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ERIC Number: EJ893823
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Magna Carta: Teaching Medieval Topics for Historical Significance
Metzger, Scott Alan
History Teacher, v43 n3 p345-356 May 2010
The Middle Ages are an immensely important era in the Western experience. Unfortunately, medieval studies are often marginalized or trivialized in school curriculum. With the approach of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the famous charter of rights from medieval England, one has a timely and useful example for considering what a focus on historical significance could look like. This rebellious document abrogated by the English king not long after it was signed represents broader significant issues in the Western experience with connections long after 1215. One gains a better understanding of its historical significance by looking at chronology, context, causation, and contingency. This historically rich way of looking at Magna Carta demonstrates how school curriculum can more meaningfully incorporate medieval studies. In this paper, the author discusses four essential elements in understanding history that, taken together, can point the way toward historical significance. For each element, the author describes what it looks like when applied to Magna Carta, informed by some recent historical literature on Magna Carta and the High Middle Ages. Cumulatively, the four elements provide a fuller picture of the relationships between King John, his realm, his people, and his world that led to the creation--and outcomes--of Magna Carta. In closing, the author offers a few ideas for lessons that could be used in the classroom to teach medieval studies with a focus on historical significance. (Contains 7 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: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)