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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Historical content, historical methods and historical orientation are three aspects that may be taught in history education.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 The results show that the curricula of history education contains historical content, orientation and methods, yet history teachers focus almost exclusively on the historical content.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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6. Characteristics of teacher-made tasks

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81 6. Characteristics of Teacher-made Tasks The second research question addresses what characteristics can be identified in the teachers’ assessments. As with the goals and criteria in the previous section, each of the tasks in the teacher-made tests will be categorized to one of the five curriculum emphases. This categorization will be made with the same analytical framework used to categorize the items in the syllabus. The characteristics of the teacher-made tasks will be visualized in two steps. In the first of these two steps, I will present how the tasks in the teacher-made tests have been categorized in relation to the five curriculum emphases. In the second step, the analysis is con- ducted by an examination of the alignment between syllabus items and teacher- made tasks. This means to examine the extent to which each of the items in the syllabus are addressed in the teacher-made tasks. In the process of making this comparison, I discuss and motivate how the tasks have been analysed in order to make the process as transparent as possible. Teacher-made tasks and curriculum emphasis The result of the categorization can be seen in table 2. In addition to the 940 tasks in the table, there were five tasks that were not possible to categorize in any of the five curriculum emphases. Out of the 940 tasks, 877 are categorized as addressing the emphasis of historical content. These tasks address historical events, years and processes. The first emphasis, concerning students’ capability to formulate historical questions...

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