Why (and how) to teach sensible history?

Barnabás Vajda


From time to time, the question over the usefulness of history teaching is being raised. My study contributes to the scientific debate over the aims of history education, which seems to stand at a crossroad of an increasingly uncertain school environment on the one hand, and the booming historical reflections of the wide public on the other. The starting point of my study is a strong statement from the Euroclio, a professional organization representing European history teacher associations: "Many European pupils and students have problems understanding the past [...] pupils and students in many European countries have difficulty in seeing any purpose in studying the past, and [they rather] concentrate on topics which are considered useful for their future lives and careers." (Leeuw-Roord, 2004, 97) Can a pluralistic pedagogical system handle this situation sensibly? In case we make efforts to change this situation, an important question is to be answered: In the European school environment, how much time and space and willingness is to rethink our position? The stress should probably be on the potential history teachers and undergraduates.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3311/ope.419


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