era and vastly improve their questioning skills; thereby,
they will have a better understanding of the person being
Students must design the interview instrument
focusing upon questions that will elicit much more
information than merely "yes" or "no" answers. Practice
interviews must be conducted to test the interview
160 Teachillg of History

instrument, which allows students to practice their

interview skills and insures the validity of the questions
and answers. Students will learn that some questions
simply do not ask what was intended.
Students select their own participants to be
interviewed and set up an interview time, which helps to
enhance their organisational skills. Interviews can be
conducted during school time or on the student's time,
whatever is convenient for both the student and the
participant. It is imperative that the student obtain from
the interviewee a signed release form giving the class and
the school the right to publish the oral interview. This is
important because of the legalities involved in publishing
an interview.
All interviews are done with audio or video tape, and
typewritten transcripts are made by the students from the
recordings. This element of the process takes a
considerable amount of time. Students proofread their own
material, as well as other students' material, to insure
spelling accuracy, historical accuracy, and common
An oral history project, regardless of the topic, grade,
or academic level of the students, or sophistication of the
final product, is an extremely rewarding experience for
the students, participants, and classroom teacher. Because
a variety of teaching methodologies and strategies is a vital
component of any successful United States history class,
an oral history project can be a significant instrument for
success. A project of this extent enhances students'
understanding of any historical era and improves the
quality of teacher instruction. Students will realise through
an oral history project that historical events affect the lives
of people they know and love. Years after the students
have left the classroom, they are more likely to remember
the oral history project than other aspects of their United
States historY c1ass .
Teaching Conflict Resolution

Transitional justice processes, such as the establishment

of truth commissions and legal tribunals, may be
implemented to help a country try to construct new
historical narratives. Those who establish these processes,
however, generally pay little or no attention to whether
or how history is being taught in schools. Nor do they
plan to allot sufficient resources to implementing curricular
and pedagogical reforms when these new historical
narratives are formulated and need to be publicized.
Re-establishment of security, constitutional reform,
elections, and transformation of judicial and political
institutions tend to take precedence. Transitional justice
processes, such as the establishment of truth commissions
and legal tribunals, may be implemented-often to help a
country construct new historical narratives. But usually
they show little or no regard to whether or how history is
actually taught in schools or to devoting significant
resources to implement curricular and pedagogical
The United States Institute of Peace is an
independent, nonpartisan federal institution created by
Congress to promote the prevention, management, and
162 Teachillg of History

peaceful resolution of international conflicts. To explore

these issues, the Institute's conference focused on the
following questions:
History, identity, and education: What is the relationship
between education, historical memories of violence,
and the formation of cultural and national identity?
What can and should history education try to achieve
in deeply damaged societies to foster moral and civic
development in young people and transformation of
attitudes toward former enemies? Can the teaching of
history help transitional societies become more
democratic? In societies in which some groups were
targeted for marginalisation and disenfranchisement,
can it contribute to development of empathy for, or
even social cohesion among, former enemies? Can
history teaching reinforce other transitional justice
processes, such as truth telling and legal accountability
for crimes committed? Can it promote belief in the
rule of law, resistance to a culture of impunity, and
greater trust in public institutions, including schools
Post-Conflict Reconstruction and HistonJ education: Where
does the reform of history and civics curricula intersect
with the work of those planning reconstruction and
reform of the larger educational system, including
nationwide exams or financing of public education?
How has integrating segregated schools or classrooms
been handled, and to what effect? How should
'officials make decisions about whose languages are
used in school systems? What relationship, i.f any,
exists between educational reform and other
transitional justice mechanisms, such as truth
commissions, tribunals, lustration, and
commemoration? What is the optimal timing and
Teaching Conflict Resolution 163

sequencing of different transitional justice processes

and educational reform?
The Content of Post-Conflict History education: What
problems arise in developing and adopting new
history curricula? Among those who experienced the
violence directly (generally during the first two
decades after major violence ends), who decides what
version(s) of history will be taught? What impact do
those choices have on promoting stable, cohesive, and
tolerant societies? What is the relationship between
the (re)writing of history by academic historians and
the development of secondary-school history
textbooks? What impact do transitional justice
processes have on the development of new secondary-
school history textbooks and the way history is
actually taught in schools?
Pedagogic Challenges: What challenges do teachers face
in the classroom when addressing controversial
historical subjects, and what are some of the different
approaches they use? How can teachers be trained or
prepared to address these subjects, and how can they
be supported and protected in environments where
disagreements over history might give rise to violence?
Given limited resources, should teacher training take
priority over curricular reform?
Evaluation: What is the best way to evaluate the impact
of curricular reform and history teaching on individual
students and the broader society? Which forces other
than formal education-such as the media, religious
institutions, popular culture, and stories conveyed
through families and local communities-influence how
schoolchildren think about themselves and their
country's history? How do we account for context-the
immense differences between types of conflicts, the
164 Teachillg of History

cultural settings in which they took place, and the

methods by which conflict was reduced-while
recognising the practical and ethical need to assess
what methods work and how best to use scarce
resources? What do we currently know about what
"works" in history education and what approaches
might even be harmful?
In addition to the above themes, we posed the following
crosscutting questions: What are the appropriate roles of
"insiders" (locals) and "outsiders" (people from outside
the country)? What are the specific ethical and practical
pitfalls facing outsiders? How do insiders and outsiders
negotiate the process of establishing and sustaining
relationships? How can outsiders help introduce changes
that insiders otherwise find difficult or impossible to make
on their own? What are the limits to and constraints on
the involvement of outsiders?
On the following points there was general agreement:
Schools as Social transmitters: Schools are among the
primary social institutions that transmit national
narratives about the past; they also constitute the site
of many past and present inequities. Educational
systems have both overt and hidden agendas by
which groups (such as the Tutsi in pre-genocide
Rwanda) can be marginalised or included. Schools can
both reflect and reinforce social divisions. In
exclusionary education systems, for example, history
education develops and protects narrowly defined
ethnic, religious, and cultural identities that can be
used to legitimate violence against marginalised
groups. After violent conflict ends, educational
systems, which generally are very slow to change,
often reflect or preserve the memory of older unjust
systems, such as Apartheid.
Teachillg COllflict Resolutioll 165

Promoting active Citizenship: Teachers and students in

societies emerging from violent conflict often display
fear, passivity, fatalism, and pessimism. Teaching
history can help students become engaged, responsible
citizens, even in societies where ethnic divisions,
poverty, mistrust, and low-level violence remain
endemic. History should be taught in a way that
inspires young people to believe in their own ability
to effect positive changes in society and contribute to
a more peaceful and just future.
Making History Real: Through history education,
students can see how they, their families, their ethnic
groups, and their communities fit into depictions of
their country's history. Teaching should encourage
students to explore the variegated experiences of
different groups affected by the violence. In this
conception, students focus on the everyday experience
of historical actors and the choices individuals can and
must make to affect historical outcomes.
Promoting Positive Values: History education should
avoid marginalising and demonising particular
groups. Learning from the experience of post-
Apartheid South Africa and other countries, history
education should have two aims: to support
democracy and mutual respect for the "other" and to
include the histories of the formerly marginalised.


Despite consensus on the above issues, conference

participants disagreed about the following pOints:
The Nature of truth: The relationship between
transitional justice, educational reform, and teaching
history was the focus of considerable discussion and
critical analysis., Of particular interest was the question of
166 Teachillg of History

how reports produced by truth and reconciliation

commissions could be used in teaching history.
Participants differed philosophically, however, about how
one defines the truth and whether it is appropriate or
feasible to construct a single, "true" historical narrative.
Some participants noted that the records of trials and truth
commissions can establish certain facts that'the public then
accepts as reasonable truth.
In conflicts in which many parties committed acts of
violence, commissions can prove not only that many have
blood on their hands, but also that some bear relatively
greater responsibility for causing death and destruction.
They also can demonstrate how certain institutions were
deeply implicated in promoting injustice, so that the
violence cannot be explained away as the work of a few
"bad apples." The most successful truth commissions and
history education programmes underscore the complexity
of truth telling.
Tempering truth: Participants debated whether certain
truths must be tempered in the interest of promoting
reconciliation and inclusion. Even when one party to the
conflict clearly is more responsible for promoting or
creating the structural conditions that led to violence,
history education can make a positive contribution by
acknowledging that all the parties participated in the
violence and pointing out the relative roles of the different
Doing this could lay the groundwork for a common
identity, desire for repentance, and vigilance against future
violence. This is the approach taken by the South African
Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Its champions
believe that a narrative that strays too far in the direction
of "angels and maggots," to use the phrase of Polish
political activist Adam Michnik, is not most useful for a
Teaching Conflict Resolutioll 167

post-violence society. Although the narrative should not

be distorted, it can and should be molded to suit the needs
of a society engaged in creating or recreating the most
basic levels of social trust.
Avoiding Moral Relativity: A major controversy at the
conference concerned how to encourage students to
explore differing narratives without straying into moral
relativity ("There are no fixed standards of morality, so
an act one individual or group considers evil may not be
evil to another-it all depends on one's point of view") or
nihilism ("No moral values exist at all"). It is clear that
history education at the secondary-school level should be
informed by historical scholarship that widely respected
researchers on both sides of a conflict have produced-if it
Nation Building: Another controversy developed about
what history education can and should try to achieve. Is
it a tool in nation building or state building? To what
degree should it serve the "national" project? Ambassador
Robert Beecroft, the foi-mer head of the Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe's office in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, suggested that history in divided societies
must be a tool for state building, for creating a common
civic consciousness. But for history professor Amal
Jayawardene of Sri Lanka, developing new, progressive
approaches to teaching history in ethnically separate
schools might help separate nations within a state grow
and flourish. That is, they might permit the development
of particular ethnic identities within a society at the same
time as they promote a common national identity.
Healing: Should history education have therapeutic
aims in a society that has experienced widespread
suffering? Can it contribute to the creation of empathy and
the lessening of hatred and the desire for revenge? Are
168 Teachillg of History

history classes the place to promote moral values or critical

thinking? No one in the assembled international group of
experts questioned the relationship of history education
to citizenship formation or championed a rote-learning
approach to history; but some supported history education
as a means of teaching moral values more strongly than
Reconciliation: Although those working in the field of
history education agree that it should contribute somehow
to the development of more thoughtful and optimistic
citizens in a better society, how precisely to envision the
goals of history education in post-conflict societies remains
elusive. Reconciliation as a goal is problematic because of
the vague nature of the term and the perceived tension
between reconciliation and the achievement of justice
through legal and other forms of accountability.
Conference participants used other, related concepts-such
as "social reconstruction," social cohesion," and deeper

democracy" -without reaching full agreement.

Timing Issues
As Argentine sociologist Elizabeth Jelin pointed out, the
idea that rancor between enemies fades as time passes is
not necessarily true: Time does not heal all wounds, and
returning to the contentious past occurs for many reasons
and at different stages in the lives of different societies.
New political developments and conflicts continuously
change the meaning of earlier events. If society does not
address the origins of the conflict effectively, they tend to
be the bases of future instability and conflict.
Sometimes one sector-religious institutions or
nongovernmental groups, for example-can deal more
openly with the past conflict, while others cannot. Popular
culture-film, theater, music, and literature-often leads the
way in helping a society face uncomfortable truths. But
Teaching COllflict Resolutioll 169

educational systems often are among the slowest public

institutions to make significant changes. It is crucial for
those working in history education reform to take into
account the problem of time, because understanding when
certain interventions can and should occur is an important
part of their success or failure.
Time also must pass before developments in other
sectors filter down to classrooms. An example is the work
of historical and history textbook commissions: Findings
from the Polish-German Textbooks Commission,
considered one of the best in Europe in terms of its
academic quality and apolitical character, took ten years
to reach Polish and German history programmes and
textbooks. A similar time lag usually exists between the
work of academic historians and the development of
secondary-school history texts based on their scholarship.
Generational change is an important element of
timing. The example of post-Franco Spain makes it obvious
that the history of a conflict can be taught one way when
the conflict is only recently "over" and another way when
half-a-century has passed. Even five or ten years can make
a difference. In the first five years after the conflict, the
students, together with their teachers and parents,
probably have direct experience of violence. Ten years
after, students entering high school may have vague
memories of the conflict in which their teachers and
parents were involved; fifteen years after, students may
find the conflict practically irrelevant to their own lives.
This reality shapes history education programmes and the
extent to which they can tackle contentious events.
Another temporal problem is the perception that a
conflict "ends" when certain events take place: A regime
changes, a peace accord is signed, a victory by one side is
acknowledged. But the reality is that conflict almost always
170 Teachillg of History

continues at some level, and violence takes new forms. In

South Africa, for example, criminal, gang, and sexual
violence continues to be a major problem. Economic
inequity, which may be the root of much violence, rarely
changes dramatically when high-level violence ends and
can threaten to undermine unstable "peace."
The search for new approaches to history education
often takes place in situations where past violence that
constitutes the object of historical study continues in
different forms in the present. Ongoing economic injustice,
ethnic segregation, and unequal access to public resources
(such as funding for education that privileges one ethnic
group over another) may continue to define and
undermine the entire educational sector.

Structural Issues
Determining which languages shall be used to instruct
schoolchildren is one of many issues for post-conflict
school systems and is particularly problematic in divided,
multiethnic, and multilingual societies. Although it is
important for children of a multilingual country to learn
the language (and, by extension, culture) of other main
groups of citizens in addition to their own mother tongue,
having too many official languages in the schools can
promote semiliteracy, poor performance, high repetition,
and high dropout rates. At the same time, the rising
importance of English as a useful language in the global
marketplace is increasingly influencing language policies.
Ethnic segregation or integration of schools also is an
important structural aspect of education. When different
ethnic groups are educated separately within the national
education system, and especially when one ethnic (or
gender) group receives more educational resources than
another, such arrangements can convey important overt
or hidden messages to students. Some educational systems
Teaching Conflict Resolutioll 171

permit the use of different history texts in ethnically

segregated classrooms. In this case, history instruction in
Macedonia is the same for Albanians and Slavs-but only
in the sense that each group separately learns a remarkably
similar history of victimisation by the other, and each
claims the same distinctions, such as a longer presence in
the region.
State and national examination systems, on which
grade advancement, school graduation, or university
admission depends, pose another, nearly universal
challenge for history education reform. In East Asia, school
systems stress rote learning and memorisation to improve
students' chances on exams that reward this type of
pedagogy. Such exam systems generally do not encourage
innovation in history education.
In many regions, including Europe and, increasingly,
the United States, the pressure on teachers to "teach to
the exam" makes it difficult for them to use elective and
supplementary materials beyond the state-approved
textbooks. While the latter may have education ministry
approval and are less likely to be innovative, supplemental
texts can avoid politically charged approval processes more
easily and address controversial historical subjects in new
Another challenge is the decreasing priority given to
the teaching of history and the humani.ties by post-conflict
societies intent on preparing their students to compete in
the global marketplace. In much of Africa and in post-
Shining Path Peru, for example, history, social studies, and
the humanities are relatively low priorities in education,
with more emphasis on subjects seen to have practical
value, such as foreign languages, math, science,
technology, and vocational training. Thus the potential for
schools to promote social reconstruction through history
172 Teachillg of History

education in post-conflict societies is not being fully

A further structural issue is the importance of primary
schools in developing countries. Most children in Africa,
for example, do not continue their education beyond
primary school, so educators considering introducing
crucial material for a post-conflict society must think of
how to present it on that level, not only in middle and
high school. In addition, in many post-conflict settings,
girls' education is consistently undervalued, especially
where demobilised boys and young men are a priority.
The absence of girls from school or their high dropout
rates cannot help affecting the success rate of post-conflict
educational programmes designed to promote social
reconstruction and peacebuilding.
In the most devastated societies emerging from
violent conflict-including a number of African countries-
war has virtually destroyed entire national school systems.
In Rwanda, for example, 75 percent of schoolteachers were
killed or imprisoned in connection with the genocide.
Students may want to return to schools that no longer
exist, or to classrooms where all the books have been
destroyed. In some places-such as Mozambique, Angola,
Somalia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic
Republic of Congo-and especially where school systems
were weak even before the war started, school reform
initially must take a backseat to basic school reconstruction.
Despite rhetoric about the urgent need for educational
reform at different levels, little or none takes place because
of a paucity of financial and professioBal resources and
competence in curriculum development.
Regardless of the setting, political resistance to
change, scarce resources, and short attention spans impede
structural educational reforms. The fact that educational
Teaching Conflict Resolutioll 173

reform, done properly, is a long-term and costly

proposition deters not only local actors but also outside
donors interested in promoting post-conflict reconstruction.
If the political establishment does not support reform
goals, or if they \jew them in politically charged terms,
the reforms are likely to fail.

