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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Historical content, historical methods and historical orientation are three aspects that may be taught in history education.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 The results show that the curricula of history education contains historical content, orientation and methods, yet history teachers focus almost exclusively on the historical content.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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8. Conclusions

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173 8. Conclusions In this final chapter, the research questions stated in the introduction will be discussed in relation to the aims of the thesis. First, what characterizes the his- tory subject that is offered to students in the Swedish upper-secondary school? Second, what strategies do students use when they handle a task that relates to historical content, historical methods and temporal orientation? The chapter begins with a description and discussion of the characteristics found in two history syllabi from 1994 and 2011 and in the teacher-made tasks. Thereafter, I describe and discuss the similarities and differences found between the syllabi and the teacher-made tasks. A discussion will then follow on the fourth research question. The chapter ends with some conclusions drawn on the basis of the results in the thesis and what implications this has in relation to his- tory education, syllabi and further research. Characteristics of two Swedish history syllabi Both the syllabi from 1994 and 2011 address all five curriculum emphases used as analytical categories in this thesis. However, although the two syllabi have items that address each of the emphases, there are some discernable differenc- es between the extents to which the different emphases are addressed in them. These differences can help visualize the characteristics of the two syllabi. The notion that students should engage in acts of temporal orientation is identified in several history syllabi. Kölbl and Konrad identify temporal orienta- tion between the present, the past and the future in several German syllabi....

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