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ERIC Number: EJ837194
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Feb
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Historiography and Teacher Education: Reflections on an Experimental Course
Fallace, Thomas D.
History Teacher, v42 n2 p205-222 Feb 2009
Closing the "breach" or "distance" between teachers and historians has become a focus in teacher education and has gained greater prominence in the research on preservice teachers. Overall, most educational researchers now believe that a definition of historical knowledge includes not only a basic understanding of the facts, but also an understanding of how the facts were constructed. The general assumption is that historiographical knowledge will allow teachers to provide a more accurate view of the epistemological value of history, and that teachers will pass this knowledge to their students. More importantly, the assumption is that instructing preservice teachers to think historiographically will somehow improve their overall teaching. Along these lines, a recent challenge issued jointly by the American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and National Council on History Education suggests that "to make themselves better mentors to future history teachers," historians need to assure that teacher candidates "know how to "do history," how to construct historical narratives and arguments." Unfortunately, thus far, evidence of improved teaching as a result of historiographical knowledge has not been convincing. To change thoughts on teaching, it is not enough merely to "bridge the gap" between novice and expert, one must also find a way to overcome the barrier of the "compartmentalized" beliefs about the content and its teaching. In this essay, the author reflects on his own struggle to overcome this "barrier" with preservice teachers through three semesters of an experimental course called a counterpoint seminar. He co-taught these courses with different historians in the Spring of 2004, 2006, and 2007. He traces the successes and shortcomings of these courses and how his view on the role of historiography in teacher education evolved over the years. He concludes with some suggestions for how historiography can play a role in strengthening history teacher education. (Contains 18 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, 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; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A