Role of Outsiders
In post-conflict countries receIvmg substantial foreign
attention, post-conflict reconstruction increasingly tends to
be transnational, although "insiders," or locals, are the ones
who will have to live with, and take responsibility for,
the long-term results of reconstruction and reform work.
Outsiders who work on history-education reform tend to
be from nongovernmental organisations rather than
transnational organisations or foreign governments; some
academics from foreign universities also are becoming
involved. Often, however, powerful outside actors,
particularly funders, view education as a domestic issue
that "insiders" are best qualified to tackle. They consider
other transitional justice processes, such as trials and
elections, worthier of their time and support, as well as
more appropriate for outsider involvement.
Predictably, outsiders' contributions to educational
reform efforts are both positive and negative. On the
positive side, outsiders can get insiders engaged in reform
processes that are too contentious for locals to handle on
their own, bringing together groups otherwise disinclined
to work together. For example, in Rwanda, where the
teaching of national history was still suspended a decade
after the genocide ended, outsiders played a catalytic role
in encouraging the education ministry to begin reforming
the history curriculum.
In that case, the Human Rights Center of the
University of California, Berkeley, worked to connect and
174 Teaching of History

convene stakeholders of different age groups and levels

within and outside the official education hierarchy,
including NGO representatives, government officials,
representatives of different ethnic and linguistic groups,
returned exiles, and internally displfced persons. The
Berkeley group then worked closePy with Rwandan
historians, curriculum designers, teacher trainers, and
officials from the education ministry to plan curricular
materials outlining local understandings of history,
teaching guides, and teacher workshops that focused on
handling difficult discussions in the classroom. In a USIP
grant report, UC Berkeley Professor Harvey Weinstein
reported, "The Director of the National Curriculum
Development Center thanked us for ending a ten-year
drought in the teaching of history in Rwanda and giving
the Ministry of Education the courage to confront difficult
issues." An American NCO called Facing History and
Ourselves subsequently organised training workshops for
Rwandan master teachers on how to use the new
curricular materials.
Outsiders can ask questions that seem naIve or
obvious to insiders but provide insiders with opportunities
to reassess or challenge received wisdom. They also can
help convene groups that have rarely or never worked
together before. In the Rwanda project cited above,
outsiders helped high-school teachers work with and
challenge socially elite, university-level, academic
historians and education officials in ways that would have
been difficult without such encouragement.
Even in the most supportive environments, local
resources may be too scarce to realise well-intentioned
reform efforts. In post-Apartheid South Africa, for
example, Facing History and Ourselves assisted a local
education project called Shikaya in bringing together for
the first time teachers assigned to teach new, multicultural
Teachillg COllflict Resolutioll 175

civics curricula. Most of these teachers had never interacted

on a professional basis with colleagues from different races
or socioeconomic classes. Resources brought into the
educational system by outsiders were necessary to make
such meetings possible.
Outside groups also can offer resources for reform
projects that local governments will not fund because they
are controversial or politically risky. For example, the
Georg Eckert Institute in Germany provided meeting
places in Germany and Turkey for an Israeli-Palestinian
group that worked unofficially to create new history
materials that outlined contending Israeli and Palestinian
historical narratives.
On the negative side, outsiders can inadvertently
complicate educational reforms. An example of the "law
of unintended consequences" resulted - from the
Washington and Dayton agreements, which gave impetus
to replacement of Bosnia's prewar, unitary education
system. In its place, a complex, segregated system
developed consisting of 13 separate education ministries
with no overriding state coordination. The agreements'
negotiators did not intend to create a polarising
educational system, but constructing a Bosnian
government through negotiation with warring parties
made the education system truly unworkable.
When the international community tried to rectify the
situation eight years later, its top-down approach in Bosnia
further complicated the situation. The results were
decidedly mixed because those who opposed reunifying
the education system successfully galvanised opposition
among parents and teachers against further education-
system restructuring.
In other places, outsiders have played complicated or
even compromising roles. In the words of George
176 Teacllillg of History

Washington University historian Daqing Yang, Americans

in post-World War II Japan were "implicated outsiders,"
whose efforts to promote new approaches to history
education were undermined by the fact that they were part
of the victorious, invading, or "liberating" army, and their
neutrality was questionable. In such cases, as in Japan, the
likelihood of a backlash years later is high.
Even "non-implicated" outsiders often overlook local
teaching methodologies and knowledge. For example,
outside interventions promoting peace education in Africa
often are not based on local experience or cultural
traditions, and they make little lasting impact. Outsiders
who "parachute in" and "parachute out" for short-term
educational reform projects may leave behind texts and
equipment that are not adapted to local circumstances and
that no one knows how to use. Even more serious are
cases in traditional societies where outsiders teach
methodologies, such as talk therapy for severely
traumatised victims of violence, that may be culturally
inappropriate or ineffective.

Curriculum Content
The revision of history textbook content is inextricably
linked to larger political debates about which narratives
of history are true. Secondary-school history textbooks
rarely, if ever, playa pioneering role in tackling highly
sensitive issues or changing historical narratives that are
not widely accepted in society. A key problem for
educators is achieving agreement on historical narratives.
Social consensus must be reached to ensure approval and
adoption of history textbooks that break with old myths
glorifying one group and demonising others. How much
consensus is necessary to change problematic history
textbooks that feed the cycle of violence, and how can
consensus ever be achieved?
Teaching Conflict Resolution 177

Especially in contexts where the conflict has not yet

been "resolved," some history educators believe that
searching for consensus on historical truth will bring only
disappointment. Educators at least can begin by aiming
to persuade each group in a conflict to look-in the words
of Tel Aviv University historian Eyal Nayeh-at its own
historical myths with irony. This goal precedes any attempt
to help contending groups understand and accept the
narratives of groups defined as current or former enemies.
The challenges of reaching consensus about past
violence are immense. First, political leaders, and many
citizens as well, have a vested interest in retaining simple
narratives that flatter their own group and promote group
unity by emphasizing sharp divergences between
themselves and other groups. They are highly resistant to
histories that include the presentation of the other side's
point of view.
In addition, much of history depends on the
viewpoint of those writing it. Although post-conflict
societies could benefit from accounts of history that play
down the differences between former enemies, some truths
do exist: the so-called forensic truths, the "who did what
to whom" facts that human rights investigators seek to
illuminate. Denying them results in dangerous moral
relativism-for example, equating mass killings by a state's
military and police forces with fewer killings by guerrillas
or resistance groups, as in South Africa or Guatemala. The
challenge in these situations is to teach history that
acknowledges these facts while finding enough common
ground for former enemies to work toward a shared
Projects attempting to explore middle paths between
extreme positions provide a basis for hope. For example,
the previously mentioned, small-scale, unofficial project of
178 Teachillg of History

which Tel Aviv University historian Eyal Naveh is the

Israeli director has brought together two teams of
Palestinian and Israeli teachers, each headed by a historian,
to write essays on common themes. They then exchange
and discuss the essays. The only rule the group made was
that no incitement to violence could appear in the essays.
With the aim to help everyone understand that each side
has its own narrative, the project has produced
supplemental materials tested not in classrooms but in
informClI discussion sessions with students. The project is
proceeding with teacher training funded by external
In the "Scholars Initiative," Purdue University
historian Charles Ingrao is working with an international
consortium of some 280 academic historians and social
scientists from 26 countries in the Balkans, Western
Europe, and the United States to examine contentious
historical narratives relating to the Yugoslav conflicts of
the 1990s. Historians from contending groups work
together on eleven research teams devoted to particular
controversies. Each is cochaired by a Serb and a non-Serb
scholar whose responsibility is to produce a report
identifying areas of consensus, as well as unresolved issues
that require additional research. The reports are then
posted on a Web site for comments by the project's other
scholars. Ingrao bases his approach on the belief that
academic narratives must be consistent with the historical
record before secondary-school history can follow suit-and
this can be achieved through serious scholarship.
Scholars are also at the heart of East Asian projects
in existence since 1965. One group, composed of Japanese,
Chinese, and U.S.-based scholars, is publishing in the three
countries collections of scholarly articles on Sino-Japanese
relations that resulted from their joint meetings. In
addition, in 2005 a group of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean
Teaching Conflict Resolutioll 179

historians, working outside the media spotlight that

focused on Japanese textbook revisions and demonstrations
against them in China and Korea, produced a
supplementary high-school history reader in Korean,
Chinese, and Japanese.
Some education reformers have sought to produce
new curricula based on representative personal stories
rather than more traditional, academic historiography.
Drawing on victims' stories from the Guatemalan
Historical Clarification Commission (CEH), one project
created booklets designed to be inserted in regular
textbooks and used as supplemental material. Despite a
controversial framework that obscures the roots of the
conflict and focuses on the absence of violence, rather than
the struggle for justice, as a goal, the materials, largely
funded by international donors, provide compelling
narratives for students about Guatemala's civil war.
In South Africa, the "Facing the Past, Transforming
Our Future" curriculum, based on Facing History and
Ourselves' methodology, uses two case studies to promote
student involvement and personal agency. The case
studies-on Nazism and the Holocaust and on Apartheid-
were selected mainly because they provide a framework
for students to understand the importance of making
individual choices and taking risks to resist persecution
and tyranny.

Reforming Pedagogy
One of the most important insights from the conference is
that reforming pedagogy-the way history is taught-should
take priority in many contexts over curriculum rev~ion,
especially when resources are scarce. Pedagogy that
emphasizes rote learning, uncritical thinking, and the
authority of a narrowly- defined, "true" narrative is
unlikely to permit new understandings of former enemies
180 Teachillg of History

and promote social reconstruction. Yet few postconflict

societies are ready to accept an approach that promotes
critical thinking, since it is often perceived as flying in
the face of traditions that respect expertise, seniority, and
authority and promote group honour as more important
than any forensic truth.
A number of conference participants stressed the
importance of focusing on pedagogy. Some noted that the
most devastated educational systems may lack even basic
textbooks, and sufficient time and money are often
unavailable to produce them quickly. In such situations,
the immediate focus should be on helping teachers gain
the necessary skills and confidence to help their students
address the past through open inquiry and critical
thinking, even without new textbooks.
Given the time it takes to develop new textbooks,
even when more resources are available to do so, teachers
can use old texts to produce "teachable moments" by
helping students understand how the texts promoted
narrow historical interpretations that directly or indirectly
incited violent conflict.
Conference participants also pointed out that in many
societies disrupted by violent conflict, teacher training has
often suffered; some teachers may have received little, no,
or inappropriate instruction on how to teach before they
entered the profession. In Rwanda, for example, teachers
were trained in a rigid, passive pedagogy that still
encourages them to resort to corporal punishment.
Conference participants reported that secondaryschool
histQry teachers in Lebanon and South Africa often are
not well-trained compared to teachers of other subjects,
even though training in academic history at the university
level meets much higher standards. In such situations,
even the best curricular materials may be wasted in the
Teaching Conflict Resolutio1l 181

hands of teachers unprepared to use them well in the

As a strategy, pedagogical reform is attractive because
it may be less controversial or threatening than attempts
immediately after conflict to change historical narratives
through curriculum reform. But pedagogy reform is most
effective when combined with curriculum reform. Violeta
Petroska-Beska, a Macedonian educator at Sts. Cyril and
Methodius University, developed one such experimental
programme. She is working with teachers from the
Albanian and Slav communities to design history
curricular materials that present each group's historical
perspectives, with similarities and differences offered for
analysis and discussion. Petroska-Beska also is innovating
by mixing the two ethnic groups in professional teacher-
training workshops. Her goal is to open teachers' minds
to accepting the presentation of different historical
perspectives in the classroom, even when the teachers do
not agree with the contending historical narratives.
Teachers participating in the conference noted that
history teachers generally are under enormous pressure
in post-conflict societies to play too many roles-from
psychologist and guidance counselor to conflict resolution
expert and mediator. Education reformers, particularly
those from outside, also typically expect teachers to be
agents of fundamental social change. Yet evidence from
Northern Ireland shows that teachers are not comfortable
being leading agents of social change, and they doubt that
anything they teach can counter what the history students
learn at home. In the most extreme cases, in highly charged
political contexts where adopting new teaching approaches
or texts may lead to threats to teachers' physical safety,
they will be especially likely to shy away from innovation.
Teachers need strong support from parents, school
administrators, and other authorities to teach new curricula
182 Teaching of History

and use new pedagogies. Such support must be ongoing,

as teachers suffer from burnout, especially in high-stress
situations. Shikaya, the nonprofit South African
educational group that works on integrating the "Facing
the Past, Transforming Our Future" curriculum, is
pioneering ways to fill South Africa's gap in teacher
training, particularly through in-service training and
continuous support that includes online and personal
contact to develop teaching skills, resources, and personal
In supportive environments, teachers may use very
different methods to achieve the common goal of
encouraging their students to think critically. In teaching
about her country's ongoing civil war, Colombian history
teacher Carolina Valencia Varga uses news clippings and
mission statements of the various parties to the conflict to
pose three sets of core .questions to students: (1) "Who
are the 'bad guys?' " (2) "Were they born paramilitaries
(or guerrillas, narcotraffickers, etc.)? Why would someone
join such a group? Did they have a choice, and what
would you have done in their place?" and (3) "Is there
anything I can do about it?"
The discussion of teaching methods revealed an
important disagreement among teachers about using
graphic or heart-wrenching photographs, documentary
films, and firsthand accounts in classrooms, particularly
with younger students. The group Facing History and
Ourselves has pioneered careful use of such materials in
classrooms, but some participants feared they might
backfire, especially with young children and boys, and
would not produce empathy. Moreover, the reception of
such materials may be culturally conditioned. Overall, we
do not know enough yet about commemoration among
children and adolescents, nor how best to achieve a
Teaching Conflict Resolutioll 183

balance of "head and heart," based on intellectual and

affective cognition, among students.


The connections between transitional justice and

educational reform, especially of history education, have
been underexplored and underutilised. Conference
participants agreed that education should be considered
as a major tool of transitional justice, because without
meaningful educational reform, the work of other
transitional justice mechanisms is likely to be "top-down"
and have limited impact.
Traditional transitional-justice interventions-such as
truth commissions, tribunals, and memorials-potentially
offer a great deal to history educators. Because they are
officially sanctioned, trials and truth commissions can
provide materials that even skittish governments cannot
forbid in the classroom; examples include the report by
the Guatemalan Historical Clarification Commission and
accounts of trials of Argentine generals that history
teachers in those countries have used. War crimes trials
have inherently dramatic qualities that hold students'
attention and can form the basis of powerful curricular
materials. The strongest didactic material may lie in truth
commission testimonies, as they present the voices of
ordinary people with compelling stories to tell. It is crucial,
however, that such materials represent a range of voices
and experiences. In addition, memorials and museums are
powerful sites for teaching history, both in and out of the
The potential has not been fully realised in the
classroom of using materials derived from transitional
justice interventions. Part of the problem is that few
commissions-except for the Guatemalan and Peruvian
184 Teaching of History

truth commissions-have made a conscious effort to

produce educational materials.

Some Educational Approaches

Immediately after conflict, some societies develop new
courses-on civics, peace education, human rights, conflict
resolution, democracy, and tolerance, rather than history-
and may seek to help students develop new skills as active
Civics education often is linked closely to history
teaching. For example, in post-Soviet Kazakhstan, history
teachers also teach civics; and, as education scholar
Carolyn Kissane found, history teachers have tried to
integrate new ideas and pedagogy in their history teaching
from civics workshops run by international NGOs.
Although it usually does not focus on the past, peace
education may model new pedagogical approaches useful
for history teaching, but in a much less controversial
For example, in Lebanon, teaching about the civil war
remains stalled because of lack of political will and
consensus about the war's causes, as well as inadequate
teacher training and curricular materials. Although
pedagogy in Lebanon remains very traditional,
development of a peace education manual under the
leadership of Lebanese American University Professor
Irma Ghosn allowed local educators to experiment with
the new pedagogical approaches it gently introduced.
Human rights education presents special challenges.
Few would dispute the value of promoting knowledge of
and respect for human rights in the abstract, but doing so
has raised interesting problems in Guatemala and
Argentina. In those countries, by avoiding discussion of
marginalised groups' political resistance and continuing
Teaching Conflict Resolution 185

economic exclusion, human rights educational materials

have presented a narrative of "innocent" victims who
passively endured violence instead of actively trying to
end their marginalisation. Efforts to introduce human
rights education have been more successful in South
Africa, where human rights is welcomed as a crucial part
of citizen formation and is a crosscutting theme in many

Impact of History Teaching

Evaluating the impact of history teaching on individual
students and the larger society is extremely difficult. The
problem begins with a lack of clarity about what should
be evaluated. Students can be tested to see what they know
about a conflict and those defined as former enemies.
Evaluating their attitudes about tolerance and
reconciliation is more difficult; even harder is assessing
what impact a particular .educational course or programme
(as opposed to other social influences) has had on forming
or changing those attitudes at the individual and social
Efforts to evaluate the effects of education
programmes often fail because of lack of larger vision of
what a society wants to become and how to get there. Is
the purpose of education reform to produce social
cohesion, legitimise differences, acknowledge the existence
and narratives of others, foster reconciliation, or encourage
commitment to democracy? If so, how does education
create or reinforce such values? In short, effective
education reform and evaluation require consensus on
what constitutes the common good and the programmes
to achieve it-precisely what is lacking in many post-conflict
Despite the fact that education and social
reconstruction are long-term, ongoing processes, few
186 Teaching of History

evaluations of educational impact have a comparative

framework designed to capture attitude change over
significant periods. Both quantitative and qualitative
methods need to be used, since quantitative methods alone
may produce but not explain paradoxical findings. For
example, recent surveys in Northern Ireland have revealed
widespread desire for more integration, even as reliable
studies show Northern Irish society to be more segregated
now than at any previous time.



