History

Classroom Conversation: The Use Of Discussion-Based Strategy In The History Classroom

"In Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, Sam Wineburg argued that historical thinking “in its deepest forms, is neither a natural process nor something that springs automatically from psychological development” (2001: 7). He proposed that in order to understand and grapple with the past, we must change our existing mental structures. In reality, however, Singapore teachers often find themselves “telling history” to their students, as if particular stories about the past can be told in a linear manner or told through a given narrative. The idea that students would need to learn how to mentally wrestle with unfamiliar content, and to also become competent at requisite examination skills that demonstrate proficiency in managing the specified content, may perhaps seem an unfeasible expectation. "

Improving Student Ability in Interpreting Visual Sources through Action Research

"This paper reports the experience of a History Professional Learning Team (PLT) from St. Andrew’s Secondary School in 2017 in developing literary strategies to improve student ability to read and interpret pictorial sources. An action research strategy was used with 150 students for this purpose. Students were explicitly taught the “Triangle Method” of source analysis, as well as specific persuasive techniques used in political cartoons to help them make sense of visual sources. The team found that the strategy of focusing on students’ prior knowledge and allowing them to engage in think aloud protocols had resulted in significant improvements in students’ ability to analyze pictorial sources. "

Rethinking the Approach to Teaching Causation In the History Classroom

"​Core to historical research and the teaching of history is the concept of causation – in fact, E. H. Carr (1961: 87) famously opined, “the study of history is a study of causes”. Without an awareness and understanding of the concept of causation, it would be difficult to comprehend the reasons why events happened the way they did, and that evidence could be marshalled within a historical context to justify the relative hierarchy of factors for any given historical occurrence."

Historical Evidence: Archaeological Practice as a Pedagogical Tool for Historical Education in Singapore

"Historical education in Singapore has seen much progress following the shift away from Rafflesian history to studies on pre-1819 Singapore with new publications and exhibitions. However, many educators still face difficulties in delivering this knowledge to their students. This article looks at how historical education in Singapore can be enhanced by using an amalgamation of archaeological methods, historical evidence, and an inquiry-based approach as a pedagogical practice to teaching 14th-century Singapore. "

Historical Sources In The Classroom: Purpose and Use

"Historical sources are a common feature of history classrooms, but the purpose of using them is not always clear, and as a result, instructional activities with sources may not be as effective or meaningful as they should be. This lack of clarity stems in part from the fact that there are four distinctly different reasons for using sources, and each carries its own implications for classroom practice. These purposes are 1) illustration and motivation; 2) evidence for historical inquiry; 3) visual or textual interpretation; 4) source analysis. By reflecting on how each of these purposes can play a role in the classroom, which kinds of sources are appropriate for each, and where they fit into an overall sequence of instruction, teachers can ensure that their use of sources deepens and extends students’ historical understanding."

Studying and Constructing History: A Historian’s Take

"As a historian, I consider myself very privileged to be working alongside history educators and history teachers. This is a privilege that not many academic historians can enjoy since there are very few university departments that offer a combination of courses in academic history and history pedagogy such as those offered by HSSE. From my colleagues, I not only gained new insights into history education and classroom teaching, but I have also come to appreciate that there is a clear distinction between what I do as a historian – the locating and reading of primary documents and the very tedious process of reading, corroborating, cross-referencing and finally writing – and what history teachers do in the classroom, that is to teach history as a school subject. "

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. "

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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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