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ERIC Number: ED474135
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Apr
Pages: 48
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Engaging in History: Empathy and Perspective-Taking in Children's Historical Thinking.
Dulberg, Nancy
For children to understand history, they need to be able to see the world through the eyes of its participants, and to understand that there are multiple perspectives on the past. This paper focuses on relating theory to practice in history and social studies teaching and curriculum design, emphasizing that historical perspective-taking and empathy are fundamental components of historical understanding. Fostering perspective-taking and empathy in students fulfills another traditional goal of the social studies: education for the social good. The paper synthesizes theory and scholarship from the disciplines of human psychology, history, and education. Drawing from the works of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and recent scholarship in history education, the study examines the construction of historical understanding. It concentrates on the perspective-taking capacities of a small sample of fifth-grade students and the role empathy plays in the perspective-taking and in the learning of history. The research provides educators with an empirical representation of fifth graders perspective-taking capacities and a goal of designing curriculum to match students' understandings and ways of learning in history. Data, primarily interviews with students and interview transcripts, are analyzed using qualitative and interpretive research methodology. Three levels of historical thinking and perspective-taking were found. The levels appear qualitatively differentiated and multifaceted, and support the view that historical understanding develops along a continuum of thought and is influenced by several variables, including personal experience and family background. (Contains 31 references.) (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A