AN OVERVIEW OF FIVE HISTORICAL THINKING STANDARDS - (1)
has identified and defined five broad categories of historical thinking
around which to focus our instruction and district standards. It is important
to understand that as teachers, from kindergarten to 12th grade, begin
to work with these standards, they will apply them in ways most appropriate
to a particular grade level. In addition, more detailed descriptions will
be developed as assessments of historical thinking and understanding are
implemented. Below are brief outlines and summaries of the standards.'
distinguishing past from present
At its most basic level, historical thinking requires students to be able distinguish the past, the present, and the future. Without a strong sense of chronology knowing what events occurred and in what sequence it is impossible for students to examine relation ships among those events or to explain historical causality. (National Standards, p. 20).
In addition, knowing that historical events took place in a particular place is also essential to understanding what happened and why. Supporting these elements of historical thinking requires the construction of time lines, maps, and historical narratives that locate historical events and individuals in specific times and places. This is especially crucial in the primary grades, as students begin to develop a sense of the past as different from the present.
In addition, this standard requires that students are able to recognize that over time, as some things have changed, some things have stayed the same.
examining primary sources
(such as photos, artifacts, & documents)
Note: We developed these subdivisions
(chronology and spatial, evidence, diversity and multiple perspectives,
interpretation, and significance) so that teachers could work to develop
students' capacity in each area. However, in reality these categories often
overlap and are sometimes hard to distinguish from each other. Nevertheless,
the creation of these categories should help teachers develop a more systematic
way of teaching and assessing students' ability to think historically.
Ashby, Rosalyn and Lee, Peter, "Children's Concepts of Empathy and Understanding in History," in The History Curriculum for Teachers, Portal, Christopher, (Philadelphia, Falmer Press, 1987 pp. 62-87.)
Banks, James, "The Canon Debate, Knowledge Construction, and Multicultural Education," Educational Researcher, June-July, 1993, pp. 4-13.
California State Board of Education, History Social Science Framework, 1987.
Geography Education Standards Project, National Geography Standards 1994, (National Geographic Research and Exploration, Washington, C.D., 1994).
Levine, Lawrence W., "The Historian and the Icon: Photography and the History of the American People in the 1930s and 1940s," in Documenting American, 1935-1943, Carl Fleischhauer and Beverly W. Brannan eds. (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1988, pp. 15-42.)
National Center for History in the Schools, National Standards for History Education: Exploring the American Experience, (University of California, Los Angeles, 1995).
Portal, Christopher, "Children's Conceptions of Empathy and Understanding in History," in The History Curriculum for Teachers, Portal, Christopher, (Philadelphia, Falmer Press, 1987, pp. 89-99.)
Seixas, Peter, "Conceptualizing the Growth of Historical Knowledge," in The Handbook of Education and Human Development, Olson, David and Torrence, Nancy, eds. (Oxford, U.K., Blackwell, 1996, pp 765-783).