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Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts : Charting the Future of Teaching the Past

by
ISBN13:

9781566398565

ISBN10:
1566398568
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
5/11/2001
Publisher(s):
Temple Univ Pr
List Price: $30.88

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Summary

Since ancient times, the pundits have lamented young people's lack of historical knowledge and warned that ignorance of the past surely condemns humanity to repeating its mistakes. In the contemporary United States, this dire outlook drives a contentious debate about what key events, nations, and people are essential for history students. Sam Wineburg says that we are asking the wrong questions. This book demolishes the conventional notion that there is one true history and one best way to teach it.Although most of us think of history-and learn it-as a conglomeration of facts, dates, and key figures, for professional historians it is a way of knowing, a method for developing an understanding about the relationships of peoples and events in the past. A cognitive psychologist, Wineburg has been engaged in studying what is intrinsic to historical thinking, how it might be taught, and why most students still adhere to the "one damned thing after another" concept of history.Whether he is comparing how students and historians interpret documentary evidence or analyzing children's drawings, Wineburg's essays offer "rough maps of how ordinary people think about the past and use it to understand the present." Arguing that we all absorb lessons about history in many settings-in kitchen table conversations, at the movies, or on the world-wide web, for instance-these essays acknowledge the role of collective memory in filtering what we learn in school and shaping our historical thinking. Author note: Sam Wineburg is Professor of Education at Stanford University and formerly Professor of Cognitive Studies in Education and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Understanding Historical Understanding vii
Part I WHY STUDY HISTORY?
Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts
3(25)
The Psychology of Teaching and Learning History
28(35)
Part II CHALLENGES FOR THE STUDENT
On the Reading of Historical Texts: Notes on the Breach Between School and Academy
63(26)
Reading Abraham Lincoln: A Case Study in Contextualized Thinking
89(24)
Picturing the Past
113(26)
Part III CHALLENGES FOR THE TEACHER
Peering at History Through Different Lenses: The Role of Disciplinary Perspectives in Teaching History
139(16)
Models of Wisdom in the Teaching of History
155(18)
Wrinkles in Time and Place: Using Performance Assessments to Understand the Knowledge of History Teachers
173(44)
Part IV HISTORY AS NATIONAL MEMORY
Lost in Words: Moral Ambiguity in the History Classroom
217(15)
Making (Historical) Sense in the New Millennium
232


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