The idea was that the Northern Irish experience of

teaching history through thirty years of the 'Troubles'
might be scrutinised as an effective model of practice,
responding as it did to a situation characterised by
contested national identities, each supported by selective
and partisan versions of past events. The underlying
premise was that by experiencing the use of an
enquirybased curriculum, like that used in Northern
Ireland and throughout Britain, teachers who find
themselves contending with the competing-and often
conflicting-historical narratives prevalent in divided
societies might see the value of moving away from
materials and methods of instruction that emphasised the
transmission of 'objectively' true accounts of the national
past. Instead, they might focus on engaging students in
the examination of evidence and the analysis of varied
historical interpretations.
In effect, this was similar to the rationale behind a
seminar held in Northern Ireland in 1997 under the
auspices of the Council of Europe entitled The Teaching
of History in a Divided Community. On that occasion
thirty-one participants from twenty countries attended. The
Teaching Conflict Resolution 187

formal input for the seminar came entirely from Northern

Irish presenters with delegates then asked to respond as
to the applicability of the initiatives they had seen for their
own working context.
Three factors prompted a re-thinking of the purpose
and structure of the seminar. The first concerned the
proposed title. It was discovered that the characterisation
'divided societies' had little resonance in other countries.
Although it was initially thought the phrase was
somewhat extraneous-what society isn't divided in some
way-it seemed to evoke a negative response, and it was
ultimately changed from 'divided societies' to, first,
'societies emerging from conflict' (which also implied a
greater degree of divisiveness than many were comfortable
with), and ultimately, 'societies which have recently
emerged from conflict.'
The second cause for re-thinking was a more
substantive one. It surrounds the claims of the Northern
Irish History Curriculum to be held up as an exemplar
for other educational systems seeking to respond to
divisions in society through the formal curriculum. The
aims and structure of the History programme in Northern
Ireland have been documented in detail elsewhere but
briefly they are characterised by the following:
A values base provided by two crosscurricular themes,
Education for Mutual Understanding and Cultural Heritage
encouraging greater respect and cultural
Emphasis on a process that encourages an enquiry
approach whereby students have the opportunity to
investigate historical issues and to arrive at personal
viewpoints provided they are substantiated by
historical evidence
188 Teaching of History

The fostering of a range of concepts and skills to

enable young people to view historical events critically
The consideration of multiple perspectives to historical
events, and alternative interpretations of events
A prescribed content that sets important periods of
Irish history in a wider framework of the history of
the British Isles and Europe.
Therefore, the considerable achievement of the curriculum
is that by adopting the enquiry principles of the 'new'
history that emerged in the United Kingdom in the 1970s
and 1980s a way has been found to circumvent the
necessity to 'tell the national story': a story that, of course,
would be highly contested. Instead, from 1990 teachers in
a largely segregated system hav~ followed a common
programme and pursue common learning outcomes which
place an emphasis on applying critical thinking and
enquiry to contentious aspects of Irish history.
History teachers in Northern Ireland deserve great
credit for the professional way that they have gone about
implementing the new curriculum. Evidence from the
Education and Training Inspectorate and other sources
suggests that, whatever the setting of the school and
background of the practitioner, history teachers, in the vast
majority of instances, strive to present the past in a
balanced and objective manner to their students. In a
divided society this is a considerable achievement and it
is legitimate that the model developed should be shared
with other educational systems, particularly those
wrestling with history curricula that tend to promote one
particular, partisan interpretation of the past.
These arise from doubts as to how far the history
curriculum in Northern Ireland, as taught, actually
succeeds in challenging the myths and partial truths
Teaching Conflict Resolution 189

prevalent in the segregated cultural environments in which

many students are grounded. And to what extent does it
really encourage students to apply learning about the past
to their understanding of the situation in the present?
These concerns surfaced at the Council of Europe 1997
seminar. There, Carmel Gallagher, then officer for history
in the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and
Assessment in Northern Ireland (CCEA) questioned
whether the majority of students are capable of
transferring the intellectual skills honed in history to the
contentious world outside the classroom without teacher
guidance. It was her view that unless young people are
encouraged to apply those intellectual skills and processes
to their own stereotypes and prejudices they are unlikely
to make that 'brave and disturbing intellectual transfer'
for themselves.
Her challenge as to how far the social responsibility
of Northern Irish teachers really stretches touched a raw
nerve with several local teachers present. The rapporteur
concluded that, In Northern Ireland and elsewhere, a
fundamental ter.sion has yet to be worked out. On the
one hand there are those who feel most comfortable with
a history programme that emphasises enquiry, evidence,
objectivity and the teacher as neutral arbiter. On the other
there are those who reject detachment (both in time and
methodology) as an illusory quest. They wish to see
students' critical skills applied to contemporary issues
through their historical studies.
Other evidence supports the contention that teachers,
generally, in Northern Ireland have been reluctant to
engage with more sensitive cultural and political issues.
A more recent empirical study of the relationship between
the history curriculum and students' sense of national
identity conducted with 253 young people, aged 11 to 14,
carried out by two of the organisers of the UNESCO
190 Teaching of History

seminar further questions the effectiveness of the

curriculum in challenging deeply held opinions. The study
found that more students in the third year of secondary
school identified with historical events they associated as
representing their particular communal identity than did
so in years one and two.
Yet, in year 3 students are expected to gain
understanding of 20th Century Irish history and, by
implication, the roots of the most recent phase of the
'Troubles'. Instead, the research found that some students
used their school learning selectively to support partisan
communal identities. The researchers concluded that not
enough was being done to mediate between attitudes
acquired through informal learning in the community and
the learning of the formal history curriculum.

Education for Social Cohesion

Professor Smith opened by acknowledging that there was
no longer a clear line between situations of conflict and
non-conflict, given that more lowlevel conflict exits today
between governments and sections of their own society
than is defined by declarations of hostilities between
recognised states. His presentation was premised on the
analysis that education either can be part of the solution
to conflict or can exacerbate or even cause conflict. He
argued that the study of the role of education should be
an integral part of the analysis of conflict.
There is a structural relationship between the two. If
conflict is interpreted as a transformative stage then
education is also a transforming force and the two interact
at all levels and stages. Further, internal conflict can occur
in highly educated societies as well as in developing
countries, suggesting the nature of the education system
can contribute to division.
Teaching Conflict Resolution 191

Education is almost always run by the state and the

state is likely to be a party to the conflict. Smith classified
education systems and their institutions as:
Assimilationist (single institutions operating according
to the values of the dominant tradition, with minority
rights and interests neglected)
Separatist (separate institutions each serving different
constituencies with relatively homogeneous
populations; processes within institutions mayor may
not acknowledge broader diversity outside the
Integrationist (common or shared institutions with
diversity represented within the population of each
institution). He then cited from the work of Kincheloe
and Steinberg to address the dynamics within
institutions, detailing how they come to terms with
pluralism in practice.
Conservative pluralism stresses what people have in
common, seeks to create neutral spaces and avoids
potential controversy. Liberal pluralism acknowledges
differences and celebrates diversity but is unlikely to
address the potential causes of conflict. Critical pluralism
both recognises similarities and differences between people
and also acknowledges unequal power relations between
groups and is willing to take action to address social
justice. By implication the latter offers the best opportunity
for trust building and the alleviation of conflict.
In formulating policy it is vital for governments to
acknowledge their obligations under the UN Convention
of the Rights of the Child. With regard to education,
Article 28 affirms the right of every child to primary
education provision. But, the quality of that education is
also defined. Under Article 29 the aims of education
192 Teaching of History

should include 'respect for human rights and fundamental

freedoms' and 'the preparation of the child for responsible
life in a free society in the spirit of understanding, peace,
tolerance, equality of sexes and friendship among all
peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons
of indigenous origins.'
This in turn has' implications for the nature of the
curriculum. Content orientated syllabuses founded on the
transmission of knowledge are unlikely to fulfil this
mission. Rather the emphasis should be on a process
orientated curriculum promoting learning outcomes
embodying key skills and values. This is especially
important for the 'national' subjects of art, music, literature,
history and geography, which encroach on identity issues
of language, culture and religion.
History, for example, can be part of the problem
where the government defines the 'national story' and
manipulates the curriculum and textbooks for political
purposes. On the contrary, it might contribute to solutions
where its learning outcomes are enquiry determined and
the emphasis is placed on multiple perspectives and
interpretations. If the latter approach is adopted it must
be recognised that there are significant economic
implications, particularly for the provision of learning
resources and teacher education.
Professor Smith offered the classification framework
outlined above as a tool for analysing education systems
emerging from conflict but stressed that each situation has
unique features and each requires systemic analysis. He
also acknowledged that more serious attention needs to
be given to evaluating and monitoring the 'efficacy'
claimed for preventative education across a range of
international contexts.
Teaching Conflict Resolution 193

In addition to the input from Northern Ireland six

case studies were presented - South Africa, Sri Lanka,
Cyprus, Latvia, Estonia and Russia. Each national grouping
was given ample space to discuss the social, cultural and
political context in which its history teaching is set, to
describe current policy and curricula and to identify
aspects of innovative practice contributing to the
alleviation of conflict and the promotion of democratic
values. It is not the intention here to describe each
contribution in detail nor was it the function of the seminar
to carry out an analysis of the causes of ethnic conflict.
Rather, cultural and political backgrounds were used as a
backdrop to understanding the responses of the respective
educational systems.
When exploring situations in individual countries it
was, indeed, cle:ar that each had very particular
circumstances and 'the variants present in each, in turn,
helped shape what was felt desirable, and what was
practical, in terms of educational responses.
Geographically, the countries present varied in size from
the huge expanses of Russia and South Africa to the small
territories of Latvia, Cyprus and Northern Ireland.
Obviously, the logistics associated with size greatly
influences policy provision. Additionally, countries like
Russia and South Africa are multi-ethnic in composition
and have to accommodate many cultural aspirations (in
the case of Russia up to a hundred) whereas the conflicts
in Cyprus and Northern Ireland, respectively, are largely
played out by just two cultural groupings.
In some cases a majority grouping is numerically
dominant as in the Baltic States and Sri Lanka providing
particular democratic challenges whereas the opposing
communities in Northern Ireland and Cyprus are more
evenly balance-cd. In the Cypriot situation segregation
including schooling is almost total. This is a significant
194 Teachilzg oj History

factor in Northern Ireland, also, whereas in the ex-Soviet

states separation through education is only partial. In all
but the Northern Ireland situation the presence of different
languages is a potential source of division, though in South
Africa, Sri Lanka and Cyprus, in education settings at least,
English is fostered as a common, 'link' language. Given
the title of the seminar the most transparent categorisations
of countries present were those that had recently suffered
violent conflict and those that had not.
Four of the case-study areas-South Africa, Sri Lanka,
Northern Ireland and, arguably, Cyprus are emerging from
conflict as a result of ethnic / national/religious division.
Violence, and the resultant trauma, provides particular
challenges in dealing with the emotional dimension of
student responses and in fostering a climate of
reconciliation. In contrast, the post-Soviet transition toward
democratic structures in Latvia, Estonia and Russia has
been largely peaceful. Initially, participants from those
areas had doubts about their credentials to be present at
the seminar.
Yet, common themes emerged across all countries and
by the conclusion the delegates from the ex-Soviet bloc
had come to identify with many of the issues raised in
those states that had experienced recent violence. This
suggests that for educators formulating new approaches
to history in the context of building new democratic
structures similar challenges arise: but that the legacy of
violence intensifies difficulties. One factor present, to a
greater or lesser extent, in each of the countries
represented, is an increasing diversity of people.
Partly as a consequence of the impact of globalisation
even in societies like Northern Ireland and Cyprus,
characterised by bipolar conflict, there has been a
significant influx of immigrant groups in recent years. In
Teaching Conflict Resolution 195

each country examined by the seminar new democratic

structures are struggling to give minority groupings
equitable representation. Representing minority
perspectives within the history curriculum presents special
challenges. This report identifies that this is made more
complex when the minority is a once dominant group
whose power and position has been eroded or usurped
by groups seeking 'liberation'.
In each situation history and history teaching were
identified as significant factors in contributing to national
consciousness with the capacity both to perpetuate division
and, through curriculum reform, foster greater social
cohesion. It was clear that all participants took for granted
that history education should serve social purposes. That
is, no one suggested that the topic was a purely 'academic'
one, or that the curriculum should be based solely on the
concerns of university-based scholars. This stands in
contrast to those history educators who reject the
suggestion that history should play a role in efforts to
promote peace and reconciliation and dismiss such goals
as 'social engineering' and inappropriate for the
educational system. It also stands in contrast to the
perspective of some educators in Britain and in North
America who argue that the essential purpose of history
is to introduce students to disciplinary ways of thinking.
The particular social goals participants thought
history should serve'and the implications they saw for the
teaching of history, varied enormously. All spoke in the
language of enquiry and the use of evidence, and all
thought that students should be actively involved in
learning: no one suggested that history should take the
form of transmissionoriented lectures, although they
unsurprisingly reported that many of their colleagues back
home taught in such ways. Yet, as the presentations
continued it became clear that participants attached a wide
196 Teaclling of History

diversity of meanings to the terms, enquiry and evidence.

Participants from some countries hoped to use these
methods in order to teach students a single, consensual
story of their nation's past, one that all students would
accept as part of the national heritage, regardless of their
own ethnicity or their status within the country; in some
cases, this kind of national history was explicitly meant
to counter political claims based on ethnicity.
Interestingly, participants were quick to challenge
each other-and the seminar organisers-whenever a claim
was made that minority viewpoints could be dismissed
or incorporated into a single national story: yet, clearly
applying this in practice to your own country presents
huge challenges especially when the prevailing political
hegemony comes under scrutiny.
Other participants-particularly those from both sides
of Cyprus-saw history's value as lying not in the
promotion of a shared national identity, but in its ability
to present a neutral and balanced view of the events of
the past. Because history can be used in such highly
partisan ways, inspiring emotional and entrenched
prejudices, these educators felt that students would benefit
most from learning a complete and unbiased account of
the past. If students learned history in this way, and came
to recognise that the historical accounts that support
divisive political positions are incomplete or inaccurate,
they might be more supportive of efforts at reconciliation.
And finally, some participants saw the full
significance of history education's potential to engage
students in developing interpretations from multiple
accounts and evidence to enable them to reach their own
conclusions, without regard to any single, sanctioned view
of the past. Educators from one country, for example, in
constructing a sample inquiry project for students,
Teaching Conflict Resolution 197

suggested that they interview older people and examine

government documents and other published sources in
order to answer the question, 'What was life like in the.
Soviet Union after World War II?' The goal of history for
these teachers was to produce students capable of
independent and critical thought.
So there was agreement that history should serve the
goals of society, but less accord over what those goals
should be or how history might be designed to contribute
to them. Differences in perception were most stark when
sensitive issues within respective national histories were
addressed. Even in those societies not wracked by
communal violence specific historical events were
identified that are seen very differently by respective
communities: and that such interpretations are often
mutually exclusive. The Soviet 'annexation' of the Baltic
States in 1939 emerged as an example.
In discussing the handling of contentious history it
became clear that the internalisation of enquiry within the
history curricula represented varied: also that there was
considerable avoidance of difficult issues even within those
education systems that might be perceived as having
responded strongly to promoting democratic change. The
initial resistance to follow an external examination module
at aged 16 dealing with the recent phase of the 'Troubles'
in Northern Ireland was cited as an example. It was
recognised that teachers, curriculum developers and policy
makers, too, are products of contested societies and unless
they embrace the values and process inherent ip enquiry-
based history proposed change will be no more than
In the case of teachers it was recognised that they
are invariably part of a larger social context, and they
cannot be expected to produce levels of enlightenment or
198 Teaching of History

tolerance missing in their society at large. At times,

teachers may hold the same limited historical perspectives
that have contributed to conflict in the first place: more
often, they may fear the community repercussions of
addressing controversial issues in the classroom, or be
unprepared to deal with the emotional responses such
issues can provoke in students.
Most teachers have not been trained to teach histo~y
in this way, and even though they may have good
intentions, they are unlikely to take such risks without a
great deal of support. Under these circumstances,
avoidance of controversial topics is the safest course, and
most, if not all, participants agreed that such avoidance
characterised history teaching in their own countries.
In the context of multiple perspectives and handling
controversial issues one less obvious barrier was identified
through discussion. This is the particular difficulty arising
when addressing sensitive material with once dominant
ethnic or cultural groupings whose position has become
threatened. This has special significance when the
historical material being addressed illustrates past abuses
of authority and power. The positions of the Unionist
people in Northern Ireland, the Afrikaners in South Africa
and Russian emigrants living in ex-Soviet Bloc countries
were cited as examples.
In Eastern Europe such tensions have often been
disguised because overt violence has not been a factor but
the Baltic participants acknowledged them as significant.
In these situations history practitioners face important
challenges: how to confront the realities and implications
of such events yet to do so sensitively to avoid burdening,
targeting, humiliating and alienating young people from
those backgrounds. Differences also emerged regarding
perceptions as to which students should have access to
Teaching Conflict Resolution 199

enquirybased history across ability and age ranges.

