Teaching History

  • Joseph Zajda
  • John A. Whitehouse
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

Recently, in a number of countries, teaching and learning history, as a curriculum discipline, has been characterised by political, economic, cultural and ideological imperatives, whose teleological goal is one of the nation-building process and one of cultivating a modern dimension of national identity in the global culture (Baques, 2006; Janmaat & Vickers, 2007; Macintyre & Clark, 2003; Nicholls, 2006; Simpson & Halse, 2006; Taylor, 2006; Zajda, 2007). In the United States, history continues to be a “ staple of the American curriculum in both elementary and secondary schooling ” (Thornton, 2006, p. 15). Similarly, in the Russian Federation, history lessons in schools play a significant role in the nation-building process, citizenship education, patriotism, and values education, which is closely monitored by the state (Zajda, 2007, p. 291).

In Italy, political debates surrounding the content of school history teaching, during the 1980s and the 1990s had noticeably affected the task of Italian history teachers. In 1995, the government created a commission to evaluate history textbooks, as many, it was believed, tended to “ falsify or ignore certain pages of Italian history ”, thus hindering “ the reconstruction of a national identity common to all Italians ” (Cajani, 2006, p. 37). The polemic surrounding history teaching in schools continues in many countries. For instance, ideologically-driven goals are found in history classrooms in Japan, where student learn “ official ” stories of the past, or politically-correct historical narratives, and are encouraged to internalise “ common identity and values ” (Ogawa & Field, 2006, p. 56). Learning history helps to develop one ” s “ sense of place ” in the global, national and local community. It also contributes to students ” learning a “ more complete understanding of the present ” and a “ compression of past and present moral and ethical issues ” (Taylor, 2006, p. 44; Zajda, 2002).


Social Capital Pedagogical Content Knowledge Historical Narrative Citizenship Education Teaching History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Zajda
    • 1
  • John A. Whitehouse
    • 2
  1. 1.Trescowthick School of Education, Melbourne CampusAustralian Catholic UniversityFitzroyAustralia
  2. 2.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationThe University of MelbourneAustralia

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