Thinking About Historical Thinking
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In this module, we will get oriented to some of the main lines of thinking about how students learn about the past. Understanding how historians and other scholars have come to grips with this most fundamental of questions will be important for this course: How do people of all ages make sense of the past?

One of the things that we have learned from the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) over the past few decades is that much of what we were sure we knew about how students (and others) make sense of the past has been based on folk wisdom rather than actual research. Throughout this course, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What strategies do students, museum visitors, and other interested parties use to make sense of the past?
  • How do those strategies lead them to more or less accurate conclusions about the past?
  • Are the educational and/or public history resources you are familiar with constructed in a way that aligns with how people learn about the past?