The Next Pedagogical Frontier: Teaching Historiography

James Loewen in 'Lies My Teacher Told Me' accurately states that “history is furious debate, informed by evidence and reason.” Following this wise dictum, we must place historiography front-and-center in all of our courses.

Lecture Description

Thanks to scholars of historical pedagogy—and thousands of dedicated teachers—today’s history classrooms frequently look dramatically different from their predecessors several decades ago. The most prominent recent change in history teaching involves the centrality of primary sources. Primary sources give students the opportunity to experience and explore real voices and agents from the past at the same time that they provide students with the ability to learn crucial historical thinking skills such as contexualization, corroboration, and critical reading. Yet the primary source revolution has only partially fostered its avowed goal of encouraging students truly to “do history.” To make that revolution complete, we must inspire students (K-12 as well as college) to grapple with changing and contesting historical interpretations. The ultimate goal: empowering students to craft their own distinctive, and well-evidenced, historiographical interventions.



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Robert Douglas Johnston

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