History Teaching, Conflict and the Legacy of the Past

Alan McCully

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    31 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The paper examines the utility of enquiry based, multi-perspective history teaching in divided societies and those emerging from conflict. Using findings from Northern Ireland as an example, it concludes that, while empirical research is required in a range of conflict settings, an enquiry approach, placing an emphasis on the examination of evidence and the study of multiple perspectives, can have a positive impact on young people’s thinking. However, for history teaching to contribute fully to the reconciliatory process it must engage critically with the legacies of the more recent past. The paper draws on the distinction between what Minow calls ‘psychological’ truth, associated with “truth-telling” in the immediate aftermath of conflict, and historical truth. It suggests that by engaging with storytelling history teaching may have the capacity to encourage young people to ‘care’ for those from different backgrounds who have been victimised by conflict; and also to examine such stories critically and thereby acquire a more complex understanding of the events of the recent past.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages145-159
    JournalEducation, Citizenship and Social Justice
    Volume7
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012

    Fingerprint

    Teaching
    history
    empirical research
    examination
    event
    society
    evidence

    Keywords

    • history teaching
    • multiperspectivity
    • post-conflict education
    • reconciliation
    • truth recovery.

    Cite this

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    title = "History Teaching, Conflict and the Legacy of the Past",
    abstract = "The paper examines the utility of enquiry based, multi-perspective history teaching in divided societies and those emerging from conflict. Using findings from Northern Ireland as an example, it concludes that, while empirical research is required in a range of conflict settings, an enquiry approach, placing an emphasis on the examination of evidence and the study of multiple perspectives, can have a positive impact on young people’s thinking. However, for history teaching to contribute fully to the reconciliatory process it must engage critically with the legacies of the more recent past. The paper draws on the distinction between what Minow calls ‘psychological’ truth, associated with “truth-telling” in the immediate aftermath of conflict, and historical truth. It suggests that by engaging with storytelling history teaching may have the capacity to encourage young people to ‘care’ for those from different backgrounds who have been victimised by conflict; and also to examine such stories critically and thereby acquire a more complex understanding of the events of the recent past.",
    keywords = "history teaching, multiperspectivity, post-conflict education, reconciliation, truth recovery.",
    author = "Alan McCully",
    note = "Reference text: References Bakhtin, M. M. (1982). The Dialogic Imagination: Four essays. Austin, TX: The University of Texas Press. Bar On D. (2010) Story-telling and Multiple Narratives in Conflict Situations: From TRT Group in the German –Jewist Context to the Dual narrative Approach of PRIME, Salomon G. & Cairns E. Eds., Handbook on Peace Education, Hove, Psychology Press, 199-212 Barton K.C. (2009) The Denial of Desire: how to make History Education Meaningless, Symcox L. & Wilschut A. Eds. , National History Standards: The Problem of the Canon and the Future of Teaching History, International Review of History Education, 5, 265-82. Barton K.C. & Levstik L.S. (2004) Teaching History for the Common Good, London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Barton, K. C. & McCully, A. W (2005) History, Identity and the School History Curriculum in Northern Ireland: An Empirical Study of Secondary Students’ Ideas and Perspectives, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 37 (1), 85-116. Barton, K. C. & McCully, A. W. (2008) “Trying to look at both sides”: negotiating school and community history in Northern Ireland Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, March Barton K.C. & McCully A.W. (2010) ‘Secondary Students’ Perspectives on School and Community History in Northern Ireland’, Teachers’ College Record, 112(1) Buckley-Zistel S. (2009) Nation, narration, unification?: The Politics of History Teaching after the Rwandan Genocide, Journal of Genocide Research, 11:1, 31-53. Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in South East Europe (CDRSEE) (2007) The South East European Joint History Project. Online: http://www.cdsee.org/jhp/download_eng.html (accessed December, 2009) Chapman A.R. (2007) Afterward, Cole E.A. ed. Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation, Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc., 317-326. Cole E.A. and Barsalou J. (2006) Unite or Divide? The Challenges of Teaching History in Societies Emerging from Violent Conflict, United States Institute for Peace. Online http://www.usip.org/resources/unite-or-divide-challenges-teaching-history-societies-emerging-violent-conflict (accessed December, 2009) Dawson I. (2008) Thinking across time: planning and teaching the story of power and democracy at key stage 3, Teaching History, 130, 14-21. Devine-Wright P. (2003) A Theoretical Overview of Memory and Conflict, Cairns E. & Roe M. eds. The Role of Memory in Ethnic Conflict, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 9-31. Foster S. (2001) Historical Empathy in Theory and Practice: Some Final Thoughts, Davis Jr. O.L., Yeagher E.A. & Foster S.J. eds. Historical Empathy and Perspective Taking in the Social Studies, Landham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 170. Freedman S.W., Weinstein H.M., Murphy K. & Longman T. (2008) Teaching history after Identity-based Conflicts: The Rwanda Experience, Compaarative Education Review, 52:4, 683-689. Gallagher A. (2004) Education in Divided Societies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Gallagher C. (1996) History Teaching and the promotion of Democratic Values and tolerance: A Handbook for Teachers, Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Gallagher C. (2001) The Future of History and the Challenge of Citizenship. McCully A. & O’Neill C. eds. Values in History Teacher Education and Research, Lancaster: History Teacher Education Network. Illingworth I. (2000) Hearts, Minds and Souls: Exploring Values through History, Teaching History, 100, 20-24. Kitson, A. (2007) History Education and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Cole E.A. ed. Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Kitson A. & McCully A. (2005) “You hear about it for real in school.” Avoiding, containing and risk-taking in the history classroom, Teaching History, 120, 32-37. Lee P. & Shemilt D. (2007) New Alchemy or Fatal Attraction?: History and Citizenship. Teaching History, 129, 14-19. Letourneau J. & Moisan S. (2004) ‘Young people’s assimilation of a collective historical memory: A case study of Quebeckers of French-Canadian Heritage, Seixas P. ed. Theorizing Historical Consciousness, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 109-128. Low-Beer A. (2001) Politics, school textbooks and cultural identity: the struggle in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paradigm, 2 (3). Online: http//:faculty.ed.uiuc.westbury/Paradigm (accessed August 2008). McAleavy A. (2000) Teaching about Historical Interpretations, Phillips R. and Arthur J. eds. Issues in History Teaching, Oxford: RoutledgeFalmer , 72-82. McCaffrey N. and Hansson U. (2011) The Troubles aren’t History Yet: Young people’s Understanding of the Past, Shared Space, issue 11, 43-56. McCully A. (1998) The Teaching of History in a Divided Community, Report of a European Teachers’ Seminar, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. McCully A., Pilgrim N., Sutherland A. and McMinn T. (2002) “Don’t worry, Mr. Trimble, we can handle it” : balancing the emotional with the rational in teaching of contentious topics, Teaching History,106, 6-12 McCully A. and Montgomery A. (2009) Knowledge, skills and dispositions: educating history teachers in a divided society, International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, 8:2, pp.92-105 http://www.history.org.uk/resources/secondary_resource_2593_8.html McCully A. and Pilgrim N. (2004) ‘‘They took Ireland away from us and we have to fight to get it back’’: using fictional characters to explore the relationship between historical interpretation and contemporary attitudes, Teaching History 114, 17-21. Minow M. (1998) Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence, Boston, Beacon Press. Mosberg, S. (2002). Speaking of history: how adolescents use their knowledge of history in reading the daily news. Cognition and Instruction, 20, 323-358. Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina: Textbook Commission, http://www.oscebih.org/education/textbook.asp?d=2 (accessed August 2008). Pingel, F. (1999) UNESCO Guidebook on Textbook Research and Textbook Revision, Paris: geoge Eckert Institute / UNESCO. Phillips R. (2002) Reflective Teaching of History 11-18, Continuum, London. Porat, D.A. (2004) ‘It’s not written here, but this is what happened: students’ cultural comprehension of textbook narratives on the Israeli-Arab conflict, American Educational Research Journal, 41, 963-996. Porat, D. A. (2006). Who fired first? Students’ construction of meaning from one textbook account of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Curriculum Inquiry, 36, 251-271. Shemilt D. (1980) History 13-16 Evaluation Study, Edinburgh, Holmes McDonald. Shriver D. (2007) Truths for Reconciliation: An American Perspective. Paper presented at a public lecture organised by the UNESCO Centre, University of Ulster, Belfast, October. Slater J. (1995) Teaching History in the New Europe, London, Council of Europe, Cassell. Smith A. and Vaux T. (2003) Education, Conflict and International Development, London, Department of International Development. Smith M.E. (2005) Reckoning with the Past: Teaching History in Northern Ireland, Oxford: Lexington Books. Seixas P. ed. (2004) Theorizing Historical Consciousness, Toronto, University of Toronto Press. Stradling R. (1997) The preparation and publication of new history textbooks for schools in European countries in democratic transition, Report, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. Stradling R. (2003) Multiperspectivity in history teaching : a guide for teachers, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. Tawil S. and Harley A. Eds. (2004) Education, Conflict and Social Cohesion, Geneva, International Bureau of Education, UNESCO. Weldon G. (2005) Thinking Each Other’s History: can Facing the Past Contribute to Education for Human Rights and Democracy?’ International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, 5, (1). Online: http://centres.exeter.ac.uk/historyresource/journal9/papers/weldon.pdf (accessed December, 2009). Weinstein H.M., Freedman S.W. and Hughson H. (2007) School Voices: Challenges facing education systems after identity-based conflicts, Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 2 (1), 41-71 Wertsch J.V. (1998) Mind as Action, New York, Oxford University Press. Wertsch J.V. (2000) Is it Possible to Teach Beliefs, as Well as Knowledge about History?, Stearns P.N., Seixas P. & Wineburg S. ed., Knowing, Teaching and Learning History: National and International Perspectives, New York: New York University Press, 38-50. Wertsch J.V. (2002) Voices of Collective",
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    History Teaching, Conflict and the Legacy of the Past. / McCully, Alan.

