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History in the Service of Mankind: International Guidelines and History Education in Upper Secondary Schools in Sweden, 1927–2002
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. (History and Education)
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Historia i mänsklighetens tjänst : internationella riktlinjer och svensk gymnasieundervisning i historia, 1927–2002 (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In this study the guidelines of the League of Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe are investigated in relation to Swedish national curricula, teachers’ perceptions of and students’ work in history, from 1927 to 2002.

Inspired by John I Goodlad’s notions of curricula and implementation, the formulation of history is studied. The ideological curricula are analyzed via the international guidelines directed to Swedish history teaching. The formal curricula are examined in national guidelines and also how history is formulated in final examinations and inspectors’ reports. The perceived curricula are studied in teachers’ debates and interviews with experienced teachers. The experiential curricula are examined through looking at students’ choices of topics in final exams, 1,680 titles of students’ individual projects in history and an in-depth analysis of 145 individual projects written between 1969 and 2002.

The study shows that the means and goals of history education have been formulated in both different and similar ways within and between curricular levels.  On all the curricular levels studied the history subject has become more internationally oriented. After World War II national history landed in the background and the world history, favored by UNESCO, became dominant in Sweden from the 1950s onwards. Despite the fact that the Council of Europe’s Euro-centrism became more prominent in the 1994 syllabus in history, students still preferred world history over European history. International and national guidelines also stressed the value of paying heed to marginalized groups, local cultural heritage and contemporary history.  These orientations were also represented in the teachers’ views of history teaching and in the students’ work in history.

The results of the study suggest that the implementation of the international guidelines were more than a top-down process. During the entire period studied, guidelines have been formulated and transacted, but also reinterpreted and in some cases, ignored. Teachers and students seem to have been co-creators in the transformation of history education.

History as a subject, according to the study, encompassed an ever expanding geographical area and more and more perspectives. Not least on the student level, the subject was formulated and dealt with in manifold ways, often oriented towards contemporary world history. Students’ history had great similarities with the international notion of history education in the service of mankind. Students expressed a rejection of war, an understanding of minorities and a wish to safeguard the local cultural heritage. Even if there were exceptions, students’ history appears to have been influenced by international understanding during a century filled with conflicts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2011. , 80 p.
Series
Umeå studies in history and education, 5
Keyword [en]
history teaching, League of Nations, UNESCO, Council of Europe, curriculum
National Category
History Didactics Educational Sciences
Research subject
didactics of history; didactics of history
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43817ISBN: 978-91-7459-185-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-43817DiVA: diva2:416184
Public defence
2011-06-10, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
History Beyond Borders: The International History Textbook Revision, 1919–2009
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-3419
Available from: 2011-05-11 Created: 2011-05-10 Last updated: 2014-11-14Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. International reformation of Swedish history education 1927–1961: The complexity of implementing international understanding
Open this publication in new window or tab >>International reformation of Swedish history education 1927–1961: The complexity of implementing international understanding
2011 (English)In: Journal of world history, ISSN 1045-6007, E-ISSN 1527-8050, Vol. 22, no 2, 329-354 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study shows how the international efforts for reforming history teaching, by the League of Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, were both neglected and implemented, prior to and after the Second World War. International intentions towards international understanding and away from nationalism, were transferred, interpreted and also influenced by teachers’ and students’ views of history. International understanding and non-European history–but not intercultural history–became a dominant line in the Swedish curriculum in a complex top-down and bottom-up process.

Keyword
international guidelines, implementation, curriculum, history teaching, world history, UNESCO, Council of Europe, students
National Category
History Didactics
Research subject
didactics of history; didactics of history
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43774 (URN)10.1353/jwh.2011.0041 (DOI)
Projects
History Beyond Borders
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-3419
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form