Despite recognition of the social utility of history teaching
there was still a sense from several of the presentations
that the demands associated with an enquiry approach to
the subject were more appropriate to those young people
engaged in academic study.
Further, there was an assumption that addressing
multiple perspectives, issues related to identity and
national events deemed contentious was a pursuit for the
later school years. Generally, it was considered appropriate
for younger students to continue to learn facts about the
nation's past in a relatively straightforward way. Only in
the South African and Northern Irish contexts was there
a clear sense of progression on such issues through
primary and secondary education. It is possible that this
lack of attention to the needs and abilities of younger
students may present an obstacle to thinking about how
history can meet the needs of society.
On one final issue there was also substantial
consensus. Participants agreed that the lack of available
resources was a significant obstacle to new forms of history
teaching. In most of their countries, collections of multiple
sources of evidence or conflicting source material were
simply not available, nor were texts written from, or
including, different perspectives. In fact, one common
complaint was that the available history texts were written
by university historians or others who had no experience
working with students, and thus the books were either
poorly written or inappropriate for the developmental level
of students.
In one country, participants reported that no publisher
had been found who was willing to print updated versions
of even the most basic history texts for students, much
less more complicated materials. Technological resources
200 Teaching of History

were also limited. The constraints resource provision had

on development was a recurring theme of the seminar re-
emerging during the external presentations on textbooks
and online computer conferencing.

External Presentations
The themes were chosen for the external presentations on
the grounds that they offered support for those seeking
to promote the handling of contentious issues in history.
Historiography in Irish History, the theme of Professor
Jeffery'S talk, was selected because, in the context of
Ireland, the work of revisionist historians in challenging
the anti-colonialist, pro-nation building version of the
country's history, has been deemed a significant pre-
requisite for the multi-perspective approach adopted by
the school curriculum in the 1990s. His viewpoint was
interesting in that he placed less emphasis on the
revisionist interpretations themselves and more on the
impact that the modelling of healthy historical debate in
public has on the image of history as popular discourse.
Therefore, discussion at an academic level can
translate through the experience of the historical training
of students into the adoption of an enquiry approach in
the classroom. In the discussion that followed the extent
of the influence the academy has on the school curriculum
was identified as an important issue, especially in those
countries where the 'science' of history was perceived as
the pursuit of absolute truth. This presented particular
obstacles to educational changes in many of the emerging
democracies in Eastern Europe. Professor Hopken's
presentation was of central importance to the seminar.
History teaching in the United Kingdom has, to a
considerable extent, freed itself from the 'tyranny' of the
textbook. Commercial publishers produce books and
teachers have the freedom to choice texts they deem
Teaching Conflict Resolution 201

appropriate. Often, schools operate using more than one

text on a particular topic and in doing so present students
with alternative interpretations. Other countries often have
not developed such a culture and, in any case, have not
the resources to invest in such an approach. The
presentation advocated that it was critical that textbooks
in societies recently emerged from conflict reflected
enquiry, and multiple perspectives. Further, they should
be produced by practitioners, and ideally by partnerships
representing different perspectives. However, Professor
Hopken warned against the naivety of thinking that a
well-constructed textbook alone could safeguard against
propagandist history and transform practice.
Teacher education was also critical as a catalyst for
change if textbooks were to be used as resources for critical
enquiry. He identified five pre-conditions as necessary
for textbooks to have potential as agents of reconciliation:
1) Conflict has to be at an end. Otherwise, in his opinion,
there is a stark divergence between the values
embedded in the text and the reality of the violence
in the streets. Here, he cited an Arab-Israeli project
he was engaged with. In such circumstances a multi-
perspective approach loses credibility or pupils may
accept it as an abstract principle only
2) Political elites must show absolute commitment to the
mUlti-perspective approach to textbook writing and
must refrain from interference. In Bosnia, for example,
Bosniak, Croat and Serb politicians have hindered
3) Society, in general, has to agree on the underlying
principles by adopting a selfreflective attitude to the
country's past. This is a huge challenge in a society
emerging from conflict were the 'vicious circle' of
recrimination is still fresh. The cohesion necessary is
often accepted in theory but not in practice
202 Teaching of History

4) Even when conditions 1-3 are in place the raw

emotions that are the legacy of conflict still pose the
question as to whether school textbooks are the best
medium to deal with recent events. In might be
argued that since such incidents feature in the media
it is important that they are mediated in the
comparatively critical arena of the classroom. On the
other hand are more extreme acts of genocide
negotiable in the classroom? Might their mediation be
deemed a violation of victims' grief? In such
circumstances it may be important to declare a
moratorium on educational practice. In Rwanda, for
instance, the teaching of history was suspended for
two years after the conflict
5) Echoing Alan Smith's reservations regarding the
international community's interventions in conflict
situations Professor Hopken emphasised the
importance of such initiatives being acceptable to the
society in which they are being introduced. Too often
they are 'top down' in approach and prove out of step
with the political situation on the ground. When
constitutional questions remain unaddressed,
educational aspirations toward creating greater social
cohesion are likely to remain unfulfilled.
For most participants Dr Austin's use of computer
conferencing as a tool for generating discourse around
historical issues was an innovative experience. His
reference to 'crossing boundaries' had an obvious literal
significance in the context of the seminar but also has
echoes of Giroux's vision of the capacity of critical
pedagogy to break down structural barriers in society.
Work between students in Northern and Southern Ireland
was cited as an example of establishing links across
geographical, cultural and political space. The possibilities
for bringing young people together in an electronic forum
Teaching Conflict Resolution 203

appealed both for its capacity to overcome issues of travel

and security and also to offer an alternative medium to
share views in a potentially less confrontational and
emotionally charged environment.
The Cypriot representation was especially enthused
by its possibilities but the politically motivated lack of
direct electronic links between both parts of the island
were a significant barrier. As with all the resource issues
raised during the week access was a major constraint in
most of the educational systems represented. This harked
back to the Council of Europe seminar in 1997.
Then, one delegate, when commenting on what she
had seen of Northern Ireland history provision, likened
herself and many of her colleagues to 'poor children before
an expensive shop window. They could look but not buy'.
There was evidence in this seminar, also that education
provision in the emerging democracies was moving
forward but that resourcing was still a major constraint.
Those promoting an enquiry-based, multi-perspective
approach to teaching the subject must recognise that for
it to be effective it requires extensive support.
The field visit to Derry ILondonderry incorporated a
presentation by Dr Crooke on the role of museums in
societies recently emerged from conflict, followed by a visit
to the Tower Museum. Participants also walked the city's
17th Century walls, observed its residential segregation
and examined some of its politically motivated wall
murals, many of them adopting an historical theme to
convey their messages. The day proved of great value to
the seminar in that, in a tangible form, it allowed
participants to travel along the interface between school
history and a divided community. Dr Crooke's talk
illustrated that museums in such situations have the
potential both to contribute to the abuse of history or to
204 Teachillg of History

facilitate greater understanding and reconciliation. In the

case of the former there is the danger that funding dictates
support for the position of the state: or, alternatively, in
seeking consensus and popularity, the emphasis is placed
on nostalgia and tourism.
If museums are to have a role in reconciliation she
suggested that the critical question was whether or not
the public are prepared for them to be politically engaged
with the communities in which they are set. The Tower
Museum is one of the few heritage establishments in
Northern Ireland that has courageously attempted to deal
with the recent conflict: but even here the exhibits, a
display case of artefacts and a video, are presented to
visitors in a passive and, to an extent, a non-judgemental
way. Doubts were expressed as to whether this type of
presentation could have a transformative function.
The District Six Museum in Cape Town was used as
an example of a museum that interacts with the public.
There, former residents have helped, physically and
symbolically, to recreate a township community bull-dosed
in the apartheid era. In turn, other visitors have the
opportunity to contribute reflections on exhibits which
portray past abuses of power. The hope is that such
interventions can contribute to healing in society.
After Dr Crooke's presentation, as seminar
participants walked around the divided city and took in
the murals, they had time to reflect on the challenges
facing history teaching in such situations. On each side of
the sectarian divide the past is used as a weapon to
orientate and bind political identity and to justify partisan,
if deeply held, political positions. Visually, the murals play
on the emotions by appealing for loyalty and solidarity.
As well as developing critical thinking history teaching
must engage with this emotional dimension if it is to have
an impact on such strong mindsets.
Research-Teaching Relationships

Researchers have explored the nature of academic

disciplines as distinctive epistemological and social
communities, and revealed the importance of disciplinary
identity in shaping the ways in which research and
teaching are conceptualised. In his researches into these
cultures Becher observed that historians demonstrated a
particular propensity to describe themselves collectively
as a 'community of scholars'.


For most academic historians, irrespective of institutional

affiliation, not only is high-quality scholarship a principal
goal but research and teaching are regarded as inseparable;
complementary and mutually supportive dimensions of an
academic career. Although the history of the discipline in
higher education demonstrates that such an intimate
relationship has not always been so prominent in
conceptions of professional identity, since the early
decades of the twentieth century the close connection
between the two has been increasingly emphasised as a
key characteristic of a 'higher' education in the subject and
a yardstick of the quality of a history education.
206 Teaching of History

The link has been perhaps most overtly apparent in

the responsiveness of the history curriculum to trends in
historical research during the last half century. Thus, for
example, the rapid growth of research into social history
in the 1960s and 70s was reflected in the growing diversity
of curriculum content, with the introduction of new themes
such as social protest, crime, family, childhood and leisure.
Since then the growth of research in the field of cultural
history has further broadened the undergraduate and
postgraduate curriculum in terms of both content and
theoretical approaches, with themes such as identity,
consciousness and mentalities entering the mainstream
curricul um.
In a discipline often considered, even among its
practitioners, as 'not very self-reflexive', the nature of the
relationship between research and teaching has tended to
be regarded as axiomatic. As such it has constituted a
mostly implicit yet tenaciously held element in the
common assumptions that frame the discipline. In the last
two decades, however, a pervasive culture of audit
encompassing both teaching and research has enveloped
British higher education and, for all its ill effects (and there
are many), external pressures to ensure 'value for money',
'transparency' and 'accountability', have ensured that the
issue of the research-teaching nexus has become more
visible in public discourse.
Almost unanimously history departments stated in
their self-evaluations the centrality of the link between
research and teaching in their course provision. Indeed this
was praised by peer reviewers as a key aspect of good
practice, particularly in respect to curricula that were up-
to-date and aligned with current trends in research such
as gender, ethnicity, cultural history and multi-disciplinary
issues. The best history teaching, the subject overview
report suggested, was informed by up-to-date scholarship
Research-Teaching Relationships 207

and research, and awareness of current debates in the

subject was emphasised as a particular feature of effective
learning in the subject. Perhaps unsurprisingly, sixteen of
the seventeen 'excellent' verdicts delivered on
undergraduate programmes were awarded to history
departments in pre-1992 'research-led' universities.
Despite considerable dissatisfaction in the discipline
with the way in which the exercise had been conducted,
it was notable that three years later in a report to the
Quality Assurance Agency on standards in history degree
programmes, the opportunity offered by the TQA exercise
and the national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) of
1996 to link research and teaching in a direct and forceful
fashion was eagerly seized upon. In this report by a
national subject association, based upon widespread
consultation across the sector, it was stated:
In constructing their programmes, departments and subject
groups draw heavily on the research interests of their
members. The Working Party believes that on the whole
the best teaching is likely to come from people active in
publication, research and scholarship. This is born out by
the combined results in History of the RAE and the TQA.

Throughout a protracted period of public scrutiny during

the 1990s, however, the exact nature of the link between
research and teaching remained only thinly sketched out
within the diScipline. When demanded by external
stakeholders, statements about the teaching-research
connection were largely articulated in terms of curriculum
content and the subject expertise of academic staff. One
historian put this dominant view succinctly in a response
to an annual survey of university history published in the
magazine History Today. 'The range (of courses) here', he
commented, 'is largely determined by the research
expertise of staff; we believe that it is essential for students
to hear it from the experts ... as research underpins
teaching so much'. Nor has the shorthand of 'research-
208 Teaching of History

led', 'research-informed' and 'research-oriented' teaching

helped the clarity of discussion; for all of these terms are
used interchangeably by departments seeking to assert the
indivisibility of the link.
Griffiths suggests that a distinction might be made
between research-led teaching, where the tutor's own
research interests fashion curricular content and students
learn by transmission from the 'expert' tutor; research-
oriented teaching, where students learn about the
processes of research, the processes of knowledge creation
are emphasised as much as knowledge acquisition in the
curriculum, and the research experiences of staff are
brought to bear in a more diffuse fashion; and research-
based teaching, where students themselves learn as
researchers through an enquiry-led curriculum. In making
an explicit effort to reduce the terminological confusion
in this area, these distinctions provide a useful starting
point for the clarification of terms needed in History.
Public statements about the research-teaching nexus,
such as those used to illustrate disciplinary attitudes so
far, rarely, of course, reflect the complexity of private
discourse. This is revealed in the following survey of views
in a single history department during the run-up to an
external evaluation of teaching. Asked how they would
describe the links between their teaching and research, the
following represent the range of responses among the
academic staff.
The key book (on several modules I teach) was researched,
edited and largely written by me therefore the research
element directly feeds into my teaching.
Major themes I teach are all areas I've researched and published
in [gives long list of publications1.
The modules I teach have always been intimately connected
to my research at the level of both empirical context and
Research-Teaching Relationships 209

theoretical framework ... my teaching is fully informed by

the research I carried out for my monograph.
My researches have led to monographs and general surveys
... and my second and third year modules rely on these.
My third year Special Subject and MA modules are infused
with my engagement with recent developments in the field
and my experience of researching and writing within it.
My research into medieval England feeds into all my
teaching ... my knowledge of the subject and also of the
current (and up to date) secondary literature enables me
to introduce the latest concepts al'.d theories to first year
undergraduates ... When I take my Special Subject, I draw
on a body of primary sources and secondary work of which
I am not only very familiar but to which I have contributed
to myself through articles and books.
I have written widely on the area covered in my Special
Subject and this enables me to give students a lot of help
in deciding what topics to do in their dissertation and guide
them in their reading.
My research interests are strongly represented in the
modules and themes I teach at second and third year level.
I do not believe I would be able to judge the quality of the
books and articles that I recommend to students unless I
was working actively in historical research myself. I would
certainly not feel the same sort of active engagement with
the material ... However, I would also like to stress that
the relationship between research and teaching is not
simply one way; discussion with students has sometimes
opened my eyes to new ways of looking at historical issues
and raised new questions, since their lack of experience
allows them to 'think outside the box' of conventional
I have always taught courses related to my research
interests as I find this is a good way of sparking off
interests in students: they enjoy criticising what I have
written (and it may well reassure them that I know what
I am talking about!).
In my teaching students do research themselves in year 2
and 3, not only in the dissertation but for seminars, and
all these modules are based on current issues in the research
on my period. Having to communicate your work also
210 Teaching of History

makes you really think it through, and research I do on

my teaching also influences the way I look at what they
can do in class.
My research active status is an important feeder into my
teaching. As well as keeping my students up to date with
the 'cutting edge' of my field, research is partly what drives
my energy and enthusiasm, key attributes of successful
These statements reveal a much richer, and more diverse,
picture of the connection between teaching and research
thar, appears in often formulaic public representations.
Clearly there is a strong belief in the direct relationship
between research and curriculum content; that research is
reflected in the curriculum by the subject matter of the
modules taught (though even this is seen in more and less
sophisticated ways). But we can also see more complex
lines of connection being expressed, albeit sometimes
tacitly, not least between the skills acquired and employed
in the research process and effective teaching and learning,
between research and student (and staff) motivation, and
between research and curricular progression. In two
responses we can also see an explicit recognition of the
two-way relationship between research and teaching; that
teaching can inform research as well as the other way
round, forcing the academic tutor to clarify his or her
thinking and stimulating new ideas.
In one response a link is also made between subject-
based pedagogic research and classroom practice and to
research-led learning through student enquiry. In all
history curricula contestation of knowledge is central, and
most conceptions of the curriculum see students
progressing towards greater independence in learning
through involvement in enquiry-led projects and research
culminating in a final year dissertation, often associated
with the Special Subject which provides the point at which
teaching and research most clearly intersect. This
Research-Teaching Relationships 211

specialisation through research is extremely common, and

in many history departments there is a related
commitment to enabling students to become practising
historians (a process which also involves them in learning
many transferable skills). As MacLean and Barker point
out in a small-scale study of progression in the subject, in
these history departments academics' construction of

