History Teaching between Multiperspectivity and a Shared Line of Reasoning
Historical Explanations in Swedish Classrooms
Nyckelord:HISTORY EDUCATION, HISTORICAL EXPLANATION, INTERPRETATION, MULTIPERSPECTIVITY
This study investigates the presence of multiperspectivity in history teaching through teachers' constructions of historical explanations in classroom interactions. The concept of multiperspectivity is linked to the related concept of interpretation as a central aspect of comprehension of history, in particular to the idea of including different interpretations of the same historical event or process. This idea, as expressed in the current Swedish history syllabus, is contrasted with the notion of establishing a shared line of reasoning as a central aim of teaching practices. The study is built on classroom observations of three teachers in lower secondary school, and specifically analyses how historical explanations are constructed as more or less open to different interpretations. The results indicate that explanations only occasionally are presented as open to different interpretations, and that the degree of openness is influenced by adaptation to student groups, but also possibly by the content matter. The study suggests that the notion of multiperspectivity may come into conflict with the aim of establishing a shared line of reasoning.