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ERIC Number: ED551397
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 281
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2677-8309-7
Visual Texts and Historical Thinking: Teachers' Conceptions, Uses, and Reflections
Nichols, Daniel Jude
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
Visual texts, such as photographs, paintings, film, political cartoons, maps, charts, and graphs are important resources used for a variety of purposes in the history classroom. Aligning instructional use of visual texts to key developmental skills within the area of historical thinking should be a central concern to teachers of historical content. The core of this study centers on intersections between historical understanding and visual texts and the ways in which veteran teachers negotiate these crossroads. The study centers on a professional development workshop series that was held at a small university in upstate New York and the related experiences of three veteran teachers that attended. The central question of the study was: How do teachers define, use and reflect upon their use of visual texts as an instructional source toward the development of their students' historical understanding? Teachers shared their understanding of visual texts as historical resources in light of theoretical models of cognition as well as state and professional standards and assessments. Results of the study indicate that while teachers tend to resist educational theories, they remain open to ideas embedded within those theories--given interpretative explanations and opportunities to, as Dewey has termed, "psychologize" within their own teaching context. Participants indicated visual texts provide increased interest and motivation and allow for a variety of opportunities to differentiate history instruction. Teachers' concerns centered on the development of student understanding of content and context, use of imagination, the incorporation of visual texts to support written and verbal texts, the challenge in developing chronological frameworks, and the facilitation of student analyses of point of view, empathy, and bias. The study concludes with educational implications regarding the use of visual texts toward the development of students' historical thinking skills. Analyses are presented to augment current thinking about pedagogical content knowledge and represent a contribution to the literature connecting visual texts, historical thinking, and multimodal/multiliteracy design. Also discussed are the roles of teachers as theorizers and the potential impact on visual text use toward historical understanding in light of Common Core State Standards. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York