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ERIC Number: EJ893829
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Invisible Evidence: The Story Is There, but the Sources Are Scarce
Bennison, Sarah Machiels
History Teacher, v43 n3 p427-431 May 2010
Discussions about school curriculum today are framed by this binary--the intellectual desire to explore various pedagogical approaches and the imperative to teach to the test to achieve quantitative results. For history teachers, the freedom to not teach to the test opens many possibilities: veering away from the textbook to focus on works by many authors, using primary source documents, and delving into a range of topics, going narrow and deep rather than wide and thin. Numerous education scholars have offered suggestions for how to teach with these techniques and how to make lessons interesting through the use of different sources. The author's recent work on the history of missionary schooling for Native Americans, however, raised some challenging questions: how does one teach about those histories for which the sources are scarce? In this paper, the author argues that history teachers should not shy away from historical subjects, even when the evidence is scarce. She stresses that by aiming to be historians and teachers who search for unrepresented subjects and who seek to bring light to the stories lost by history, teachers teach their students that history is not just a series of names and dates. On the contrary, history is comprised of gaps that teachers can fill by piecing together evidence, placing it in informed social and historical contexts, and learning the art of speculation often necessary in the "craft of history." (Contains 11 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; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A