ERIC Number: ED180916
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Nov-21
Reference Count: 0
History Through Biography? A Conceptual Research Study.
Johns, Robert W.
Social studies classroom teachers can enliven high school history courses and motivate students to learn about history by using dramatic or heroic biographies in teaching history. The biographical approach centers on study of the lives, beliefs, and surroundings of historical actors. This approach differs from the "great man" theory of history in that ordinary as well as extraordinary people are studied. Specific advantages of the biographical approach include that students will learn to view history as currently significant and important to their personal concerns, identify with historical figures being studied, and become increasingly able to relate world developments to their own lives. Examples of philosopher-historians who wrote extensively about the nature of history and who can help teachers gain insights into the role of individuals include Karl Marx, Hippolyte Taine, Arnold Toynbee, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Max Weber, and Wilhelm Dilthey. Claims and beliefs of these philosopher-historians are discussed with particular regard to their beliefs about the number of persons and other factors which influence historical events and the extent to which these persons and factors can explain and predict such events. Commentary by the author and other scholars on the philosophers is combined with excerpts from the philosophers' works. (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies (Portland, OR, November 21, 1979)