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History Education as Content, Methods or Orientation?

A Study of Curriculum Prescriptions, Teacher-made Tasks and Student Strategies

David Rosenlund

Historical content, historical methods and historical orientation are three aspects that may be taught in history education. This study examines the emphases which are included in formal curricula texts and those which are included in teacher-made tasks. The results show that the curricula of history education contains historical content, orientation and methods, yet history teachers focus almost exclusively on the historical content. In a second step, this study examines the strategies with which students may process and combine elements from the three emphases of content, orientation and methods. The results provide insight into what strategies the students use and how they process the relationship between historical knowledge, historical methods and historical orientation.


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5. Characteristics of the 1994 history syllabus


69 5. Characteristics of the 1994 History Syllabus The first research question addresses the characteristics of the history syllabus (as commissioned by the Swedish National Agency for Education). The syllabus that will be examined in this chapter is for the course, History A, from the 1994 curriculum.132 There was a revision of this syllabus in 2000, and it is this revised version that I refer to throughout the thesis. However, because the official name of the syllabus did not change, I will still refer to it as the syllabus of 1994. To address each of the goals and criteria that constitute the syllabus of History A, they will be related to, and categorized by, one of the five curriculum emphases of history education as defined in chapter 2. To categorize the items in the syllabus and the tasks in teacher-made tests (the tasks are addressed in chapter 6), an analytical framework is used. This frame- work consists of the five curriculum emphases and the two categories of epis- temic stances, the copier stance and the criterialist stance. The first emphasis, historical questions, relates to the framing of historical questions. To this em- phasis, items from the syllabus are categorized which state that students should engage in the formulating of historical questions. The second emphasis addresses historical content, the so-called facts, meaning the dates, events, processes, et cet- era. These historical phenomena are characterized by being temporarily situated. In the third emphasis, historical methods, items that address source criticism, interpretations of...

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