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Student understanding of causation in History in relation to specific subject matter - Causes behind the scramble for Africa
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Communication, Culture and Diversity (CCD).
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. Vol. 5, no 1, p. 76-89
Keywords [en]
Causation, Critical aspects, Second-order concepts, Student conceptions
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-41205ISI: 000437048600006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85049433288Local ID: POA;;41205OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-41205DiVA, id: diva2:1240697
Available from: 2018-08-22 Created: 2018-08-22 Last updated: 2024-01-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. 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?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>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?
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
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:nbn:se:hj:diva-55686 (URN)978-91-88339-48-5 (ISBN)978-91-88339-49-2 (ISBN)
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-01-25 Created: 2022-01-25 Last updated: 2023-11-14Bibliographically approved

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