Teaching for Historical Understanding (TfHU): Developing a Discipline-based Curriculum Model at Tanjong Katong Secondary School, pp. 5 of 17

In pursuing a department-wide approach to teach history with understanding goals in mind, the TK History Unit identified the desired student outcomes as follows:

  • To develop students into confident persons:  Through the project, students will be able to develop sound understanding of history and hone historical skills that would assist them in managing historical knowledge in a confident way. By approaching history as a disciplined inquiry into the past, students will develop greater confidence when dealing with aspects related to historical methodology, such as: when evaluating sources as pieces of evidence, when identifying and analysing different interpretations of the past, and when putting forward a well-substantiated argument to support a claim about an event in the past.
  • To support students’ development into self-directed learners: The inquiry-based and concept-driven lessons will allow students to develop historical skills and conceptual understandings that can support their intellectual growth beyond their secondary school education. They will develop self-autonomy when engaging in future learning experiences and know how to self-regulate their own thinking, especially when faced with challenges that are history-related. This may be demonstrated through tasks that require them to evaluate multiple sources of information, assess the evidentiary basis of knowledge claims, arrive at supportable, well-balanced conclusions about contentious historical issues, and so on. 

Project structure and design

The structure of the project takes into consideration the overall aims and expected outcomes, as well as the identification of certain “gaps” that may need to be addressed to ensure the achievement of these goals/outcomes (such as teachers’ level of disciplinary expertise, subject matter competency, and other capacity-building aspects). Broadly, the project involved three phases:

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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