"progression" in student learning that goes beyond the

acquisition of general skills are related to their
constructions of what it is to do research in their
Whilst public statements made about the links
between teaching and research in History can appear
rather simplistic, more complex connections are being
made by practitioners, although these are often implicit
rather than explicitly formulated. There are clearly many
different ways in which disciplinary practitioners
conceptualise the links between their research and
teaching, and a growing international literature has begun
to explore these differences and the contribution made to
academics' conceptions by their disciplinary cultures. Links
made, often implicitly, by historians include:
Content of modules is informed by academic staff
Theoretical perspectives from research influence
approaches to teaching a topic.
Students learn about research methods from modeling
by academic tutors.
Undergraduate research modules teach students how
to do research.
Classroom teaching methods adopt a research-based
approach, e.g. student-led seminars.
212 Teaching of History

Students undertake (individual and group) research

Teaching is used directly to test, refine and shape
academic staff research findings.
Students assist staff with their research projects.
Students gain experience of applied research through
e.g. work-based learning.
Academic staff conduct pedagogic research to enhance
their teaching.
Without doubt, however, the nature of the relationship has
received less systematic investigation in the discipline than
it deserves. All the issues raised so far require greater
investigation and exposure to community discussion and
debate in a manner commensurate with standard research
practice in a scholarly discipline. An example of just one
question. Is there a necessary link between doing historical
research and being an effective teacher of history? Clearly
almost all the historians quoted above suggest an answer
in the affirmative, and this is the dominant view in the
discipline. However, Stearns suggests an alternative
viewpoint, that 'many excellent [history] teachers do not
themselves do research. They must, however, keep up with
the findings of leading researchers lest their teaching
Might indeed today's vast number of postgraduate
or part-time teaching assistants with limited research
experience but an enthusiasm for teaching be better
teachers than expert researchers whose focus of attention
is not upon the history classroom? And what is so essential
about being both a researcher and teacher? Is it the
knowledge acquired, or the expertise, or the motivation?
Will the answer we give be different if our primary
purpose is to foster the acquisition of transferable skills
Research-Teaching Relationships 213

or if the goal is to enable students to become practising

(or professional) historians? Similarly does the need for a
strong connection vary according to year of study? How
does it link to notions of progression? We need to explore
such questions more carefully than we have so far done.
Some historians might maintain that any attempt to
divide into two distinct roles - teacher and researcher.
Most surveys, indeed, suggest that historians profess the
satisfactions of both teaching and research and are
distrustful of recent trends in higher education that seem
to imply the need for the separation of these expressions
of the passion they have for their subject. Yet this can
appear a little ingenuous in its shifting of the focus of
responsibility to outside agencies.
For while the personal satisfaction of both teaching
and research is frequently recorded by academic historians,
the separation of these two aspects of professional activity
is deeply embedded in our disciplinary structures, not least
in our systems of reward and recognition. In a recent
survey of British history departments, for example, fifty-
five per cent of respondents reported that senior
appointments were intended to get the best research
candidates, and that 'in general a focus on research area
and quality was a characteristic both of pre- and post- 1992
universities ... '
Similarly research was felt to be heavily-weighted in
decisions about promotions. In such an ill-balanced and
hierarchically separated relationship, it might be argued,
the links between research and teaching at the discipline
level are as much negative as they are positive, working
to divert attention from serious attention to pedagogic
matters and discouraging exactly the type of investigation
that might enable us to forge more sophisticated links
between research and teaching.
214 ," Teaching of History


In History we have only begun to explore the complex

relationship between research and teaching. Indeed it
might be argued that we have still much to discover about
our disciplinary conceptions of the meaning of research,
scholarship and teaching, and how the nature of these is
changing. Serious investigation in this whole area is
required, not least to enable the discipline to make a more
powerful case for its value to external stakeholders in
terms of its contribution to employability and active
citizenship in the twenty-first century.
At the level of the individual history teacher there is
a particular need to make clear to students our own
conceptions of teaching and research, how they intersect,
and why they matter. In other words, our often tacit
knowledge and understanding needs to needs to be made
explicit if our students are to become effective historians
and learners. There is now some useful guidance on how
we might do this and construct curricula that promote in
a more developed fashion a link that is deeply felt by
many academic historians.
Certification of History Teachers

History teachers who know their subject matter well are

indispensable to schools striving to hold students to higher
academic standards. This is a major concern for teacher
education in history, according to a recent American
national conference of teacher educators, academic
historians, K-12 classroom history teachers, and members
of state and local governing boards. The major theme of
the conference was that if, according to the standards-
based strategy for democratic school reform, all students
in every school are to be offered an equally solid and
engaging study of history, then all teachers need equally
rigorous preparation to teach them. The problems treated
at the conference were how to explore the conditions
under which subject matter mastery can be nurtured
among history teachers, and how to determine the changes
needed to bring about and sustain those conditions.
Suggested solutions pertained to better connections
between history and education college faculty and the
university and local schools. A six-part action plan was
developed that centered on action by and for:
216 Teaching of History

education school faculty members and deans;
university historians and department chairs;
local school administrators and school committees/
board members;
representatives of state departments of education; and
members of state education and university governing


Conferees recommended that prospective teachers of

history in middle and high school should have a college
major organised around main topics and significant
questions in United States history, the history of Western
civilisation and of the world, and related studies in civics,
geography, philosophy, literature, and the arts.
A further recommendation went beyond
undergraduate preparation to the sphere of continuing
education for practicing teachers; no matter how well
prepared as undergraduates, teachers have a responsibility
to themselves and to their students to continue their
studies, both in state and local programmes for
professional development and on their own. Moreover, the
thousands of history and social studies teachers now in
classrooms whose college preparation in history is weak
must undertake intensive professional development,
including summer institutes, to deepen their knowledge
and pleasure in teaching history.

Colleges of Education
Conferees recommended that college of education faculty
be given the authority to reduce the required number of
Certification of History Teachers 217

generic methods courses in order to offer more courses

taught by teams of subject scholars and experienced
teachers in the field. Furthermore, participants
recommended that education faculties, together with
colleagues from history departments, should redesign the
undergraduate experience of prospective teachers to
achieve a better balance between education courses and
subject matter courses in history.
University administrators and trustees need to revise
policies that make it difficult for education faculty
members to mend the "jagged disconnect" between subject
matter and pedagogy by joining colleagues in history
departments in merged courses, doing student-teacher
mentoring with historians and master teachers, and
working with historians on professional development for
teachers at neighbouring schools, preferably at school sites.

University Historians
These points were made by and to university historians
and department chairs. Historians must press university
administrators and trustees to establish sustainable
personnel policies that end the disincentives for history
faculty members to work with colleagues in other
departments to educate and mentor prospective teachers.
In addition, history faculties must review the character and
requirements of their major and minor programmes (with
advice from graduates who have become classroom
General education requirements for the freshman and
sophomore years did not escape scrutiny; conferees
recommended that historians must join their colleagues in
the arts and sciences to refocus general education on basic
core courses, including courses in United States history,
Western civilisation, and world history for all students.
218 Teaching of History

Teachers with bachelors' degrees, particularly those

working in middle and high school, should not have last
studied topics in world history as long ago as grade 9 or
10. Some specific recommendations were that history
faculties must be authorised to:
reduce the number of highly specialised courses for
provide more upper-level, broad-based courses in
major eras of United States history, the history of
Western civilisation, and of the world;
model the use of primary sources and student inquiry
in their own courses; and
forge regular working relationships with history
teachers in neighbouring communities.

State Departments of Education

Conferees urged state departments of education to
redesign teacher licensure and recertification examinations
to test subject mastery. The examinations should be
formidable; that is, they should be comparable to
exemplary final examinations at the university level and
should include evaluation of writing and speaking ability.
State departments of education must consistently devote
their priorities, review of regulations, and technical
assistance to support steady, long-term local
implementation of the state academic standards, which
pertain to the core subjects, including history, and how to
teach them.
In regard to professional development in history, state
departments need to collaborate with local school districts
and institutions of higher education to set criteria for
approval of professional development providers of state
or locally funded programmes. for classroom teachers in
Certification of History Teachers 219

academic subjects. Such criteria should include the

providers' academic qualifications and experience and the
relevance of proposed programmes to the curricular goals
of states and localities.

Local School Administrators and Boards

To the extent that state boards and departments of
education establish common curricular requirements,
content standards, and performance benchmarks for
statewide assessment of student achievement, state support
and technical assistance must be available to local districts
for a) implementing new curricula and courses in history;
b) refreshing and extending teacher content knowledge in
history; and c) instructing and re-integrating teachers who
are displaced by curricular changes. School districts should
establish regular procedures and criteria for evaluating
teacher applicant}; who will be teaching history courses,
including exploration of academic records and references
for the history courses taken in undergraduate
programmes and interviews dealing with candidates'
scholarly interests in the various areas of historical

Governing Boards
Members of state education and university governing
boards must take responsibility for insuring the
implementation of the above changes, focusing on those
that state and local officers and university presidents and
deans for many reasons often cannot make on their own.
Vital among these necessary changes are stricter college
admissions requirements, specific core requirements for the
general education of freshmen and sophomores, reformed
department majors, broader doctoral programmes to
prepare college teachers, and revised incentives for
faculties of education and arts and sciences.
220 Teaching of History

Lay board members should engage and educate the

media and inform the public and its elected officials on
questions fundamental to the quality and equality of
educational opportunities.


Over the past decade, cognitive studies researcher Samuel

Wineburg has conducted empirical studies to compare the
way historians think about primary and secondary sources
with the thinking processes of high school students and
teachers. Wineburg's research demonstrates the importance
of domain-based or subject-specific thinking in the
teaching and learning of history.

Sourcing Heuristic and Corroboration Heuristic

Wineburg uses two key concepts -- the "sourcing heuristic"
and the "corroboration heuristic" -- to explain how
historians think as they read documents. When historians
examine primary sources, they engage in the sourcing
heuristic by asking questions about an author's credentials,
motivations, and participation in events at the time a
document was written and the audience for whom the
document was intended. Historians contextualise the
content of a document, which enables them to appreciate
ways of perceiving and thinking that are quite different
from conventional ways of perceiving and thinking today.
When teachers and students use the sourcing heuristic,
they can create a distance between their own views and
those of the people of earlier eras.
Historians also use the corroboration heuristic to
compare information learned from several documents.
Historians make inter-text links while reading documents,
noting corroboration among primary sources as well as
among historians' interpretations. Wineburg's research
Certification of History Teachers 221

demonstJ:ates that some high school students who scored

high on the SAT did not consistently employ the sourcing
heuristic and the corroboration heuristic. While these
students knew facts about the past, they did not approach
a document in the same manner as the trained historians
in Wineburg's study.
Wineburg's research also reveals differences among
teachers in approach to documents. A teacher's history
degree, Wineburg notes, does not always result in a
teacher thinking in a historical context. For example, he
compared the historical understanding of a teacher with
a physics degree with that of a teacher with a history
degree. Both teachers read documents about the Lincoln-
Douglas debates of 1858 and the issue of racism. The
physics teacher demonstrated better historical
understanding than the teacher with a history degree.
Wineburg's findings confirm that academic preparation in
history does not necessarily guarantee that a teacher will
be able to think contextually and historically.
In this instance, the teacher with a history degree was
much more present-minded than his counterpart with a
physics degree. Wineburg acknowledges the tentative
nature of his findings; he explains, however, that this
finding is not new to researchers who, in the early 1990s
study "Findings on Learning to Teach," found that
undergraduate students often failed to acquire a deep
understanding of the academic discipline in which they
majored. If we expect our students to think historically,
we need teachers who can direct them toward historical
thinking and consequent understanding of history.

Historical Thinking and Domain-Specific Knowledge

In "Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts,"
Wineburg resoundingly supports domain-specific
knowledge and ways of knowing. He rejects the idea of a
222 Teachillg of History

monolithic model of thinking with a single set of skills,

which transcends academic disciplines and thereby can be
applied across the curriculum to different subjects.
Wineburg strongly urges that history be taught in schools
as a separate subject involving a particular way of thinking
and knowing about social reality.
Wineburg's research emphasizes that knowledge of
subject matter is central to teaching. Thus, an essential
component of the preservice and inservice education of
history teachers is teaching them "to comprehend and
ponder the key ideas, events, concepts and interpretations
of their discipline". Wineburg demonstrates that historical
thinking -- whether directed to construction of contexts,
critical analysis of documents in terms of contexts, or
context-sensitive judgments of behaviour -- is enhanced
by the quality and extent of the discipline-based
"background knowledge" brought to the task.

