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ERIC Number: EJ933463
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
"What Is the Text Doing?" Preparing Pre-Service Teachers to Teach Primary Sources Effectively
Neumann, David J.
History Teacher, v43 n4 p489-511 Aug 2010
Recent education research strongly endorses the notion that knowledge is discipline-based, dependent upon the ground rules and procedures of a particular field of study. Since reading primary sources is central to the discipline of history, many teacher preparation programs in history-social science devote substantial instructional time to training teachers to use primary sources. At the same time, however, scholars have been critical of the inadequate student reading of primary sources that often results from the use of documents in the classroom. The author would like to suggest that a focus on the purposive nature of texts in teacher education programs offers the best pathway forward. In this article, the author will begin by proposing a critical realist stance as an appropriate foundation for the use of documents with pre-service teachers. Then, he will tease out the implicit methodology sophisticated readers (historians) employ in their reading of texts, focusing on the fundamental strategy of identifying the purpose, intention, or function of text. Next, he will describe some philosophical-linguistic resources on the purposive nature of texts that have been helpful in shaping his own thinking as a classroom teacher and in his training of pre-service teachers. Finally, he will offer a coherent methodology for the teaching of primary sources in a year-long middle or high school course. (Contains 6 figures and 64 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: High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A