History

Teaching for Historical Understanding (TfHU): Developing a Discipline-based Curriculum Model at Tanjong Katong Secondary School

"This paper reports the experiences of the History Unit at Tanjong Katong Secondary School (TKSS) in their attempts to craft a discipline-based curriculum model focusing on instruction that develops students’ historical understandings. The paper describes the project structure and development of the Tanjong Katong (TK) Teaching for Historical Understanding (TfHU) approach to historical instruction, shares some reflections by teacher participants involved in the project, and highlights several learning points and implications for curriculum change at TKSS. The history teachers at TKSS recognised that the TfHU project had further developed their awareness of more effective methods to teach history, and were confident that the focus on disciplinary understandings will enhance student engagement in their history classrooms. They demonstrated strong belief that students can be made to understand complex issues in history if they are given the proper tools or cognitive challenges suitably crafted to develop deeper thinking about aspects of the discipline."

Towards an Effective Professional Development Model to Deepen History Teachers’ Understanding of Historical Concepts

"This small-scale study explores professional development (PD) designs for history teachers in Singapore and proposes a PD model that uses a job-embedded collaborative approach. Drawing from research on effective PD and data gathered from questionnaires and interviews conducted with participants involved in a PD workshop, this paper considers the value of collaborative PD approaches aimed at promoting and encouraging historical thinking. The authors conclude that PD history workshops that are carefully designed to support the development of teachers’ professional knowledge bases, and ones that offer opportunities for teachers to actively translate conceptual ideas into concrete teaching strategies, are critical in transforming beliefs and practices that can work towards more robust historical thinking and discourse in the classroom. "

Serious Fun: Game Design to Support Learning about the Surrender of Singapore

"Chronology, or putting past events in temporal order, is a starting point for making sense of the past (Seixas & Morton, 2013). However, sequencing the past into chronological order requires more than the memorization of events and their dates. Chronological thinking is central to historical reasoning because it enables us to organize our thinking about the past, consider relationships between events, determine cause and effect, and identify the structure or “plotline” of stories told about the past (i.e., those contained in accounts or historical narratives)."

Military Government and its Discontents: The Significance of the British Military Administration in the History of Singapore and Malaya

"The post-war British military government in Singapore and Malaya has often been relegated to a marginal place in historiography. In this article, I argue that this period bears closer study, because its legacies were central to the subsequent turbulent political history of the region, and therefore has much relevance to both researchers and educators. "

Developing Historical and Metahistorical Thinking in History Classrooms: Some Reflections on Research and Practice

"The history of history education, past and present, often resembles a history of contestation, in which rival and polarized understandings of the meanings of ‘history’ and ‘history education’ vie for dominance (Nakou and Barca, 2010). A common polarity in debates on history curricula is the opposition between ‘knowledge’ and ‘skill’, an opposition that has had considerable currency in recent curriculum reform processes in England which have emphasised ‘core knowledge’ (DfE, 2013)."

Shifting Scales of Time and Space: Establishing Connections Across the Humanities

"Meaningful understanding of history and geography involves being able to identify and establish connections across time and space scales (An et al., 2015; Bain, 2005; Baker, 2003; Foskett, 1999). Nonetheless, one key problem in the history and geography curricula of schools today is this lack of connectivity and sense of scale. Thus, it is appropriate to find out how to help teachers and students expand their disciplinary thinking towards a more holistic (or interdisciplinary) approach that encourages them to shift scales and make connections across time and space. To answer this question, this article proposes a potential conceptual framework in which History and Geography, as interdisciplinary subjects, can conduct meaningful dialogues with each other so that students and teachers can extend their thinking to deepen their understanding of both disciplines and to identify connections across scales of time and place. This framework will be introduced through two initiatives, The Historian’s Lab (HL) and The Sustainability Learning Lab (SLL), funded by an EduLab grant, and currently being developed by the staff in the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group (HSSE AG) in the National Institute of Education (NIE), (Singapore). However, it is important to note that this framework is a work-in-progress and will be further modified and developed as the project moves forward."

Causal Layered Analysis: Deconstructing Singapore’s 2015 General Election

"In explaining social phenomena, students are taught to explicate the causal mechanism between independent factors and a dependent outcome. However, this could lead to a superficial analysis of the phenomenon if students were to focus on precipitating factors. Hence, this paper contends that JC students should be exposed to complementary analytical approaches in order to transcend conventional frames of analysis. Inayatullah’s (2004) “Causal Layered Analysis” (CLA) could be an appropriate method to encourage students to unpack surface-level factors by drawing out their underlying and deeper causes. The CLA comprises four levels of analysis: the litany (precipitating causes), social causes (systemic causes), discourse/worldview (ideational causes) and myth/metaphor (core narratives). This can be illustrated by applying CLA to Singapore’s GE2015, which would suggest that the electorate’s voting patterns are not just the outcome of varied precipitating factors, but also the product of the existing political system and ideas about the nation-state."

Developing Historical Habits of Mind through Inquiry

"Teaching history is not simply about getting students to learn “the right stories” or getting them to absorb transmitted knowledge about the past; it requires teachers to find means to develop students’ historical understanding and to help these students make sense of the knowledge imparted through daily classroom instruction. As many of us already recognize, the knowledge we have about the past is never “given” or “just there” for the taking; the manner in which we come to know what we know about the past requires questioning, imagining, contextualising and (re-)constructing. History education researchers across many national contexts would agree that students need to be taught to understand the nature of historical knowledge – how such knowledge is constructed, how evidence is used to develop interpretations or support claims, how evidence/interpretation is adjudged as valid or credible, etc. "

The Population White Paper: The hidden rationale for Singaporeans’ concern

"Singapore commemorates its golden jubilee this year with a slew of nation-wide events. This celebration serves as a point of reflection for Singapore’s achievement in the past 50 years. However, it is also timely and crucial to reflect on issues that had sparked tensions amongst the citizenry. The promulgation of the Population White Paper (PWP) and its impact on Singaporeans has been an issue widely written by many academics but the rationale for Singaporeans’ reaction over the PWP has yet to be explored in greater depth."

The Place of History in Multicultural Education

"As a multi-disciplinary subject, history education has been perennially a case of interpretative management of narrative mythologies. In this, multicultural education as a reform process that strives for dignity, equity and social justice has a natural home in history education not just by affirming and empowering pupils marginalised by hegemonic narratives but through its potential in nurturing multicultural values that can benefit all pupils."

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An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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