Social Sciences Education
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History, What is it?
"History is concerned with understanding the temporal dimension of human experience (time and chronology).
History is the Greek word for inquiry. Herodotus (484–425 B.C.E.) is considered the father of written history because he wrote the first prose history (earlier histories were in dialogue or verse) and he was relatively successful in recording factual accounts of events.
History is the story of the human experience. It is the search for truth about historical events and is based on facts. Evidence about the past can include artifacts such as those found at architectural ruins or written accounts including government records, diaries, and histories, Artifacts require human interpretation. Written accounts reflect the perspective and potential biases of the author.
Historians, are people who compile information, systematize their finding, and report their observations. Historians tries to determine if the evidence is real, accurate or biased. Conscientious historians are aware of the pitfalls in their search for historical "truth," and they try to avoid them using "historical method." The history that the historian creates is the history of that historian and reflects the judgments, point-of-view, biases, omissions, and errors of the historian him or herself. Renowned historians make sure to distinguish for the readers his or her conclusions from his or her findings of fact.
The Historical Method includes:
Types of Sources:
Students Understanding of History
"The student who reads history will unconsciously develop what is the highest value of history: judgment in worldly affairs. This is a permanent good, not because "history repeats" - we can never exactly match past and present situations - but because the "tendency of things" shows an amazing uniformity within any given civilization. As the great historian Burckhardt said of historical knowledge, it is not 'to make us more clever the next time, but wiser for all time.'"
Students often fail to realize that history is created by historians, often based on inconsistent evidence and secondhand accounts. Because children trust in the perfection of books and the truthfulness of adults, elementary students will absorb history without understanding that they need to interpret authors’ conclusions and draw their own conclusions from the evidence. A degree of trust in what we read and hear on the news, as an example, is necessary in a complex society. Reading and listening with healthy skepticism is an Academic Disposition that is necessary for a personal interpretation of history. The ability to distinguish between the author’s opinions and the evidence is a form of Procedural Knowledge.
Children’s study of history rests on knowledge of facts, names, dates, and places. In addition, real historical understanding requires students to engage in historical thinking: to raise questions and to marshal evidence in support of their answers; to read historical narratives and fiction; to consult historical documents, journals, diaries, artifacts, historic sites, and other records from the past; and to do so imaginatively—taking into account the time and places in which these records were created and comparing the multiple points of view of those on the scene at the time.
The National History Standards
"To develop judgment and perspective, historical study must often focus upon broad, significant themes and questions, rather than short-lived memorization of facts without context"
While never adopted by the U.S. Government, the National Standards for History Basic Edition, 1996 at http://nchs.ucla.edu/standards/ provide both a guide to Information Knowledge and Procedural Knowledge.
Overview of the American History Content Standards
The Standards for Historical Thinking
List of Assignments
The following assignments may be found on the History Assignments Page and on the page related to the assignment
Assignment HI.1 A Standards Overview
After watching the video, submit a two-page, single spaced typed paper, with the following information:
Assignment HI.6 Developing History Content