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Open Access HisDeKo: A study about the historical thinking of primary school children

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Historical learning should be taught in a competence-oriented way in primary school. However, there has so far been little research on children's competences in the elementary and primary areas of historical learning. The HisDeKo (Historical Thinking and Competence Development) research project, which is located at the universities of Osnabrück and Paderborn, has therefore been pursuing the empirical investigation of children's competences in historical thinking. This involved moving from considering children's traditional ways of thinking about history as historical narratives and accounts set within a chronological framework to evaluating their ability to consider the significance of sources and interpretations in reconstructing the past. In a qualitative study, 114 children have so far been individually interviewed. The evaluation procedure was developed on the basis of qualitative content analysis. Key results of this study are that the pupils know about the tradition of the past and can name different types of sources and understand that it is through sources that we find out about the past. Therefore, it appears to be appropriate to teach the methods of historical enquiry from the first grade onwards.
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Keywords: GERMANY; HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING; HISTORY DIDACTICS; PRIMARY SCHOOL; QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 26 October 2018

More about this publication?
  • The History Education Research Journal (HERJ) is an international, open-access, peer-reviewed journal that focuses on the global significance and impact of history education. It covers all aspects of history education theory, scholarship, and pure and applied research. Articles illuminate contemporary issues, concerns, policies and practice, drawing upon the eclectic research methodologies of history education. The journal is published in partnership with the Historical Association.

    HERJ is a relaunch of the International Journal of Historical Learning Teaching and Research. All past issues up to and including vol. 15, no. 1 were published under this title. HERJ vol. 15, no. 2 is the first to be published by UCL IOE Press.
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