Engaging Our Histories and the Difficult Histories We Teach Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Konle, Stephanie
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This dissertation proposes to enrich the scope of history education research, and by extension the preparation of history and social studies teachers and the classroom experiences of their students, through the inclusion of autobiography in the study of history. Education research on the teaching of history has typically focused on what scholars call “historical thinking skills,” skills imported from the professional discipline, including contextualization, perspective, use of evidence, etc. While these disciplinary methods are important for the promotion of a deeper and more critical understanding of the past, they often neglect the more emotionally fraught interests, concerns, and questions about the past that teachers and students bring into the classroom. In this research I convened six teachers who teach history or social studies in the Southeast United States, asking them to reflect on how their own relationships to—and anxieties about—particular past events relate to their teaching practice. Participants generated narratives and read and discussed each other’s work along with selections of scholarly texts chosen to prompt further reflection. Findings highlight teachers’ fears and concerns about the teaching of difficult knowledge and the responsibility of guiding students in learning about the most challenging legacies of our collective past. Findings will also inform participants’ practice, the field of social studies teacher education, social studies practice and curriculum reform, as well as the field of curriculum theory.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Gulledge, Suzanne
  • Grumet, Madeleine
  • Stone, Lynda
  • Bolick, Cheryl
  • Rong, Xue Lan
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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