The overall aim of this study is to analyse history teachers’ understanding of the school subject history. The aim have also been to uncover what factors the history teachers say have affected their understanding of the school subject. Based on survey and interview methods, the question that this study deals with is: in the light of which general understanding of the school subject history, do the teachers make didactic choices on a daily basis?
The first theme is biographical. The teachers’ life-history is taken into consideration and several factors in the teachers’ background and the school environment have been identified. It also seems as if the teachers’ understanding of the school subject goes from an elementary and searching approach to one that is more complex and convinced.
The second theme is a more structural approach. The results shows three major orientations among the teachers’ general understanding namely, educational (bildung) orientation, critical orientation and identity orientation. Even though a main orientation can be seen among the teachers, an important result is also that the orientation is overall complex.
At the most general level some patterns can be seen. First the connection between the teachers’ biography and their general understanding of the school subject. In the understanding of the school subject, it is also notable that teachers relate in different ways to history as science, history as identity and history from an ideological viewpoint. It is also possible to note some signs of change in the school subject history that follows a lager historiographical context.