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Wendell, J. (2020). Teaching and Learning Historical Explanation: Teacher and Student Cases from Lower and Upper Secondary History. (Doctoral dissertation). Karlstad: Karlstads universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teaching and Learning Historical Explanation: Teacher and Student Cases from Lower and Upper Secondary History
2020 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate and analyse how teachers and students understand the concept of historical explanation in the context of classroom teaching practices. The thesis is made up of four studies that investigate different aspects of understanding, focusing on either teacher or student understanding as expressed in words and actions.

 

The different studies employ differing methods, including classroom observations, interviews with teachers, and analysis of student answers to prompts intended for assessment. The studies include cases from both lower and upper secondary school in Sweden. The four studies provide empirical results that are presented in each individual study, and furthermore subjected to an aggregated analysis in order to find patterns of commonality. The aggregated analysis draws upon Rüsen's theory of historical knowledge, as well as a progression model for historical explanation based on results from previous research.

 

The results of the study show a clear difference between lower and upper secondary school in how students at each stage construct historical explanations, indicating differing expectations of what students are supposed to do with explanations in each stage. Teachers' practices are more varied: while a majority of the included teachers manifest a disciplinary understanding of historical explanation, in line with previous research about historical explanation in educational contexts, other approaches with other emphases are also present. These include an emphasis of learning explanations as sets of facts, as well as approaches that aim for making the knowledge of historical explanation useful outside of the history subject. Examples of such aims found in the study are to enhance empathetic understanding of other people, and helping students to orient themselves in relation to present-day issues.

Abstract [en]

Historical explanation is a fundamental component of historical accounts. Learning how to construct and analyse such explanations is therefore an important aspect of the process of teaching and learning history. This thesis investigates how teachers and students in Sweden handle this aspect in the context of education and assessment.

 

The thesis consists of four different studies that alternate the focus on either students or teachers, in lower or upper secondary school. Teachers are investigated mainly through classroom observations, students mainly through analyses of written answers.

 

The study analyses common patterns among teachers and students, finding that student answers to a high degree conform to the knowledge requirements of the course they are studying. Teachers present a wider and more varied understanding of historical explanation that goes beyond what is captured in the knowledge requirements, indicating the potential for explanations to develop empathy, and for helping students to orient themselves in relation to present-day issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2020. p. 169
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2020:8Studier i de samhällsvetenskapliga ämnenas didaktik ; 38
Keywords
history education, historical explanation, causation, cause and consequence, explanatory progression, historical thinking, use of history
National Category
History Didactics
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-76141 (URN)978-91-7867-091-8 (ISBN)978-91-7867-101-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2020-02-21, 9C 203, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-01-31 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2020-01-31Bibliographically approved
Wendell, J. (2018). Explaining the Third Reich: Swedish students' causal reasoning about the Nazi seizure of power in Germany. Curriculum Journal, 29(1), 60-76
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Explaining the Third Reich: Swedish students' causal reasoning about the Nazi seizure of power in Germany
2018 (English)In: Curriculum Journal, ISSN 0958-5176, E-ISSN 1469-3704, Vol. 29, no 1, p. 60-76Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The topic of this study is how Swedish students aged 15-16 use causal reasoning in history when given a high-stakes task about explaining a historically significant event, the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany. The study is based on student texts from the Swedish national test in history. The student texts are mainly analysed with regards to how many, and what kinds of, causal factors are used by the students. The study finds that while most students are able to combine agents and situational factors in their explanations, the explanations show a recurring theme of combining a generic sense of economic crisis with Hitler and the German people as the important agents, to the detriment of other causes that could open up for different interpretations of why the Nazi regime came to power. To counteract this, the study suggests increased emphasis on some contextual factors in teaching practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2018
Keywords
History, assessment, subject knowledge, secondary schools
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-67489 (URN)10.1080/09585176.2017.1398098 (DOI)000432636600005 ()
Available from: 2018-06-07 Created: 2018-06-07 Last updated: 2020-01-09Bibliographically approved
Stolare, M. & Wendell, J. (2018). Historiedidaktik i praktiken: För lärare 4-6 (1ed.). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Historiedidaktik i praktiken: För lärare 4-6
2018 (Swedish)Book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2018. p. 159 Edition: 1
Keywords
Historiedidaktik, Mellanstadiet
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69567 (URN)978-91-40-69714-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-10-11 Created: 2018-10-11 Last updated: 2018-11-22Bibliographically approved
Stolare, M. & Wendell, J. (2018). Historieämnet i Lgr 11. In: Martin Stolare & Joakim Wendell (Ed.), Historiedidaktik i praktiken: För lärare 4-6 (pp. 15-23). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Historieämnet i Lgr 11
2018 (Swedish)In: Historiedidaktik i praktiken: För lärare 4-6 / [ed] Martin Stolare & Joakim Wendell, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2018, p. 15-23Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2018
Keywords
Lgr 11, historieämnet
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69569 (URN)978-91-40-69714-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-10-11 Created: 2018-10-11 Last updated: 2019-03-07Bibliographically approved
Stolare, M. & Wendell, J. (2018). Introduktion. In: Martin Stolare & Joakim Wendell (Ed.), Historiedidaktik i praktiken: För lärare 4-6 (pp. 9-14). Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Introduktion
2018 (Swedish)In: Historiedidaktik i praktiken: För lärare 4-6 / [ed] Martin Stolare & Joakim Wendell, Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2018, p. 9-14Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Malmö: Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2018
Keywords
Historiedidaktik, historieundervisning
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69568 (URN)978-91-40-69714-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-10-11 Created: 2018-10-11 Last updated: 2019-02-07Bibliographically approved
Wendell, J. & Danielsson Malmros, I. (2018). Referensram i historieämnet (1ed.). In: Martin Stolare, Joakim Wendell (Ed.), Historiedidaktik i praktiken: för lärare 4-6 (pp. 53-72). Gleerups Utbildning AB
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Referensram i historieämnet
2018 (Swedish)In: Historiedidaktik i praktiken: för lärare 4-6 / [ed] Martin Stolare, Joakim Wendell, Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2018, 1, p. 53-72Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gleerups Utbildning AB, 2018 Edition: 1
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69589 (URN)978-91-40-69714-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-10-12 Created: 2018-10-12 Last updated: 2019-01-31Bibliographically approved
Samuelsson, J. & Wendell, J. (2017). A national hero or a Wily Politician? Students’ ideas about the origins of the nation in Sweden. Education 3-13, 45(4), 477-489
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A national hero or a Wily Politician? Students’ ideas about the origins of the nation in Sweden
2017 (English)In: Education 3-13, ISSN 0300-4279, E-ISSN 1475-7575, Vol. 45, no 4, p. 477-489Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The topic of this article is how primary school students express ideas about

