Teaching historical thinking and reasoning in upper secondary schools in Iceland
results of an observation study
Nyckelord:HISTORY EDUCATION, HISTORICAL THINKING, CLASSROOM OBSERVATION
This study aims to describe the teaching of historical thinking and reasoning in upper secondary education in Iceland and to what extent teachers teach for these higher order thinking skills in their daily practice. We used the observation instrument, Teach-HTR, to rate 54 history lessons. It is now apparent that some form of HTR is present in nearly all of them. Nearly all included teacher’s demonstration of historical thinking and reasoning and teachers also engaged students in individual or group assignments that asked for various HTR activities. However, it does not seem to be built upon in a strategic manner and certain areas are almost completely left out. The vocabulary of HTR is not deliberately used, which indicates that teachers may be drawing more from their education as historians than as history teachers. This study may provide important indicators for professional development that can be of use in teacher training and professionalization. With the help of the instrument Teach-HTR and the literature it should be possible to design a program that helps teachers focus on basic components of historical thinking and reasoning and specific behaviour, discourse and activities that bring it forward.