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Education - Social Studies Resources (Elementary)

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Historical Thinking
Historical thinking is a process whereby students are challenged to rethink assumptions about the past and to reimagine both the present and the future. It helps students become well-informed citizens who approach issues with an inquiring mind and exercise sound judgment when presented with new information or a perspective different from their own. Historical thinking skills involve the sequencing of events, the analysis of patterns and the placement of events in context to assist in the construction of meaning and understanding, and can be applied to a variety of media, such as oral traditions, print, electronic text, art and music. Historical thinking allows students to develop a sense of time and place to help define their identities. Exploring the roots of the present ensures the transmission and sharing of values, and helps individuals to realize that they belong to a civil society. Historical thinking develops citizens willing to engage in a pluralistic democracy and to promote and support democratic institutions.  -- from Program of Studies, Alberta Education, (p.9 in Program Rationale)

Guideposts to Historical Thinking
  • Historical significance: How do we decide what is important to learn aobut the past?
  • EvidenceHow do we know what we know about the past?
  • Continuity and change: How can we make sense of the complex flows of history?
  • Cause and consequenceWhy do events happen, and what are their impacts?
  • Historical perspective: How can we better understand the people of the past?
  • The ethical dimensionHow can history help us to live in the present?

from: The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts by Peter Seixaspp.10-11 

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