Archives de Tag: history education

CALL FOR PAPERS: London Review of Education // Young people, national narratives and history education (Deadline: January, 2016)

Young Québécois, National Narrative, and History Education

Photos from Dec. 1 event

Is a Little Knowledge a Dangerous Thing? Young People, National Narratives and History Education

Professor Jocelyn Létourneau, Department of History, Laval University

Dr Arthur Chapman, UCL IoE

Anxieties about national identity and its strengthening and preservation are common in countries around the world, and it is, of course, entirely natural that this should be so in times of great change, challenge and uncertainty.

These anxieties can cause our discussions of history education to tend to the negative and to become counter-productive and even irrational. Public discussion tends, first, to base itself on impressionistic surveys – hardly fitting for matters of consequence. Second, it tends to focus on deficits – on what children do not know. Finding the same absence – repeatedly – is not a constructive act (we learn nothing new by doing it) and, more importantly, a focus on what is not present tells us nothing about what is in children’s heads. Understanding the ideas that children do have is crucial if we want to help them build historical knowledge and understanding and it is more important to know how children think about the past than it is to know which particular fact they do or do not know. Finally, as Sam Wineburg has shown, the habit of repeatedly finding that children know less than they used to has a long history – the obsessive repetition of claims about children’s ignorance of the past generation after generation is evidence of continuity more than change.

What happens if we try and find out what children do know and if we try to do so in a sustained manner and on a large scale?

In the last decade, scholars in a number of places around the world – including this Institute, Quebec, Canada, France, Switzerland (Geneva), Germany, Spain, Australia, and Belgium – have begun to undertake large-scale studies of what young people know about the past.[i] Rather than posing fastidious questions on specific historical issues (such as “Who was Horatio Nelson?”), which usually prove young people’s lack of knowledge, many of these studies invite students to tell what they know (“Tell me the story of your country, as you know  it, from the beginning to the present”). With no constraint on their answers other than an injunction to be serious in responding to the task, most students were able to propose some sort of narrative in the 45 minutes allotted for the task. These narratives often revealed that students had meaningful knowledge and representations about their nation and that they were not ‘empty pots’.

[i] For Swiss, Germany, France and Spain see the Lantheaume, F., and Létourneau J. (2016). Le récit du commun. L’histoire nationale racontée par les élèves. Approche comparative: France, Catalogne, Suisse, Allemagne, Lyon: Presses universitaires de Lyon. Belgian work is currently in process.

To read the complete blog post

TUE, 1 DEC 2015 AT 17:30 /// Young People, National Narratives and History Education /// Committee Room 1, UCL Institute of Education (IOE), London, United Kingdom

When entering school, kids are not empty pots. They know many things, including things about the past of their society. Getting into the body of this historical knowledge is an interesting business. It reveals to what extent assimilated family souvenirs and community memories and templates are important in shaping children’s historical knowledge and historical consciousness.

If family souvenirs and community memories are structural components in kid’s historical consciousness, they also represent limitations to take students out of the mythistories – a mix of brute facts and historical romance – they’re trapped in when telling the past. One of the main challenges to teaching the past to kids is to get them outside the thinkable they’ve been accustomed to in living in a particular society and being subjected to its broad representations.

The aim of the talk is to discuss a pragmatic approach to teaching the past to kids in the context of a strong presence of community memories and templates everywhere in society, assuming the fact that kids learn history in and out of the classroom. The proposed approach – to start from memory in order to get out of it – comes from an innovative study effectuated in Quebec in the last decade (www.tonhistoireduquebec.ca) which consisted in collecting short narratives (N = 5000) and phrases (N= 3423) produced by students responding to two basic questions: 1) “Tell me the story of Quebec as you know it;” 2) “If you had to summarize in one sentence the historical experience of Quebec, what would you write personally?”

Young People, National Narratives and History Education What young people do and do not know about the past is frequently discussed in news media and in political debate. Young people are typically presented as having a knowledge deficit in these discussions and it has become almost a truism to claim that the young know little or nothing about history. This seminar will explore what young people know about the past and the sources of their knowledge from an international perspective. Drawing on research from Quebec, Ottawa and Amsterdam, the seminar will reflect on the nature, form and sources of young people's thinking about the past and aim to challenge the clichéd practice of itemising and lamenting 'the ignorance of the young'.

