Unnatural and essential: the nature of historical thinking

Teaching History article

By Sam Wineburg, published 13th September 2009

Please note: this article pre-dates the 2014 National Curriculum and some content may be outdated.

Sam Wineburg's work, in particular his groundbreaking Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts (2001), has a great deal to teach us about the discipline of history, the nature of historical education, and the specific cognitive framework that such an education cultivates. In this article, Wineburg revisits key themes and, through a detailed consideration of a particular historical document, provides a powerful demonstration of the priority which a rigorous historical education must take if we are to equip students with the tools to effectively navigate cultural complexities.

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