Maybe they haven't decided yet what is right: English and Spanish perspectives on teaching historical significance

Article

By Lis Cercadillo, published 1st December 2006

Historians and history teachers understand well that students, when they ‘answer’ questions, are creating their own interpretation. We take account of this in our teaching too: we do not pretend that, beyond the level of the simplest closed questioning, there is ever a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer approach to history. Lis Cercadillo demonstrates that different systems of history education produce students who are more or less likely to think for themselves in the key area of assigning and analysing historical significance. By comparing the English with the Spanish experience she elucidates some of the ways in which students can be taught to become genuine historians. She also suggests a progression model for historical significance, and a way of breaking the concept down, which build on the work of Rob Phillips and Christine Counsell in earlier editions of this journal. Finally she raises an intriguing question: with the new emphasis on convergence in assessment across European curricula, how will history cope?

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