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Creating a historically literate classroom : teaching students to think like a historian

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Bazan, Angela Lynn
Zbikowski, John
History--Study and teaching (Secondary)
This action research project examines the effect of the Thinking Like a Historian framework on student understanding and historical literacy in the secondary classroom. The project implemented the core TLH ideas of inquiry, evidence and interpretation in teaching history through direct instruction of the concepts, as well as having students apply the concepts on specific classroom assessments. The implementation occurred in a tenth grade U.S. history class of twenty students during the fall semester of the 2010-2011 school year in a small high school in Southeastern Wisconsin. Student understanding was measured through administration of a pre- and post- implementation History Questionnaire and TLH Inventory to all students. Students showed an increase in understanding of key TLH concepts and of the historical process overall. There were increases between 21% and 68% of student understanding and ability to apply TLH concepts in their learning of history. Student ability to understand the TLH concepts increased to 100% in two areas; understanding the TLH concepts of Cause and Effect and Through Their Eyes. Students were able to demonstrate these concepts on course assessments by the end of the semester and demonstrated an increase knowledge and use of the elements for studying history. This research concluded that the TLH framework has a positive influence on student understanding of history as well as an increase in historical literacy. The results support the inclusion of the TLH framework in teacher pre-service programs in order to effect change in implementing the TLH framework in history classrooms across the country.
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