the ‘origins of the nation’. The study is based on texts written by Swedish

students aged 12–13 about a historical event well embedded in Swedish

national mythology, the rise to power of Swedish ‘founding father’

Gustav Vasa. The analysis is inspired by James V. Wertsch’s concept of

schematic narrative templates. The main finding of the study is that the

students mainly structure their answers along one of two different

narrative templates; either a kind of historical master narrative with

strong foundations in traditional Swedish history culture, or a more

generic story about the founding father as a ruthless or corrupt

politician, which is arguably influenced by presentism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London & New York: Routledge, 2017
Keywords
History; nation; master narrative; presentism; founding father; school
National Category
Social Sciences History
Research subject
History; Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41023 (URN)10.1080/03004279.2015.1130077 (DOI)000411179300006 ()
Available from: 2016-03-11 Created: 2016-03-11 Last updated: 2019-11-06Bibliographically approved
Samuelsson, J. & Wendell, J. (2016). ‘Because Christian was mean and killed innocent people!’: Swedish primary school students’ causal reasoning about the origins of the nation. Education 3-13, 1-16
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘Because Christian was mean and killed innocent people!’: Swedish primary school students’ causal reasoning about the origins of the nation
2016 (English)In: Education 3-13, ISSN 0300-4279, E-ISSN 1475-7575, p. 1-16Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The topic of this article is how Swedish primary school students aged 12–13 use causal reasoning when they explain a historical event that is usually considered the ‘origin of the nation’. The study is based on student texts about the rise to power of Gustav Vasa, who is traditionally portrayed as the ‘founding father’ of Sweden. The analysis of the students’ causal reasoning takes into account how many, and what kinds of, causal factors the students use. The main finding of the study is that one category of students give causal explanations that adhere very close to the traditional image of the event, with Vasa as an important and heroic agent pitted against an antagonist, king Kristian II. Another category of students instead give generic explanations with very little historical context. Of these, the former category shows greater causal complexity than the latter. In both categories, there are instances of students failing to causally connect agents to the event, suggesting that teaching practices may need to address this issue.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London & New York: Routledge, 2016
Keywords
History; nation; school; causal
National Category
Educational Sciences History and Archaeology
Research subject
History; Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41021 (URN)10.1080/03004279.2016.1154084 (DOI)000418520200009 ()
Available from: 2016-03-11 Created: 2016-03-11 Last updated: 2019-11-06Bibliographically approved
Samuelsson, J. & Wendell, J. (2016). Historical thinking about sources in the context of a standards-based curriculum: A Swedish case. Curriculum Journal, 27(4), 479-499
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Historical thinking about sources in the context of a standards-based curriculum: A Swedish case
2016 (English)In: Curriculum Journal, ISSN 0958-5176, E-ISSN 1469-3704, Vol. 27, no 4, p. 479-499Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The increased interest in basing teaching on disciplinary thinking

has had a profound impact on the syllabus for history in Sweden.