Young People, National Narratives and History Education
What young people do and do not know about the past is frequently discussed in news media and in political debate. Young people are typically presented as having a knowledge deficit in these discussions and it has become almost a truism to claim that the young know little or nothing about history.
This seminar will explore what young people know about the past and the sources of their knowledge from an international perspective. Drawing on research from Quebec, Ottawa and Amsterdam, the seminar will reflect on the nature, form and sources of young people’s thinking about the past and aim to challenge the clichéd practice of itemising and lamenting ‘the ignorance of the young’.

CALL FOR PAPERS: London Review of Education // Young people, national narratives and history education

The truism that young people know nothing about history has been successfully challenged by research. When surveyed using methodologies that interrogate understanding, rather than those with simplistic quizzes and factual tests, young people often reveal that they know a good deal about the past. Many can build historical narratives that address the past experiences of their culture, society or nation, and demonstrate that they not only know things about the past but are able to organise this knowledge. However, research also reveals that historical narratives crafted by young people, and the knowledge built from them, are structured as much by cultural and national myth‐histories – passed on through interaction with peers, family, culture, schooling and the media – as by formally agreed histories. Their rich historical learning can therefore result in deep historical misunderstanding, leading to the appearance that young people ‘know nothing’.   This special feature in the London Review of Education will explore the multiple sources of young people’s historical knowledge – through collective memory and social conversation as well as in the formal history classroom – and the implications for historical education that young people are not passive assimilators but active builders of historical sense.   We seek papers that examine the relationships between young people, schools, identity and cultural/other histories in national, intranational, international and supranational contexts, in any part of the world. We welcome submissions that adopt empirical and/or theoretical approaches to young people’s knowledge of the past, including studies of young people’s historical consciousness and papers that address the implications, for pedagogical practice, of that fact that young people’s ‘ignorance’ is a complicated matter.   Articles are subject to full peer review. Please send abstracts, outlines and expressions of interest by 31 January 2016 to Dr Arthur Chapman (a.chapman@ioe.ac.uk). The deadline for submission of manuscripts is 30 June 2016. Informal enquiries to the editors about possible paper submissions are welcome and should be addressed to the contact above. Articles in this feature will be published in January 2017.

The truism that young people know nothing about history has been successfully challenged by research. When surveyed using methodologies that interrogate understanding, rather than those with simplistic quizzes and factual tests, young people often reveal that they know a good deal about the past. Many can build historical narratives that address the past experiences of their culture, society or nation, and demonstrate that they not only know things about the past but are able to organise this knowledge. However, research also reveals that historical narratives crafted by young people, and the knowledge built from them, are structured as much
by cultural and national myth‐histories – passed on through interaction with peers, family, culture, schooling and the media – as by formally agreed histories. Their rich historical learning can therefore result in deep historical misunderstanding, leading to the appearance that young people ‘know nothing’.  This special feature in the London Review of Education will explore the multiple sources of young people’s historical knowledge – through collective memory and social conversation as well as in the formal history classroom – and the implications for historical education that young people are not passive assimilators but active builders of historical sense.  
We seek papers that examine the relationships between young people, schools, identity and cultural/other histories in national, intranational, international and supranational contexts, in any part of the world. We welcome submissions that adopt empirical and/or theoretical approaches to young people’s knowledge of the past, including studies of young people’s historical consciousness and papers that address the implications, for pedagogical practice, of that fact that young people’s ‘ignorance’ is a complicated matter.  Articles are subject to full peer review. Please send abstracts, outlines and expressions of interest by 31 January 2016 to Dr Arthur Chapman (a.chapman@ioe.ac.uk). The deadline for submission of manuscripts is 30 June 2016. Informal enquiries to the editors about possible paper submissions are welcome and should be addressed to the contact above. Articles in this feature will be published in January 2017.

From @ThenHier September e-Bulletin

* Jocelyn Létourneau will be a Visiting Research Associate at University College London (UCL) Institute of Education this fall, where he will be working principally with Arthur Chapman and Stuart Foster. He will co-edit, with Arthur Chapman, a special issue of the London Review of Education with the theme, “Negotiating the Nation: Young People, National Narratives and History Education.”