Available from: 2011-05-10 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2013-03-15Bibliographically approved
2. UNESCO and Council of Europe Guidelines, and History Education in Sweden, c. 1960-2002
Open this publication in new window or tab >>UNESCO and Council of Europe Guidelines, and History Education in Sweden, c. 1960-2002
2011 (English)In: Education Inquiry, ISSN 2000-4508, Vol. 2, no 1, 37-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study, international recommendations for history education issued by UNESCO and the Council of Europe are compared with the construing of history in national guidelines, teachers’ perceptions and the results of students’ work in history in Sweden. The study shows how history education from the 1960s onwards could be critical and oriented towards minorities in a global world, clearly in line with the recommendations of UNESCO. International understanding, unity in diversity and safeguarding the local heritage in many ways became part of students’ historical consciousness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2011
Keyword
history teaching, international guidelines, curriculum, teachers, students, historical consciousness
National Category
Pedagogical Work History Didactics
Research subject
didactics of history; didactics of history
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43766 (URN)
Projects
History Beyond Borders; Historia utan gräns
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-3419
Available from: 2011-05-10 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2013-05-28Bibliographically approved
3. The Contemporary Turn: Debate, Curricula and Swedish Students’ History
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Contemporary Turn: Debate, Curricula and Swedish Students’ History
2012 (English)In: Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society, ISSN 2041-6938 (e-print 2041-6946), Vol. 4, no 1, 40-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the Swedish media during 2010 a proposal for a new syllabus for history was criticized for emphasizing contemporary history at the expense of ancient history. The present study shows how UNESCO and the Council of Europe’s guidelines, like the national curriculum and guidelines and students’ work since the 1950s, have increasingly focused on contemporary history. In the 1930s graduating students chose to focus mainly on the early modern era, but from 1950 contemporary history became more and more dominant in students’ work. Even though history and civics were given separate status as school subjects in 1961, students’ work in history continued to focus contemporary subjects. This study shows that the dominance of contemporary history in students’ history is by no means a new phenomenon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Berghahn Journals, 2012
Keyword
UNESCO, Council of Europe, curriculum, history teaching, debate, teachers, students, contemporary history.
National Category
History Didactics
Research subject
didactics of history; didactics of history
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-43776 (URN)10.3167/jemms.2012.040104 (DOI)
Projects
History Beyond Borders
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-3419
Available from: 2011-05-10 Created: 2011-05-09 Last updated: 2013-03-27Bibliographically approved
4. Erfarna lärares historiedidaktiska insikter och undervisningsstrategier
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Erfarna lärares historiedidaktiska insikter och undervisningsstrategier
2009 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
Experienced teachers insights and strategies in history teaching
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study has been to investigate, through the narratives of ex-perienced teachers, insights and strategies in the teaching of history in upper secondary school. Based on a flexible grounded theory, life history and theories of pedagogical content knowledge, seven experienced history teachers have been interviewed about their conceptions of history teaching.

Development of insights into history teaching and the formation of knowledge can be described as involving both a refinement of practice and more revolutionary turning points. These insights emphasize that good knowledge of the subject is central for legitimacy and creativity. History teaching in Sweden is described as increasingly international and contem-porary, and focussed on students’ learning from various points of view. Varied teaching is stressed with the teacher in centre and also being able to take the role of arranger. Of importance is also the handling of teaching in history as a foundation course as well as an advanced or specialized course.

Influences from other subjects have had a diverse impact at the same time as personal interests and experiences, as well as external influences, have been important for the development of strategies. History teachers’ teaching strategies may be described in terms of 1) multiperspectivity, where different points of view and interpretations of history are central; 2) narrative history, where through both major and minor stories, a chronological structure and animation of the subject of history are strived after; 3) social scientific history, which uses history to explain contemporary society through making comparisons and seeking general patterns; and 4) an eclectic strategy, which strives after varieties of an individualised teaching of history by allowing students to make their ways into history in diverse ways. The experienced history teachers’ narratives make evident how the subject of history can be transformed, they demonstrate different conceivable ways of teaching history and reveal its complexity.

The teachers’ narratives show how, through their strategies in interaction with their insights in history teaching, they have created an overview and structure in the complex reality of teaching history. The teachers’ insights and strategies constitute a practice based contribution to a more experience informed practice and research on the teaching of history.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2009. 119 p.
Series
Skrifter från institutionen för historiska studier, ISSN 1651-0046 ; 2
Keyword
insights, teaching strategies, transformation, experience informed practice, wisdom of practice, history teaching, experienced teachers, life history, grounded theory, pedagogical content knowledge, historiedidaktik, ämnesdidaktik, undervisning, erfarna lärare, ämnesdidaktik, grounded theory, livsberättelse, transformering, pedagogical content knowledge, insikter, undervisningsstrategier, erfarenhetsinfomerad praktik, historieundervisning
National Category
History Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1976 (URN)978-91-7264-719-0 (ISBN)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-01-23 Created: 2009-01-23 Last updated: 2014-11-14Bibliographically approved

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