Applying Historical Thinking to Reading and Interpreting

Wineburg argues that the monitory reading strategy, with
its emphasis on literal interpretation and comprehension,
neglects the primary distinction of historical thinking, the
use of the sourcing heuristic before beginning to read for
comprehension. Literal comprehension of the words in a
document is not enough. Students must understand the
document as a source in a specific context. We can help
students examine the source of a document, find an
author's credentials, identify when a primary source was
written (in most instances), and speculate about the
intended audience. .
Analysis guides that draw students' attention to the
sourcing heuristic are helpful in initiating historical
thinking. Teachers can organise reading guides by five
tasks: (1) identify the document, (2) analyse the document,
Certification of History Teachers 223

(3) determine the historical context, (4) identify the vital

theme and narrative of the document, and (5) indicate the
relationship of the document to a discipline in the social
sciences/ social studies. Each task and its sub-tasks
emphasize the sourcing heuristic, what historians do before
reading for content comprehension; the corroboration
heuristic, what historians do to relate one document to
another document; contextualisation, the way historians
describe the time frame and local and national conditions
at the time a document was created; and comparison,
which historians use to describe conditions in other parts
of the world at the time a document was created.
Teachers must carefully select documents that will
engage their students in historical thinking. The teacher
can introduce students to a wide array of primary sources
that include such written texts as letters, excerpts of
speeches, diaries, and ledgers as well as visual materials
such as photographs, paintings, maps, political cartoons,
charts, and graphs. Capacity to find age-appropriate
primary sources that embellish historical thinking is an
important attribute of the effective teacher.
Generally speaking, teachers use primary sources in
one of two ways. Some teachers incorporate a primary
source into studying a historical topic, often to verify for
students that the information they have presented is
correct. Other teachers provide students with multiple
primary sources to allow them to discover for themselves
what the teachers and historians already know. This
second way is more complex because a variety of sources
are brought to bear on a topic in the classroom. We should
not reject either approach. There is, however, a third way
to use primary sources. This third approach is designed
around first-order, second-order, and third-order
documents. This third way of using primary sources
224 Teachi1lg of History

engages students in deliberative discussions beginning

with a seminal document.
The teacher initially discusses the seminal (first order)
document with students and asks them to suspend
judgments about the past while trying to understand the
context of the document. So students have a richer
contextual understanding of the time period they are
studying, the teacher then introduces additional documents
that relate to the first order document (second order).
Students are then invited to find documents on their own
that pertain to their inquiry about a topic in history (third
order). The third order documents that students bring to
the discussions allow the teacher to assess students'
dispositions and capacities to engage in historical inquiry.
The assessment that takes place during the third-order
deliberation intertwines deliberative discussions with the
process of historical inquiry. To assist teachers and
students in historical thinking, teachers can use primary
source guides that are linked to Wineburg's sourcing
heuristic and corroboration heuristic.
Future of Teaching
History Research Methods

Historians need to train their students to do research in

new ways to deal with the electronic age. As James B. M.
Schick explains in his book, Teaching History With a
Computer: A Complete Guide for College Professors, technology
is providing new links between historians. "With it the
relative isolation of schclars and the need for pilgrimages
to document repositories may diminish as academia enters
the global electronic community that links major
corporations and government agencies."
Great libraries have been at the center of traditional
universities, but all students and faculty have not been
able to use those resources. Parker Rossman notes in The
Emerging Worldwide Electronic University: Inforl1lation Age
Global Higher Education that "one of the signs of the
worldwide electronic university is an emerging global
electronic research library system that is beginning to
increase that use." Although this is only a dream at the
present for some countries, "many students and faculty
already participate in its beginnings."
This individual historian is more inclined to look
backward than forward, and has no clear vision about
226 Teaching of History

what the teaching of history using technology will be like

in a decade or two. The class is not conducted completely
on-line" but has mixed aspects of traditional pedagogy

with some necessary emphasis on utilising computer



The class is a compound of three related topics: The

philosophy of history, methods of historical research, and
the use of computer technology by historians. It is taught
only during the Fall semester and meets once a week for
three hours in the evening in a networked computer
laboratory with access to the Internet. An attempt has been
made to keep the three "threads" of the class-philosophy
of history, research methods, and computer lab-as related
as possible. For each of the sixteen weeks of the class, the
syllabus lists the essays to be read about the philosophy
of history, chapters to be read concerning research
methods, and the topic to be dealt with in the computer
lab. During the course of the class discussions, the
professor tries to guide the students eventually to consider
what the readings and computer activities mean for their
indi vid ual research project.


The first major component of the class is about

historiography and the philosophy of history. For each
week the students read essays by notable historians on
topics about the writing of history and share their
comments about the readings on a computer" conference."
Students can use the computer labs on campus or access
their account on the university computer from their homes,
dorms, or apartments. During the week before the class
Future of Teaching History Research Methods 227

meeting, the students discuss the readings "on-line." The

first two years that the class was taught, the discussions
were conducted on a VAXNotes conference using guest
accounts on a computer at another university.
For the third year, the Texas A&M University-
Kingsville Computer Center established a list ("H-
Methods") restricted to members of the class. A
considerable lead time is necessary to prepare for teaching
such a class. At this university it is necessary to start early
to get the computer staff to establish the list before the
first class meeting if the students are to get full benefits
of the list. It is also necessary for the professor to learn
the functions and operations of being a list manager-well
before the class starts! During the first class meeting, the
first lesson on the computer is to explain e-mail and lists,
and to assist the students in subscribing to the H-Methods
Each week the professor posts a question concerning
one of the essays for the students to discuss for the
upcoming week. He usually posts it (distributes it to the
list) early on the morning after the previous class. The
question concerns some aspect of one of the essays the
students are to read for the week. When students log on
to the university's computer system, they find the question
included in their e-mail. All replies which the students
make to the list are distributed to all members of the class.
The discussion by the students of the topic is a continuous,
asynchronous conversation lasting up to the time of the
meeting of the next class. At the end of each week, the
postings on the list for that week are archived so the
students can retrieve questions or comments on that topic
for further reference.
Student participation in the dialogue on the list varies
as greatly as if the discussion were held in a traditional
228 Teachillg of History

classroom. Some students are very active, posting

numerous answers and adding questions and comments
about postings by other students. Other students are
"minimalists" adding only one posting a week. There are
interesting variations from the participation expected from
students. Some of the students who would usually be
outspoken in class discussions are also active on the list.
But some articulate students seem uncomfortable about the
technology and participate much less on the list than they
would in a classroom setting.
Most interesting, however, are students who are
reluctant to talk in class who became very active in the
discussions on the list. The capability of composing their
answers, pondering about what they were saying, and then
editing their answers before posting seem to make some
usually reticent students more willing to contribute.
Handicapped students, who might otherwise be self-
conscious, have generally been especially active on the list.
The professor observes the discussions on the list, but
does not actively participate. Occasionally, he sends e-mail
messages to individual students about some aspect of their
posting, but does not post comments about an individual
student's answers on the list for everyone to see. The
discussion is meant to be by and for the students with
the professor an omniscient but silent observer. Students
often encourage and discourage each other, moving the
subject along, eliciting further comments, or bringing the
dialogue back to the topic when someone strays.
In general, the students are much more civil than
discussions on many of the lists on the Internet. Students
seem to self-moderate the list themselves. There was only
one occasion when a student made a personal,
unnecessary, and unacceptable comment-to which several
students made replies, discouraging further such
Future of Teaching History Research Methods 229

comments. At the beginning of each class meeting, the

professor tries to solicit further observations about
comments posted during the week. The professor also asks
students about their reactions to other aspects of the
reading and to the other essays read but not included in
the posted question.
Some of the students who were reticent" on line" feel
more comfortable talking in a classroom setting and
actively contribute more to the discussion. Because the
students have already written answers to one question
about the reading, they seem to have more completely
internalised the material. Many seem to know the subject
better for having organised and written about the subject.
It is as if they had completed a take-home essay
examination each week. During the class discussions, the
professor asks the students frequently how the topics being
discussed relate to their individual research project.


A second major component of the class deals with the

methods of history research. Each week the class is
assigned one or more chapters in a textbook on researching
a topic for history. Most evenings the students discuss
aspects of the readings about doing research and describe
progress on their research projects. Each student is
expected to research and write a paper on a topic agreed
to with the professor as an exercise in philosophy and
methods. They are to investigate the topic, locate
documents, interpret the information, synthesize their
conclusions, and demonstrate their mastery by writing a
term paper. This component is expected to be a "history
laboratory" -demonstrating that they were familiar with
the philosophy of history, history research methodology,
and resources available to historians by computer
230 Teaching of History

The professor also assigns himself a research topic

so that he can participate in the discussion-describing
developments on his project during the semester as the
students report on their progress. This is intended to be
teaching by example. It is hoped that the students will
discover a logic to the professor's pursuing particular
avenues of information and will be able to apply the same
approaches to their own research. Although it may be
embarrassing for a professor to admit that some weeks
his research has not been fruitful, it is a valuable and
reassuring lesson for students who are just learning about
the frustration of research, especially in archives and with
primary sources.
To help prepare the students for their research papers,
part of one of the early class meetings is a tour of the
South Texas Archives. The archives are used extensively
by many of the history classes as a teaching "lab" for
research in history. Over the years a variety of projects
have been developed to introduce history majors
especially, but even general undergraduate students in U.s.
history survey classes, to the qualities and utility of
archives. History classes have used the South Texas
Archives to research a variety of local subjects: the
Kingsville Original Townsite Project, The Tombstone
project, La Castaua Project, and The 75th Anniversary
History of Texas A&M University-Kingsville project. Even
if students locate archival collections relevant to their
topics on the Internet, they still need the skills to locate
the specific documents at an archive.
Although students might be familiar with library
research techniques, they are usually unfamiliar with
archival research which requires different and additional
research skills because of the unique way in which the
materials are categorised and filed. In addition to the tour
of the South Texas Archives, a reading is assigned to the
Future oj Teaching History Research Methods 231

students, "Historians and Archivists: Educating the Next

Generation." The tour and the reading are intended to give
students a better understanding of what they should know
about archival practices in order to do research
successfully. Lists of potential topics that might be
successfully researched in this archives are accumulated
with the assistance and cooperation of the archivist. In this
way the archivist can be of more assistance in teaching
students how to ask for assistance in an archives.

Computer Technology
A third major component of the class is a weekly
laboratory presentation about some aspect of computer
technology, followed by a hands-on application of that
skill. During the course of the semester, the students are
expected to employe-mail during the list discussions;
obtain documents by File Transfer Protocol (FTP) from the
National Archives, Library of Congress, Texas State Library
or elsewhere; use on-line public access catalogs; subscribe
to one H-Net list (in addition to the H-Methods list on
the campus); discuss history subjects on Newsgroups;
demonstrate Gopher, Archie, Jughead, and Veronica
searches; and employ W AIS and WWW searches. The
emphasis and examples are on history resources available,
not on other amusing but not relevant features of the
The professor has been interested in finding a book
focusing on the history resources on the Internet. For the
computer laboratory component of the class, there are
many books dealing with the Internet in general which
could be used as textbooks. But many of these books are
technical, very large, expensive, and often deal with a great
deal that is not necessarily useful to history students. For
this part of the class there has been no textbook, but there
are a series of handouts for the students. By the end of
232 Teaching of Histonj

the semester the students will receive approximately thirty-

five handouts, totaling one-hundred pages.
If the topic of the evening is public access catalogs,
for example, approximately thirty minutes will be devoted
to an explanation and demonstration by the professor
followed by a step-by-step handout for the students to
access several catalogs. One handout includes the steps to
access the University of California System (MELVYL) and
other university catalogs. At first the students are taught
to telnet to the libraries because many are able to connect
to the university's computer from home, but lack PPP
accounts. Later in the semester, they access the catalogs
using Netscape Navigator and the World Wide Web.
During the practice session following the professor's
demonstration, the students search MEL VYL for books
relevant to their personal research subject and e-mail the
results to themselves as a beginning for their bibliography.
Another handout is devoted to doing periodical literature
searches in Wilson indexes at the Texas A&M University
Library and in UnCover at CARL.
Because the students are doing original research on
limited local topics so that the documents will be available
in the archives, most of their sources are not found "on-
line." Much of the background and larger context for their
topic, however, is found in the library catalogs, databases,
or other information on the Internet. As archives continue
to automate, more documents will be electronically
available in the future, from even the smallest archives.
Each class session covers topics on the philosophy of
history, methods of research, and computer resources for
historians. The syllabus lists the philosophy of history
readings, topics to be discuss about research methodology,
and computer activities for each class. There is at least
one step-by-step handout for each evening's class dealing
Future of Teachillg History Research Methods 233

with the computer lab topic for the student to add to a

ring binder. In addition to the step-by-step computer
handout, frequently there are handouts on other relevant
The students begin with an "on-line" discussion of
the essay by Macauley on "History and Literature" in the
week before the class meets. When the class meets, there
is a review of the list discussion. The next part of the class
that fourth class evening is an analysis of documents.
There are three handouts: two handouts on documents and
one handout about connecting to public access catalogs.
For the last part of the class, the students practice
telnetting to the library catalogs of the University of
California, Dartmouth, Harvard, Texas A&M University,
and the University of Texas. Computer addresses can
change quickly and the ones included in a handout one
semester often become outdated by the next time the class
is taught. The emphasis in this exercise is upon doing
literature searches for research topics. Obviously, other
public access catalogs could be used instead of the ones
noted above. Frequently the professor asks the students
to consider how to apply what they have just learned to
the data they are locating for their individual research

Other Computer Lab topics

Class discussions of essays by historians and of research
methodology are traditional for such a course and do not
need further elaboration. The computer laboratory
emphasis upon on-line resources for historians is not so
traditional. On one evening the computer lab segment of
the class deals with the topic of File Transfer Protocol
(FTP). The students connect to computers at remote sites
such as the University of North Carolina, Library of
234 Teaching of History

Congress, Marshall University, Mississippi State

University, and elsewhere to retrieve documents. In
addition to the step-by-step handout for that evening class,
a copy of an article by Michael J. McCarthy, "The Historian
and Electronic Research: File Transfer Protocol (FTP)" is
distributed to students.
Another laboratory session deals with lists and
listservs, and the students subscribe to one of the H-Net
lists appropriate for their interest in history. The professor
gives a lengthy description, distinction, and warning about
the difference between the list and the listserv. One
handout for that evening is a copy of the article on "H-
Net lists" in History Microcomputer Review by Kelly
Woestman. In late October, the computer lab exercise deals
with Web sites, and the examples used that evening are
timely, dealing with the Presidential election. The class
uses Professor Woestman's article on political candidates,
parties, and political issues Web sites and Newsgroups.
The students also learn how to telnet to sites which
have a menu of options so that the student can connect to
many different libraries in the United States and at
universities in foreign countries. At Texas A&M
University-Kingsville, the majority of the students in this
class are Mexican-Americans, bilingual, and many are
interested in Latin American history. They learn how to
log on to the Rio Grande Freenet and to use it as a
convenient gateway to Latin American sites through the
Latin American Network Information Center (University
of Texas).
On another evening, the lab is devoted to Archie,
Jughead, and Veronica searches. A demonstration is given
in which "Veronica" at Universidad Nacional Autimoma
de Mexico (UNAM) is used to search for everything in
which the word "museum" appears in the title. After
Future of Teaching Histon) Research Methods 235

several minutes, Veronica displays the first 200 items, but

also shows that she had located a total of 3,582 sites,
including: Maritime Museum of the Great Lakes, Gold
Prospector Museum, National Railway Museum .... The
students then spend the rest of the lab session trying
Archie, Jughead, and Veronica searches of their own.
During the course of their explorations, the students search
for their individual research topics by searching for
"slavery", "railroads", "Civil War", "ranching", or some
other relevant term.
For one evening session, the handout is devoted to
"virtual reference desks." There are many, sites and routes
to those types of resources. The example used is to access
some of the resources through the Rio Grande Freenet.
From that base, the students examine dictionaries,
encyclopedias, U.S. Census Data, Project Gutenberg, the
Complete Works of Shakespeare, and so on. The computer
lab session devotes an evening to an introduction to the
World Wide Web. Web sites are popping up overnight
like mushrooms.
The students receive a handout of several sites to visit
and are encouraged to explore for sites relevant to their
topics. There is too much to cover more than just a basic
introduction to each type of activity, such as FTP, Gopher,
or WWW in each computer lab. For each of the topics
introduced in the computer lab sessions, it is expected that
the student will continue to explore this aspect of
technology for historians in the week following the class
and throughout the remainder of the semester.
Sites on the Internet and the technology to access
them change so fast that handouts become dated before
the next time the class is offered. The professor would like
to prepare all handouts before the class begins so that
students can purchase a complete set from a photocopy-
236 Teachillg of History

store across from campus. It has proved almost impossible

to prepare that far ahead for the class. Handouts prepared
for a specific topic in the summer, when the professor has
the "leisure" to review the overall organisation and
materials for the class, have become partially obsolete by
the time the class session devoted to that topic meets in
November or December.
Evaluation of History Teaching

Eugen Weber once explained the appeal of the work of

such historians as Marc Bloch and Lucien Febvre by saying
that 'books like these opened vast horizons. Here were
new ways of doing history that brought the dead to life.
Where historians used to stop on people's doorsteps, or
timidly ventured to study or salon, Febvre and Bloch
strode in to peer at bedrooms, kitchens, middens, and
beyond them at ways folk thought and felt: mentalites.'
Role-play asks students to consider this level of quotidian
human and topographical detail in the past. It helps
students to see the world as did those once living in it-
through their own words where possible-and thus to
understand something of the difference of the past without
fetishising the otherness of those who lived there.
By dwelling on the nature of human relationships in
the past (indeed, perhaps being inescapably reduced to
them), role-play communicates the humanity of medieval
men and women and focuses student minds on the words
and actions that were possible in the historical scenario
in question. Role-play thus makes students realise that the
outcomes of historical crises and processes have not been
inevitable, but that 'people who live through the actual
238 Teachillg of History

happenings have difficulty in perceiving a pattern; rather,

they often experience a sense of disorder, turbulence, and
The staged 'groping' of the role-play exercise can
produce is a greater 'historical-mindedness' in the student:
it can 'provide students [with] a critical skill that they do
not necessarily learn from listening to a lecture: historical
perspective'. Finally, role-play necessitates a micro-
historical approach in which interrogation of a particular
crisis or debate can illuminate the broader historical
landscape for the benefit of the student's deeper
There seemed to be many pedagogical reasons why
the introduction of such role-play exercises made sense.
The integration of primary source material into the
curriculum and the emphasis on micro-historical episodes
aside, educational researchers have argued that role-play
sharpens students' analytical and presentational skills,
builds confidence, encourages a shift from 'fact to factors'
in their investigation of historical problems, and allows
students to think beyond the accepted versions of historical
developments as they imagine the available choices and
mental frameworks which restricted the actions of
historical agents.
The student responses provided through
questionnaires generally provide a better guide to the
effectiveness of role-play than this attempt to draw
conclusions from student choice and performance in essay
and exam. At least there we can learn, in their own words,
how students felt about the teaching and learning
environment, and consequently we can deduce which
elements of the exercise (or its control counterpart) were
perceived to be most helpful to students' learning. In this
area, our initial suppositions were borne out: students like
Evaluatioll of Histonj Teaching 239

the structure that a role-play exercise offers, and the

accompanying higher participation rates in the discussion;
they like the way in which a close engagement with
primary sources allows a deeper understanding of the
concerns and thought processes of the historical actors
involved and consequently makes conceptual issues (or,
alternatively, the density of detail) easier to understand.
As far as students were concerned, the role-plays
seem to have been effective in humanising the past and
in making comprehensible views and actions that would
otherwise seem alien to them. Harold Gorvine points out,
some time ago from his own teaching experience that role-
play exercises are especially useful for topics concerning
issues and decisions that students find 'immoral', such as
the American government's decision to drop atomic bombs
on Japan in 1945. As he points out, '[t]he aim is not to get
them either to agree or disagree with what was done; they
will do that in any case. Rather, this kind of role playing
may enable them to understand why these men concluded
at the time that such a decision was necessary.'
In all cases, the students also pointed to the more
relaxed and informal atmosphere that many thought
characterised the role-play session (perhaps ironically,
since those sessions were probably more structured than
regular seminars). The least popular elements of role-play
concerned absenteeism among students, a lack of time for
discussion and the slight frustration involved in having
researched only one point of view. Yet, in all cases, it
would seem that the enlivening effect that the role-play
exercise had on the seminar environment heavily
outweighed the latter concern. What do the student
responses in the control cohorts tell us about the
ingredients fur a good seminar? Do they allow us to isolate
the role-play element in determining the answer to that
240 Teachillg of History

In other words, it would seem that students respond

particularly well to a structured case-study approach which
functions as a microcosm for the exploration of broader
issues. Above all, they like a seminar environment in
which all students-and not just the predictable few-are
actively engaged in discussion. Perhaps, then, it is not the
role-play element per se which pleases students, but the
way in which a task-based and structured approach
generally draws more students into the discussion, perhaps
by increasing the sense of group responsibility among
individual students.