Within this context, we examine how students demonstrate one

aspect of disciplinary thinking in history, namely reasoning about

historical sources. The material used is written answers to an

assignment about historical sources in the national test in history

for year 6. The analysis shows that many students are able to show

at least some aspects of disciplinary thinking about sources, though

the vast majority has problems with contextualising the source in

the assignment. One explanation put forth is that the syllabus is not

yet fully enacted in teaching practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York/London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2016
Keywords
History education; historical thinking, primary school, disciplinary thinking, policy, Historiedidaktik, ämneskunskaper, grundskola, elever, policy
National Category
History and Archaeology
Research subject
History; Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-46250 (URN)10.1080/09585176.2016.1195275 (DOI)000390916800004 ()
Projects
This work was supported by a grant from the Swedish Research Council (grant number 721-2013-1668).
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2013-1668
Available from: 2016-09-23 Created: 2016-09-23 Last updated: 2019-06-17Bibliographically approved
Wendell, J. (2014). "Förklaringar är ju allt på nåt sätt": En undersökning av hur fem lärare använder historiska förklaringar i undervisningen. (Licentiate dissertation). Karlstad: Karlstads universitet
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Förklaringar är ju allt på nåt sätt": En undersökning av hur fem lärare använder historiska förklaringar i undervisningen
2014 (Swedish)Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main purpose of this multiple case study is to investigate how high school history teachers in Sweden use historical explanations in their classroom teaching.  Specifically, the study explores how explanations are constructed in the clasroom interactions, and what thinking tools, if any, the teachers use to help students grasp central aspects of the historical explanation in question. The case study is based upon observation data from the classrooms of five Swedish high school teachers.

A theoretical underpinning of this study is that historical explanations are best understood as cases of complex causality. In order to describe these cases as they are presented in the context of a classroom, a model for analysis is used which draws upon research conclusions from several fields, chiefly instructional theory (Gaea Leinhardt), theory of history (C.Behan McCullagh) and historical thinking (Peter Seixas). The study presents each teacher as a separate case in one chapter, while another chapter focuses on what different tools each teacher uses in his/her explanations. In the last empirical chapter, the teachers’ explanations are discussed in relation to how they emphasize and relate to diffent historical thinking concepts.

The study shows that while explanations are intimately interconnected with causality, their use is intertwined with other historical thinking concepts. Furthermore,  teachers use a multitude of different tools when working with  explanations. While certain tools aim at reinforcing students’ thinking about causality, they may simultaneously weaken the explanation’s value for something else, such as historical empathy. Thus, the importance of planning for specific teaching objectives is emphasized by the study. 

Abstract [sv]

Förmågan att resonera om orsaker och konsekvenser för att därigenom förklara historiska skeenden är en central förmåga i historisk kunskap. Hur gör lärare när de arbetar med historiska förklaringar i undervisningen? Den frågan är utgångspunkten för denna studie, som bygger på klassrumsstudier av fem yrkesverksamma historielärares undervisning.

Särskild vikt läggs vid att identifiera olika redskap som lärarna använder för att tydliggöra olika aspekter av förklaringar i undervisningen.

 Undersökningen visar hur förklaringar i undervisningspraktiken påverkas av faktorer som kursinnehåll, elevgrupp och undervisningens målsättningar. Ett antal didaktiska redskap för att arbeta med förklaringar identifieras. Vidare visar undersökningen också hur förklaringar i undervisningspraktiken kan vara sammanflätade med andra aspekter av historisk kunskap, som historisk empati och källhantering.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2014. p. 148
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2014:43Studier i de samhällsvetenskapliga ämnenas didaktik ; 24
Keywords
high school, class room study, history education, historical explanation, causality, cause and consequence, historical thinking concepts
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-33259 (URN)978-91-7063-578-6 (ISBN)
Presentation
2014-10-02, B17, Åsö vuxengymnasium, Blekingegatan 55, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-09-12 Created: 2014-07-17 Last updated: 2020-01-09Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-3103-9229

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