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ERIC Number: EJ791712
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Working-Class Students and Historical Inquiry: Transforming Learning in the Classroom
Schuster, Leslie A.
History Teacher, v41 n2 p163-178 Feb 2008
For the past twelve years, the author has been teaching a lower division introductory historical methods course that uses active learning to introduce students to the issues and practices of historical methods, the "how to" of historical inquiry, research and writing. In her methods course, she is working to take into account the perspectives and expectations of working-class students as well as the skills they bring to the classroom. She has designed the methods course around the learning experiences of these students to address three separate yet inter-connected objectives. The first goal for the course is to provide students a systematic examination of the issues and skills involved in historical inquiry or, as Merrick writes, to develop students' abilities to be "more careful, critical and creative consumers and producers of history." The second is to work intensively with students on the analytical skills that promote success in college but are often poorly developed among the students. The third objective is to provide a much-needed transformative learning experience, that is, to shift students' views of learning and of themselves as learners. Here, the author describes the format of the course and how it is implemented to working-class students at Rhode Island College. The course has proven to be the most demanding and labor-intensive of the author's teaching career, but also the most exciting and rewarding for her and her students. It has strengthened the students' abilities to read, write, and think critically by helping them develop confidence in their own powers of investigation and analysis, habits of learning, and inquiry unfamiliar to most working-class students. (Contains 19 endnotes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A