What do the student responses tell us about whether some

historical topiCS or scenarios lend themselves better to a
role-play treatment than others? Did the students taking
the medieval courses respond differently from those
studying later modern topics? In general, there was no
discernible difference between the responses of each
category of students. In fact, the student comments on the
questionnaires in particular suggested that both groups of
students liked and disliked exactly the same features of
the role-play and control group seminars. Were there, in
any case, significant differences in how the medievalist
and later modernist role-plays were constructed?
A central feature of the role-plays has been giving
students access to primary source material directly related
to the scenario. It may be that it is the nature of the source
material that determines how well suited to role-play is a
given historical event or scenario. Illustrations of the
venues or landscapes against which the role-play scenario
is supposed to be unfolding also help to build a sense of
immediacy for the students and to illuminate something
of what was possible or likely to occur given the physical
constraints of the environment.
Assessments to Improve the
Teaching and Learning History

A history teacher's curriculum planning, choice of

classroom methodology, and means to assess student
learning are inextricably linked. Forms of assessment that
involve only recall of discrete information are likely to
encourage teaching methods that emphasize low-level
cognition. Further, traditional forms of assessing students'
knowledge of history neither prompt students to reveal
all they know about the subject nor challenge them to learn
more. Thus, teachers and researchers have concluded that
traditional assessments must be complemented by new
methods that can reinvigorate and improve the teaching
and learning of history in schools.


Alternative assessment can be a diagnostic tool to improve

both a teacher's instruction and a student's learning of
history by revealing information about three dimensions
of a student's historical literacy. First, students who
complete alternative assessment activities demonstrate their
knowledge of historical facts, themes, and ideas. Second,
students who complete alternative assessment activities
242 Teaching of History

demonstrate their ability to reason; that is, to analyse,

evaluate, and synthesize historical evidence. And third,
students who complete alternative assessment activities
demonstrate their ability to communicate their historical
knowledge and reasoning to others.
Each dimension of a student's historical literacy has
its own important characteristics that provide the structural
frame teachers need to create an alternative assessment
activity for their students. Knowledge of historical
evidence is the prerequisite students need to demonstrate
their ability in the other two dimensions. The Bradley
Commission's "Vital Themes and Narratives" is a
conceptual scheme that helps students organise their
knowledge of the past. These themes serve as filters to
help students differentiate between what is important and
what is insignificant in the historical record. They provide
direction for students to accurately identify, define, and
describe important concepts, facts, and details.
Historical facts and themes, approached through
informed questions, are points of departure for
demonstrating a student's ability to reason. Reasoning
makes the facts and themes meaningful and thereby brings
about a deeper understanding of the subject. Reasoning
certainly involves critical thinking and requires students
to discover relationships among facts and generalisations,
and values and opinions, as a means to provide a solution
to a problem, to make a judgment, or to reach a logical
Historical reasoning ought to be the principal aim of
historical study and alternative assessment. The National
History Standards (1996, 14-24) distinguish historical
reasoning or thinking and historical understanding. The
latter defines what students should know; the former
makes it possible for students to differentiate between past,
Assessments to Improve the Teaching and Learnillg History 243

present, and future; raise questions; seek and evaluate

evidence; compare and analyse historical illustrations,
records, and stories; interpret the historical record; and
construct historical narratives of their own.
The Bradley Commission's "Habits of Mind" provides
a useful conceptualisation of historical reasoning, such as
the ability of students to understand the significance of
the past and the present to their own lives; to perceive
events and issues as they were experienced by people at
the time; and to recognise the importance of individuals
who have made a difference.
Effective communication of historical knowledge and
historical reasoning requires a student to organise,
interpret, and express his or her thoughts. In recounting
events of the past, a student must develop a clearly
defined thesis and create an interesting narrative that tells
what happened in an informed way. A well-organised
presentation supplies relevant examples to support its
main ideas and offers conclusions and a synthesis based
on an analysis of historical sources. Furthermore, evidence
of a student's knowledge and reasoning must always be
apparent in an effective presentation.
Alternative assessment in history offers a wide variety
of ways for students to communicate their knowledge and
reasoning: analysing a primary source; drawing political
cartoons; creating newspapers; participating in historical
simulations; and writing research papers. As teachers
create assessment activities they should ask the following
Does the activity match my teaching goals?
Does the activity adequately reflect the "Vital Themes
and Narratives" in its organisation of the historical
content and the "Habits of Mind" that I expect my
students to use in thinking about the past?
244 Teachillg of History

Does the activity enable my students to demonstrate

their development in historical knowledge, reasoning,
and communication?
Does the activity motivate students to demonstrate
their capabilities?

Alternative Assessment Activities

For decades, good history teachers have been using

projects and activities requiring students to blend skills
and knowledge across disciplines. Often, the problem has
been assessing the activity. Critics have rightly cautioned
that alternative assessment is susceptible to corruptibility,
possible lack of sensitivity to cultural and linguistic
diversity, and psychometric issues such as generalisability
and reliability. We should be aware of these important
problems, but a more immediate concern for classroom
teachers is: Will the teacher need to create a new rubric
for each assessment activity?
Recently, a generic "History Rubric for Alternative
Assessment" has been developed to help teachers assess
their students' knowledge, reasoning skills, and
communication skills. It is an analytic rubric which allows
a history teacher to assess simultaneously student
performance in each of the three interrelated dimensions:
knowledge, reasoning skills, and communication skills.
Each dimension of the rubric is divided into six levels.
Each level is defined by several criteria which reflect a
student's abilities and skills. Collectively, levels 6, 5, and
4 are designed to differentiate among students whose
knowledge, reasoning skills, and communication skills are
developed. Collectively, 3, 2, and 1 represent knowledge,
reasoning skills, and communication skills that are still
developing. Level 6 represents work of a student who
exhibits the most developed knowledge and skills; level 1
Assessments to Improve the Teaching and Leamillg History 245

represents the work of a student with the lowest level of

developing knowledge and skills.


A "History Rubric for Alternative Assessment" is

especially appropriate and useful for assessment in history
education, because the rubric benefits teachers and
students alike. Teachers know that their students may
perform at a more or less developed level in one
dimension than in another. For example, when a student
analyses a primary source document he or she may
demonstrate knowledge at a level 6, reasoning at a level
5, and communication at a level 3. An analytic rubric
allows teachers to take these differences into account when
assessing their students. An analytic rubric benefits
students by showing them their strengths and weaknesses
in each dimension. Thereby, they learn where they must
place their time and effort to improve their historical
knowledge, reasoning skills, and communication skills.
The effective use of a rubric requires planning and
practice by teachers and students alike. Moreover, teachers
must share the rubric with their students because it
contains the criteria that students will have to meet as they
construct historical knowledge, engage in historical
reasoning, and communicate what they know and
understand. Successful acquisition of knowledge and
development of skills in reasoning and communication
demands that both teachers and students know in advance
the criteria they are seeking in each dimension, and that
the students are coached about the best ways to
demonstrate their abilities. For teachers, the rubric serves
as a diagnostic tool; for students, it establishes the
parameters for attaining success.
246 Teachillg of History

As students attempt initially to meet t,e criteria of

an alternative assessment activity, they may achieve
developed levels (level 6, 5, or 4) in one dimension
(knowledge, reasoning skills, and communication skills),
while achieving a developing level (3,2, or 1) in the other
dimensions. Reference to the rubric during consultation
with their teacher will help students to organise their
historical knowledge and reasoning and to consider ways
to communicate effectively what they know and think
about the past.
Future of Learn and Teach History

Inseparable from content in planning the present-day

history~ curriculum, including its social dimension, is the
issue of skills development. A dichotomy may have been
perceived to exist be~een teaching history and developing
students' cognitive and other types of skills, but the debate
has now shifted to deciding on the emphasis that should
be given to skills' promotion. Enhancing students'
historical awareness and understanding, as well as
fostering their interest in history, remain the key aims. Yet
the issue has to be faced that only a small minority of
students can follow careers in which they are able to use
their historical knowledge to any appreciable extent.
Addressing the skills agenda, however, not only
brings considerable advantage in achieving the key aims,
but also in highlighting the u·se value of history degrees
with regard to employability, especially when the wide
range of occupations into which history graduates go, and
the elevated positions to which they aspire, are taken into
account. In addition to considerations of content selection
and skills development are those of teaching and learning
approaches. Whilst lectures and seminars continue to
predominate, neither are strangers to criticism, particularly
248 Teachillg of History

because they are seen to be ineffective in the learning

process. However, higher education historians are well to
the fore amongst those !\,ho are devising and
implementing more experiential and independent forms
of learning, not least by encouraging students to engage
with primary evidence.
Given the richness and variety of the source material
at their disposal, social historians are well placed to
participate in such activity. Moreover, in history as in other
academic disciplines, active and independent forms of
learning are being facilitated by the growing use of virtual
learning environments, both to enhance provision of the
resources with which students can work and to facilitate
communication within the learning communities of which
they are a part.
Adding to the list of curricular issues that must be
addressed in relation to the future of social history
teaching is that of how students should be assessed.
Discussions about assessment embrace a wide range of
concerns, including, for example, achieving consistency
and transparency in grading students' work, a matter that
seems generally to be addressed with the use of
assessment criteria and accompanying statements of
attainment. But of fundamental concern, too, is the balance
that should be struck between examinations and
coursework and about the form that both should take. In
teaching all types of history, the ways in which these
matters are handled can have a marked impact on student
performance, the more so when they are specifically
addressed in relation to student needs and aspirations.
A final area of consideration remains to be noted. It
concerns the notion of progression. At issue here is how
the teaching of social and other types of history can be
made more challenging for students as they proceed
Future of Leam alld Teach History 249

through their programmes of study. Linked with it is the

concept of differentiation, which deals with the learning
increments that arise from level to level. Determining
progression and differentiation should arguably be linked
to each of the curricular dimensions outlined above.
Statements relating to them are vital in helping
students to appreciate what is required of them as their
historical understanding develops and in helping to ensure
that a reasonable degree of commonality is achieved
amongst teaching teams with regard to these requirements.
The line of argument taken is that enhancing the appeal
and relevance of social history to an undergraduate
clientele will depend on taking careful account of students'
needs, especially in terms of employability, and of
reflecting these needs in both the way the curriculum is
designed and in the learning and teaching approaches that
are adopted.


Whilst the extent to which social history is taught at all

levels of education no doubt varies markedly from one
institution to another, the overall impact it has made in
curriculum terms may well be quite limited. From a United
States perspective, Peter Stearns concedes that notable
progress has occurred, with women and some minority
groups gaining a place in standard history textbooks, but
he remains concerned that social history topics are
"squeezed into a largely conventional political framework,"
sometimes appearing sporadically without the opportunity
for students to analyse major changes over time. He
regrets, too, that "the behavioural findings in social
history-the work on family, on leisure, or manners-
simply don't make it into mainstream teaching agendas
... ," so that "few students gain access to social history's
explanatory power in assessing how current patterns
250 Teachillg of History

emerge from the past." And the scant attention paid to

social dimensions in state history learning standards only
heightens his anxiety.
How far similar observations to those of Stearns may
be made in relation to the progress of social history in the
British educational system is debatable. That, at
undergraduate level, students in British universities can
specialise to a far greater extent in history than their
United States counterparts, plainly gives greater
opportunity for their programmes of study to contain
appreciable amounts of social history. And social history
offerings are certainly well represented in the British
undergraduate history curriculum, though with varying
degrees of emphasis.
Moreover, that course unit planning in Britain tends
not to be so strongly rooted in developing long-period
perspectives on World History and Western Civilisation
helps to give social history a strong curriculum identity
in its own right. Even so, it may be the case in Britain
that long-period course units dealing with world history
still incorporate social history in a limited way, missing
opportunity for students to grapple with such matters as
social causation of events and the influence of social
considerations in determining historical pe-riodisation.
Whatever the extent to which social history is being
tau'ght, and whatever the level of education concerned, the
fundamental question to arise in curriculum planning
terms is precisely how much social history should students
ideally study. Clearly, precise specification is as
unnecessary as it is undesirable. But, as envisaged by
history benchmarking in Britain, some reasonable balance
between different types of history needs to be established.
Achieving such an outcome is fraught with difficulty,
however. Problems associated with how far different types
Future of Learn an~ Teach History 251

of history can anp should be seen as having discrete

boundaries; the extr'etne specialisation that many historians
bring to their teaching, especially, perhaps, in Britain; and
the straightjacket that traditional approaches can impose
on curriculum development, all cloud the issue.
Furthermore, from a student perspective, the question
of whether some broad equality in studying various types
of history, including social history, should be imposed in
programmes of study raises profound concern. An element
of compulsion to meet such an objective may well prove
acceptable, most obviously, perhaps, in the early stages of
programmes when new interests may be aroused and the
marks awarded may not count towards final degree
classification. Yet too much compulsion risks leading to
reluctant learning and to students underperforming. Nor
is excessive compulsion likely to help students gain
growing control of their own learning agendas as they
progress through their programmes of study.
Faced with these fundamental problems, the most
appropriate way forward must surely be to find ways of
ensuring that the study of social history maximises its
appeal to students. In making the selection, one potential
danger that can all too easily be overlooked is that of being
essentially supply led. All historians have their own
specialist interests and there is much to be said for
teaching from research strengths. Yet the enthusiasms of
teacher and taught, even within the confines of particular
types of history, will not necessarily coincide. Moreover,
research interests may well be highly specialised and not
appropriate for early-stage studies, if for later ones. Nor
can it be assumed that any themes that are thought crucial
for students of social history to engage with will
necessarily prove of riveting interest to them, even in the
hands of gifted teachers with bountiful resources at their
252 Teaching of History

At the very least, therefore, there is a need to consider

what themes and issues are likely to be of high use value
in generating interest amongst students. Discussion
between social historians on the matter will certainly prove
fruitful, as will securing the opinions of students who have
actually experienced social history teaching. Themes that
are much discussed with regard to present-day society,
such as social inequality, family break-up and sexual
values, will certainly need consideration, not only because
they are so often of direct relevance to students in their
everyday lives, but also because they are subjects about
which students can be relied upon to have knowledge and
opinions on which they can draw. In the same way that
themes in political history are often used to juxtapose
present with past so too, can those in social history. The
question of how much choice in terms of subject matter
can and should be given to students, even at the
introductory stage of their studies, needs addressing.
It might be objected that too much can be done in
terms of pandering to areas of likely student interest, even
if these can be identified with any certainty. And there is
much to be said for this view if a key aim is for students
to gain a broad appreciation of the nature and concerns
of the subject. Even so, ways have to be found of engaging
students' initial interest in social history and attending to
the introductory content of their programmes of study
provides an important window of opportunity.


