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Learning history in an enquiry and source-based practice: What do students need to learn in relation to second-order concepts to be able to handle historical sources?
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Communication, Culture and Diversity (CCD).
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this thesis, results from three studies and a reanalysis have been combined to provide knowledge of what students need to learn in relation to the second-order concepts of evidence, historical empathy and causation, for them to be able to handle historical sources and construct accounts. Data has been collected in two intervention studies conducted in collaboration with a group of upper secondary teachers. In these interventions, the research group used Learning Study (Marton & Pang, 2003) as the approach to explore two objects of learning framed around causal reasoning and historical sources in the context of Imperialism and Decolonization in Africa. Data include documentation from the research group’s meetings, interviews, a pre-survey, assignments, lesson material and video recordings (15 lessons in total).

To answer the research questions in the individual articles, a composed analysis has been undertaken in different stages, and this was built on theoretical assumptions from variation theory (Marton, 2015) and the historical thinking tradition. Variation theory was used to identify and categorize qualitatively different conceptions for the objects of learning in terms of discernment. What developed knowledge may entail in relation to the objects of learning was informed by the theoretical framework of the historical thinking tradition. Combined, this made it possible to identify specific aspects assessed as critical for students to be able to undertake qualitative causal reasoning and handle historical sources with quality. In the reanalysis, these aspects were compared with different conceptualizations and research findings regarding students’ understanding of evidence, historical empathy, and causation to analyze what dimensions students need to discern to be able to pursue source-based enquiry and construct accounts.

In relation to historical sources, the results show that this ability to a large extent but not completely equates that students have an understanding and the capacity to undertake actions associated with evidence and historical empathy. It is suggested that this ability encompasses five interrelated dimensions: Epistemological understanding, Alteration of perspective, Contextual knowledge, Relational approach to source criticism and finally Combining contextual knowledge and sources to construct evidence.

In relation to historical accounts focused on causation, the results again suggest that this ability holds five partly interrelated dimensions that students need to encompass: Epistemological understanding, Contextual knowledge, Temporal frameworks, Interrelationships and relative significance and lastly Actors and societal structures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication , 2022. , p. 182
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar från Högskolan för lärande och kommunikation, ISSN 1652-7933 ; 040
Keywords [en]
history teaching, historical thinking, historical sources, second-order concepts, evidence, historical empathy, causation, variation theory, critical aspects, learning study
National Category
Didactics History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-55686ISBN: 978-91-88339-48-5 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88339-49-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-55686DiVA, id: diva2:1631809
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-01-25 Created: 2022-01-25 Last updated: 2023-11-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Student understanding of causation in History in relation to specific subject matter - Causes behind the scramble for Africa
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Student understanding of causation in History in relation to specific subject matter - Causes behind the scramble for Africa
2018 (English)In: Historical Encounters: A journal of historical consciousness, historical cultures and history education, E-ISSN 2203-7543, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 76-89Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this paper is to contribute with knowledge for what students might need to learn to master casual reasoning regarding specific subject matter (the scramble for Africa). The History-didactical framework originates from the Historical Thinking tradition. Data has been derived from a Learning Study and consists of a total number of 138 pre- and post-assessments. Results showed the following aspects to be critical for the participating students' ability to reason on causation in relation to the scramble: 1. Discern that the scramble had causes. 2. Discern that claims for what caused the scramble need support from evidence. 3. Discern that the scramble had both long-term and short-term causes. 4. Discern the chronological structure relating to the scramble not to confuse causes and consequences. 5. Discern that the scramble had composite causes of differing importance. 6. Discern that the scramble was caused by interaction between societal structures and the actions from historical actors. A value in these findings is that they can contribute with empirically tested knowledge for what students might need to learn when causation is investigated in relation to specific subject matter. Another value is that the critical aspects found are extracted through a combined analysis of the character of the ability, curricular demands and the analysis of students' conceptions before and after research-lessons. Thereby they can hopefully support planning and implementation of teaching.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Newcastle, 2018
Keywords
Causation, Critical aspects, Second-order concepts, Student conceptions
National Category
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41205 (URN)000437048600006 ()2-s2.0-85049433288 (Scopus ID)POA;;41205 (Local ID)POA;;41205 (Archive number)POA;;41205 (OAI)
Available from: 2018-08-22 Created: 2018-08-22 Last updated: 2024-01-10Bibliographically approved
2. Students’ understanding of historical sources – A composite ability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Students’ understanding of historical sources – A composite ability
2019 (English)In: Nordidactica: Journal of Humanities and Social Science Education, ISSN 2000-9879, no 1, p. 105-131Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates what students need to learn, to be able to interpret and evaluate sources, in relation to specific subject matter addressing Imperialism and Decolonization. The History-didactical framework used stems from the Historical Thinking tradition and the method applied is a textual analysis informed by theoretical assumptions originating from Variation theory. Data is derived from assignments generated in two Learning Studies undertaken in a Swedish upper secondary school. Specific aspects were identified as critical for our students’ ability to handle the sources in a composite manner. On a more general level results indicate that the application of source-criticism only in the form of source-critical criteria is not the ideal choice, since their design not necessarily seem to encourage students to interpret and evaluate sources from a composite standpoint. A proposal given is that the development of students’ ability to handle historical sources might benefit if Swedish history instruction adopted elements associated with the second order concept of evidence and allowed such practices to complement usage of  source-critical criteria.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: CSD Karlstad, 2019
Keywords
Historical thinking, Historical sources, Evidence, Source-critical criteria, Student ideas, Critical aspects
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-43701 (URN)POA HLK 2019 (Local ID)POA HLK 2019 (Archive number)POA HLK 2019 (OAI)
Available from: 2019-05-20 Created: 2019-05-20 Last updated: 2023-11-14Bibliographically approved
3. Building on student conceptions in the design of history instruction addressing sources: A learning study in upper secondary school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Building on student conceptions in the design of history instruction addressing sources: A learning study in upper secondary school
2020 (English)In: International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, ISSN 2046-8253, E-ISSN 2046-8261, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 101-125Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to convey findings of how a source-based unit in history can be designed and implemented on the basis of identified critical aspects using principles from variation theory set in relation to a specific didactical framework. This paper also reports on the learning outcomes of implementing such a design.

Design/methodology/approach: Data were generated in the context of learning study research undertaken in collaboration with teachers within upper secondary school. The paper uses data from pre- and post-assignments and research lessons for one of the participating teachers and his class.

Findings: Findings show that if the design and implementation of a source-based unit is informed by critical aspects, teachers have improved prospects to enhance students’ ability to interpret and evaluate sources. This is achieved by applying a didactical framework consisting of orientation, template practice and dialogues, allowing these aspects to be addressed several times under different arrangements.

Originality/value: Few studies have considered the implications of student conceptions for the design of source-based history instruction. This paper contributes with a proposal for a design informed by critical aspects and also investigates the learning outcomes of implementing such instructions. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2020
Keywords
Critical aspects, Didactical framework, Historical sources, Historical thinking, Learning study, Student conceptions, Student learning, Variation theory
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-47218 (URN)10.1108/IJLLS-05-2019-0047 (DOI)000501702200001 ()2-s2.0-85076569036 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2020-01-02 Created: 2020-01-02 Last updated: 2023-11-14Bibliographically approved

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