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Teaching History for the Common Good / Edition 1

Teaching History for the Common Good / Edition 1

by Keith C. Barton, Linda S. Levstik

ISBN-10: 0805839313

ISBN-13: 9780805839319

Pub. Date: 04/08/2004

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

In Teaching History for the Common Good, Barton and Levstik present a clear overview of competing ideas among educators, historians, politicians, and the public about the nature and purpose of teaching history, and they evaluate these debates in light of current research on students' historical thinking. In many cases, disagreements about what should be taught


In Teaching History for the Common Good, Barton and Levstik present a clear overview of competing ideas among educators, historians, politicians, and the public about the nature and purpose of teaching history, and they evaluate these debates in light of current research on students' historical thinking. In many cases, disagreements about what should be taught to the nation's children and how it should be presented reflect fundamental differences that will not easily be resolved. A central premise of this book, though, is that systematic theory and research can play an important role in such debates by providing evidence of how students think, how their ideas interact with the information they encounter both in school and out, and how these ideas differ across contexts. Such evidence is needed as an alternative to the untested assumptions that plague so many discussions of history education.

The authors review research on students' historical thinking and set it in the theoretical context of mediated action--an approach that calls attention to the concrete actions that people undertake, the human agents responsible for such actions, the cultural tools that aid and constrain them, their purposes, and their social contexts. They explain how this theory allows educators to address the breadth of practices, settings, purposes, and tools that influence students' developing understanding of the past, as well as how it provides an alternative to the academic discipline of history as a way of making decisions about teaching and learning the subject in schools.

Beyond simply describing the factors that influence students' thinking, Barton and Levstik evaluate their implications for historical understanding and civic engagement. They base these evaluations not on the disciplinary study of history, but on the purpose of social education--preparing students for participation in a pluralist democracy. Their ultimate concern is how history can help citizens engage in collaboration toward the common good.

In Teaching History for the Common Good, Barton and Levstik:
*discuss the contribution of theory and research, explain the theory of mediated action and how it guides their analysis, and describe research on children's (and adults') knowledge of and interest in history;
*lay out a vision of pluralist, participatory democracy and its relationship to the humanistic study of history as a basis for evaluating the perspectives on the past that influence students' learning;
*explore four principal
"stances" toward history (identification, analysis, moral response, and exhibition), review research on the extent to which children and adolescents understand and accept each of these, and examine how the stances might contribute to--or detract from--participation in a pluralist democracy;
*address six of the principal "tools" of history (narrative structure, stories of individual achievement and motivation, national narratives,
inquiry, empathy as perspective-taking, and empathy as caring); and
*review research and conventional wisdom on teachers' knowledge and practice, and argue that for teachers to embrace investigative,
multi-perspectival approaches to history they need more than knowledge of content and pedagogy, they need a guiding purpose that can be fulfilled only by these approaches--and preparation for participatory democracy provides such purpose.

Teaching History for the Common Good is essential readi

Product Details

Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
1 - 17 Years

Table of Contents

1A Sociocultural Perspective on History Education1
Using Theory and Research to Make Sense of History Education3
The Four Stances: Purpose and Practice in Learning History7
Tools for Making Sense of the Past10
Children and Adults as Active Agents of Historical Learning12
Contexts of Historical Learning17
2Participatory Democracy and Democratic Humanism25
The Need for a Rationale for History Education26
Public Education and Democratic Citizenship28
Education for Democratic Participation35
3The Identification Stance45
Identification With Personal and Family History46
National Identification48
Identification of the Present With the National Past54
Identification, Participation, and Pluralism57
4The Analytic Stance69
The History of the Present70
Learning Lessons From the Past75
Learning How Historical Accounts Are Created82
5The Moral Response Stance91
Remembrance and Forgetting92
Fairness and Justice97
Heroes and Heroism102
6The Exhibition Stance110
Exhibition as Personal Fulfillment111
Exhibition as Accountability113
Exhibition as Service to Others118
7Narrative Structure and History Education129
The Meaning of Narrative129
Students and Historical Narratives132
Affordances and Constraints of Narrative136
Narrative Structure as a Cultural Tool139
8Narratives of Individual Achievement and Motivation150
The Role of Individual Narratives in History Education151
The Appeal and Limitations of Individual Narratives154
Individual Narratives as a Cultural Tool159
9The Story of National Freedom and Progress166
Appropriation of the U.S. National Narrative167
Diversity in Use of the National Narrative171
Affordances and Constraints of the Narrative of Freedom and Progress177
Inquiry as Reflective Thought186
Affordances of Inquiry as a Tool188
Students Engaging in Inquiry: Problems and Possibilities191
The Tool of Inquiry and Its Component Parts197
11Historical Empathy as Perspective Recognition206
The Components of Historical Empathy208
A Sense of "Otherness"210
Shared Normalcy211
Historical Contextualization213
Multiplicity of Historical Perspectives215
Contextualization of the Present218
The Constraint of Empathy as Perspective Recognition221
12Empathy as Caring228
Varieties of Care in History Education229
Caring About229
Caring That232
Caring For234
Caring To237
The Place of Care in the Tool Kit of History Education240
13Teacher Education and the Purposes of History244
Teacher Knowledge and Education Reform245
The Pedagogical Content Knowledge of History Teachers246
Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Classroom Practice248
The Practice of History Teaching252
The Role of Purpose in History Teaching254
Changing the Practice of History Teaching258
Author Index267
Subject Index275

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