Whilst addressing the skills agenda has become part of

the stock-in-trade of higher education history teachers,
whatever their areas of specialisation, questions arise as
to precisely what skills should be taught and how far skills
development should influence the design of the history
curriculum. Fostering historical interest and understanding
Future of Learn and Teach History 253

remain the driving forces, of course, but engaging strongly

with skills development can playa crucial role in achieving
this aim, as well as offering fundamental help to students
in career terms.
This is not the place to offer a detailed discussion of
the nature of skills nor of skills classjfications, though, as
far as any academic discipline is concerned, both need
clarification for curriculum development purposes. What
is of particular concern here is the type of cognitive skills
that students need to acquire if they are to operate
effectively as historians, such as critically analysing
secondary historical literature and evaluating the reliability
of historical evidence. Such skills no doubt have
applicability beyond the academy, especially in the world
of work, albeit for the great majority of students in non-
historical contexts. And included within this group might
be the basic presentational and study skills that
undergraduate students need to acquire, but which they
often lack, including the ability to be grammatically c.orrect,
to take notes and to structure assignments appropriately.
How far historians should be involved in helping
students to acquire these basic skills has become a matter
of growing concern with the move towards mass higher
education and may well require greater attention from
historians even on those undergraduate programmes
where basic skills are purportedly taught elsewhere. The
question also arises as to how far skills that are not vital
in studying history should also be given attention in the
history curriculum. Working in groups provides a good
example. Historical study can certainly provide plentiful
opportunity for students to engage in group work,
enabling them to support one another and, in large
measure, to take responsibility for organising the learning
activities they undertake.
254 Teaching of History

Moreover, learning to work co-operatively within

budget and to deadlines may well be of great value in
providing the type of experience that commonly arises in
the workplace. Yet benefiting from group work is by no
means essential in studying history as an undergraduate,
let alone to securing a good degree result, and r~latively
few history graduates, even in recent years, may have had
experience of working with others to any marked extent.
The notion of essential and non-essential skills in the
study of history leads naturally into the issue of how far
skills development should permeate undergraduate history
courses and course units, including those dealing with
social history. To a greater or lesser extent, each course
unit will pay attention to skills acquisition, and skills
concerned with, say, the analysis of historical issues and
the presentation of findings will figure in all of them. The
question arises, however, as to whether or not some units
should be included in history offerings that have a much
stronger skills orientation than others. They might, for
example, enable students to undertake small-scale
investigations into aspects of social history using various
types of primary evidence, including that derived from
field observation and oral testimony. Furthermore, with
students' future careers in mind, they might relate, say,
to devising practical work of the type that students
intending to become teachers might undertake in schools
with children of varying ag~s.
The key point about ~uch units is that, instead of
being primarily concerned with historical content, they
offer both the opportunity to enhance skills provision and
to emphasise the importance of skills development.
Additionally, skills-orientated units enable students to
engage very directly in historical investigation and to do
so in a sustained manner. With regard to social history,
this point can be particularly well made. In terms. of theme,
Future of Learn and Teach History 255

available source material and investigative approach, socia1

history offers tremendous opportunities for students to
undertake small-scale investigations that vary in nature
and scope, enabling them to learn in depth through
practical experience. That these investigations may be
allowed to reflect students' particular interests only adds
to the value they can have as learning experiences and
hence to the appeal of social history.
Whatever decisions are taken about the inclusion of
skills-orientated units in history programmes, the main
consideration from a student perspective is that enhancing
cognitive skills is of crucial importance in promoting both
historical understanding and employment prospects. The
idea that degrees which include major components of
history are essentially non-vocational may well need
challenging if history undergraduate provision is to thrive
in a higher educational environment that is increasingly
instrumentally driven.
Yet to strengthen this challenge needs consideration
not only of the enhancement of intellectual skills that
studying history brings, but also of the ways in which
skills appreciated by employers can be highlighted in the
activities required of undergraduate history students.
Making reference to external drivers in this way may seem
to be putting the cart before the horse, but the danger of
teaching history without exploring how far a double
coincidence of wants exists between employers and
academics is to miss a key opportunity to demonstrate the
use value that historical study can have.
Whether, as with the inclusion of particular content
dimensions in history programmes, the implementation of
the skills dimension requires the introduction of
compulsion also needs consideration. Much may depend
on whether, in general, course units are designed to
256 Teachillg of History

provide opportunity for students to engage in skills-based

activities, as increasingly appears to be the case. Still the
danger arises that attention to skills enhancement may be
too limited if skills-orientated units are not required and
made part of the compulsory component in history course


Whilst lectures and seminars may well continue to be the

main means by which history undergraduate programmes
are defivered, it seems probable that the tendency to
emphasise experiential and independent forms of learning
will intensify. Such approaches are particularly associated
with students informing their studies through the analysis
of primary source material, vast and growing amounts of
which are readily accessible to !hem, especially in on-line
form. That much of this material can be utilised in
studying social history themes offers a great deal of scope
for social historians to devise and implement these
learning approaches, not only as normal elements in
lectures and seminars, but also through tutorial guidance
in relation to individual student projects.
Because of differences in student numbers, the
introduction of experiential learning normally proves easier
in seminars than in lectures. And the forms that seminars
based on experiential learning can take vary considerably,
examples including pyramiding/'buzz' groups, where a
small group discusses ideas and then shares them with
others, and syndicates, where students discuss issues
working in parallel groups. Accordingly, a less
intimidating environment is created for those who are
verbally reticent, whilst each participant is given greater
opportunity to contribute than would be the case with
whole-class discussions. But group work in seminars also
takes the form of practical workshop activities that require
Future of Leam alld Teach History 257

students to explore historiographical issues with the aid

of primary evidence, the work of each group perhaps
being combined to permit a fuller analysis and to provide
a firmer basis for plenary discussion.
Experiential learning also appears to be gaining
greater favour in lectures, at least in those catering for
relatively small numbers of students. Students questioning
as the lecture proceeds, and giving them the opportunity
to ask questions of the lecturer from time to time, are
examples. So, too, are class debates and the polling of
student opinion that can arise from them. What is
important with these types of activity is that they enable
students to participate more directly in the learning
process than is the case with lectures that depend entirely
on inputs made by the lecturer. Not all students may be
reached through these techniques and some are likely to
engage more strongly than others, but the overall impact
may still be considerable, especially if the contributions
of the more reticent are actively sought and valued as the
lecture series proceeds.
Further opportunities to develop experiential forms
of learning are being increasingly realised through the use
of leT facilities. Provision of primary source material for
use in seminar discussions and workshops, some in data
base and spreadsheet form, offers useful possibilities here.
So, too, do on-line seminars, which involve synchronous
dialogue between the teacher and small groups of students,
and asynchronous discussion, which can involve larger
numbers of students and may require little teacher
intervention. One advantage perceived to arise with the
former is that they improve the quality of discussion, since,
for example, all participants can respond simultaneously
to a point, so no one is put off by having to wait and risk
discussion moving ahead.
258 Teachillg of History

That such students may be less shy on-line seems to

reflect the responsibility they feel they should take because
they are less certain than in a face-to-face situation whether
other students will respond. As to asynchronous
discussions, a major advantage is seen to arise in that they
provide a useful means by which groups of students can
interact with one another outside the confines of
designated face-to-face seminar times. In this way, an
additional means of creating learning groups can be
achieved, enabling students to discuss matters of concern
with each other including and beyond those raised in
seminar discussion. Furthermore, as T. Mills Kelly
suggests, since students now communicate via technology
to an unprecedented degree, they may actually prefer on-
line approaches as a means of enhancing collaborative
The broader advantage that on-line facilitates can
bring with regard to enabling more flexible approaches to
learning also needs recognition. That some provision is
made available in flexible form can be of particular
advantage to students with heavy employment and/or
family commitments. Indeed, students can be freed entirely
from attending face-to-face lectures and seminars, with
tuition being provided for them solely on-line. But
elements of flexibility might be built into many course
units, freeing time for a greater amount of individual
contact with students. Of course, such approaches are not
dependent on using on-line forms of delivery, though on-
line provision can prove highly convenient and cost
effective, especially where substantial visual inputs are


The move towards more experiential forms of learning

history at undergraduate level, especially with regard to
Future of Learn and Teach Histor~1 259

dissertation preparation, coupled with the delivery of the

skills agenda, which has encouraged the growth of
primary-source based activity, brings a far greater
emphasis on assessing students by means of coursework
rather than by examinations. How far this change should
proceed, and what forms coursework assessment might
take, are matters that have inevitably generated a good
deal of discussion amongst historians. Part of the context
for these deliberations has been the shortcomings that
examinations are perceived to have as a means of
assessment, especially in relation to experiential forms of
learning, but there has also been a good deal of discussion
about new ways that students can be assessed when
tackling the skills agenda, with oral assessment being
prominent amongst them.
That traditional written examinations based on
unseen papers are thought to have telling advantages as
a means of assessment, including testing students' ability
to think quickly and to guard against plagiarism, helps to
explain their persistence. Yet they obviously cannot be
used to assess the full range of work that history students
undertake, including oral presentations and dissertations,
as well as having other well-known drawbacks.26
Accordingly, questions arise about how far assessment
practices within history programmes as a whole should
be based on coursework and whether all course-unit
offerings within them should carry the same, or a very
similar weighting between examination and coursework
Institutional practice may well impose constraints on
how far particular types of assessment can be utilised, but,
in as far as freedom of choice is available, much might be
achieved by considering assessment practices from the
perspective of their potential use value to students. Take
oral assessment, for example. It is highly likely that
260 Teaching of History

graduate history students in their working lives will be

required to make periodic oral presentations. To give them
experience in so doing, seminar presentations can be given
a significant assessment weighting, with feedback being
offered on strengths and weaknesses. The aims here might
extend beyond those of developing oral skills into such
matters as confidence building and reflection. The same
type of argument might be used in relation to other forms
of assessment, such as group work and report writing.
Viewed from an employment perspective, the
relevance of the traditional dependence in undergraduate
history programmes on assessing students according to
their essay writing skills, both in examinations and in
coursework assignments, may be questioned. How often
in their future working lives will students be called upon
to write essays? It may be that the skills involved in essay
writing are, to an appreciable extent, transferable to report
writing, certainly in relation to structuring information,
maintaining relevance, synthesising and engaging in
analysis. Yet report writing can require the application of
skills that are not necessarily gained to any appreciable
extent in writing historical essays, such as summarising
and commenting on statistical data. Moreover, oral skills
still need to be enhanced with future employment
demands in mind, even though the temptation to assess
every utterance that a student makes must plainly be
How far higher education historians would wish to
proceed along the lines of implementing a more demand-
driven assessment model, and how far they would be
prepared to assess summatively other than by essay
writing, will no doubt vary appreciably from individual
to individual. Yet to consider types of assessment from
the student perspective at least gives opportunity to decide
whether amendments to existing practice might be usefully
Future of Leam alld Teach History 261

made. And that students who do not score particularly

good, marks in examinations may well attain higher
performance levels by undertaking various types of
coursework also needs recognition.


In curriculum planning terms, an additional consideration

with regard to each of the curricular dimensions so far
considered is that of progression. The essential point is
how can the activities undertaken by history students,
including those studying social history, be made more
academically challenging for them as they proceed through
their programmes of study. Of concern, too, is the question
of differentiation, which deals with the variations in terms
of academic challenge that are incorporated from level to
level within these programmes. And these variations are
articulated both with regard to the type of demands they
make on students and the degree of change they bring.
Unless these issues are addressed and articulated,
neither staff nor students will have a clear idea of how
expectations change from level to level. Furthermore,
unless considered in relation to each of the main curricular
dimensions, opportunity to develop the maximum
potential they can offer in enhancing the student learning
experience will be lost. Beginning with content, the well-
known tendency is to move from broadly-based provision
to more specialist study, perhaps thematic in nature and/
or occupying a relatively short time period.
Such an approach can be seen to have (advantage in
that broadly-based introductory study provides the
contextual knowledge and understanding that students
need to move effectively into more specialist study; may
well awaken new interests amongst students; helps
students to make informed choices about their subsequent
262 Teachillg of History

programmes of study; can have particular value for

students who have little or no historical background,
including United States students enrolled on liberal arts
or pre-professional programmes.
To provide an entire diet of such units may achieve
desirable objectives but, equally, others may be overlooked

or underplayed, such as providing opportunity to

undertake in-depth historical investigation using primary
evidence. Moreover, whether the interest factor is likely
to remain high amongst students when only broadly-based
provision is made available may be doubted.
As far as the ways in which progression in skills-
based provision is achieved in history programmes is
concerned, insights can be gained by considering how
history courses involve students in the appreciation and
use of primary evidence. In terms of enhancing the skills
that historians need to deploy, history programmes that
increasingly require students to utilise primary evidence
in more sophisticated ways clearly make greater demands
on them; in effect, students are being asked to work in
the manner of research historians, albeit at a less
sophisticated level of competence. To cite one possibility,
students may be required to move from a position where,
having become highly proficient in evaluating the
reliability of various types of historical evidence, and
considering the type of contexts in which it is used, they
deploy this evidence critically to appraise differing
historiographical perspectives.
In terms of devising skills-based progressions based
on using primary evidence, there may be much to be said
for beginning planning activity with a consideration of
what will be expected of students during the final stages
of their studies. At the forefront of thought may be the
skills that students will need to have acquired to cope
satisfactorily with preparing a final-level dissertation of
their choosing.

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Crowley, P. and Drake, F. D., Teaching History in Inclusive Settings,
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Guerin, G.R., Improving instruction for students at risk: Using
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Kinder, D. and Bursuck, W., "History strategy instruction:
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Kinder, D. and Bursuck, W., "The search for a unified social
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264 Teaching of History

Ware, J. and Peacey, N., "'We're doing history": what does it

mean?', British Journal of Special Education 20,(2), pp. 65-69,
Wilson, D. R., InclusiVe C::urricllla: History and Special Educational
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Teaching History 32, pp. 11-13, 1982.

Association for Supervision and High school history teaching 32

Curriculum Development Historical maps 63
(ASCD)42 History curriculums 45
Atlas maps 63 Human rights education 184

Bloch, Marc 237 Interstate New Teacher Assess-

Book navigation exercises 3 ment and Support Consor-
Bosnia's prewar 175 tium (INTASC) 36

Carnegie Academy for the K-12 classroom history teachers

Scholarship of Teaching and 215
Learning (CASTL) 125 K-grad classrooms 43
Cemeteries 49 Kolb's learning cycle 150
Census records 54
Council for Basic Education (CBE) Limited English proficiency (LEP)
42 38
Council for Curriculum, Examina-
tions and Assessment Maps 61
(CCEA) 189 Modernist role-plays 240
Critical Thinking Questions 53
Cypriot representation 203 National Assessment of Educa-
tional Progress (NAEP) 26
Documents 57 National Association of State
Domain-Specific Knowledge 221 Directors of Teacher Educa-
tion and Certification
Face-to-face lectures 258 (N ASDTEC) 34
Febvre, Lucien 237 National Board for Professional
Flash movies 122 Teaching Standards '
(NBPTS) 35
German secondary education 126 National Council for Accredita-
Guatemalan Historical Clarifica- tion of Teacher'Education
tion Commission (CEH) 179 (NCATE)34
266 Teaching of Histonj

National Council for the Social Shikaya 174

Studies (Ness) 35 Sizer, Theodore 31
National Endowment for the Slavin, Robert 31
Humanities (NEH) 33 Story-telling 15
National History Education
Network (NHEN) 40 Talk therapy 176
No Child Left Behind Act 28 Text breaker 7
Nuffield Exeter Extending Timelines 69
Literacy project (EXEL) 9 TopfotoVisual images 11
Topographic maps 63
Off-Site Study 44
Organisation of American Histori- Venn diagram 64
ans (OAH)40 Viking raids 11
Visual images 60
Pictorial note-taking 9
Political maps 63 Weber, Eugen '137
Post-World War II 176 Western civilisation 250
World History 250
Seminars 258 World War II 126