    In: Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, Vol. 7, No. 2, 01.07.2012, p. 145-159.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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C. & McCully, A. W. (2008) “Trying to look at both sides”: negotiating school and community history in Northern Ireland Paper presented to the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, March Barton K.C. & McCully A.W. (2010) ‘Secondary Students’ Perspectives on School and Community History in Northern Ireland’, Teachers’ College Record, 112(1) Buckley-Zistel S. (2009) Nation, narration, unification?: The Politics of History Teaching after the Rwandan Genocide, Journal of Genocide Research, 11:1, 31-53. Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in South East Europe (CDRSEE) (2007) The South East European Joint History Project. Online: http://www.cdsee.org/jhp/download_eng.html (accessed December, 2009) Chapman A.R. (2007) Afterward, Cole E.A. ed. Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation, Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers Inc., 317-326. Cole E.A. and Barsalou J. (2006) Unite or Divide? The Challenges of Teaching History in Societies Emerging from Violent Conflict, United States Institute for Peace. Online http://www.usip.org/resources/unite-or-divide-challenges-teaching-history-societies-emerging-violent-conflict (accessed December, 2009) Dawson I. (2008) Thinking across time: planning and teaching the story of power and democracy at key stage 3, Teaching History, 130, 14-21. Devine-Wright P. (2003) A Theoretical Overview of Memory and Conflict, Cairns E. & Roe M. eds. The Role of Memory in Ethnic Conflict, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 9-31. Foster S. (2001) Historical Empathy in Theory and Practice: Some Final Thoughts, Davis Jr. O.L., Yeagher E.A. & Foster S.J. eds. Historical Empathy and Perspective Taking in the Social Studies, Landham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 170. Freedman S.W., Weinstein H.M., Murphy K. & Longman T. (2008) Teaching history after Identity-based Conflicts: The Rwanda Experience, Compaarative Education Review, 52:4, 683-689. Gallagher A. (2004) Education in Divided Societies, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Gallagher C. (1996) History Teaching and the promotion of Democratic Values and tolerance: A Handbook for Teachers, Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Gallagher C. (2001) The Future of History and the Challenge of Citizenship. McCully A. & O’Neill C. eds. Values in History Teacher Education and Research, Lancaster: History Teacher Education Network. Illingworth I. (2000) Hearts, Minds and Souls: Exploring Values through History, Teaching History, 100, 20-24. Kitson, A. (2007) History Education and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland, Cole E.A. ed. Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Kitson A. & McCully A. (2005) “You hear about it for real in school.” Avoiding, containing and risk-taking in the history classroom, Teaching History, 120, 32-37. Lee P. & Shemilt D. (2007) New Alchemy or Fatal Attraction?: History and Citizenship. Teaching History, 129, 14-19. Letourneau J. & Moisan S. (2004) ‘Young people’s assimilation of a collective historical memory: A case study of Quebeckers of French-Canadian Heritage, Seixas P. ed. Theorizing Historical Consciousness, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 109-128. Low-Beer A. (2001) Politics, school textbooks and cultural identity: the struggle in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paradigm, 2 (3). Online: http//:faculty.ed.uiuc.westbury/Paradigm (accessed August 2008). McAleavy A. (2000) Teaching about Historical Interpretations, Phillips R. and Arthur J. eds. Issues in History Teaching, Oxford: RoutledgeFalmer , 72-82. McCaffrey N. and Hansson U. (2011) The Troubles aren’t History Yet: Young people’s Understanding of the Past, Shared Space, issue 11, 43-56. McCully A. (1998) The Teaching of History in a Divided Community, Report of a European Teachers’ Seminar, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. McCully A., Pilgrim N., Sutherland A. and McMinn T. (2002) “Don’t worry, Mr. Trimble, we can handle it” : balancing the emotional with the rational in teaching of contentious topics, Teaching History,106, 6-12 McCully A. and Montgomery A. (2009) Knowledge, skills and dispositions: educating history teachers in a divided society, International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, 8:2, pp.92-105 http://www.history.org.uk/resources/secondary_resource_2593_8.html McCully A. and Pilgrim N. (2004) ‘‘They took Ireland away from us and we have to fight to get it back’’: using fictional characters to explore the relationship between historical interpretation and contemporary attitudes, Teaching History 114, 17-21. Minow M. (1998) Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History after Genocide and Mass Violence, Boston, Beacon Press. Mosberg, S. (2002). Speaking of history: how adolescents use their knowledge of history in reading the daily news. Cognition and Instruction, 20, 323-358. Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina: Textbook Commission, http://www.oscebih.org/education/textbook.asp?d=2 (accessed August 2008). Pingel, F. (1999) UNESCO Guidebook on Textbook Research and Textbook Revision, Paris: geoge Eckert Institute / UNESCO. Phillips R. (2002) Reflective Teaching of History 11-18, Continuum, London. Porat, D.A. (2004) ‘It’s not written here, but this is what happened: students’ cultural comprehension of textbook narratives on the Israeli-Arab conflict, American Educational Research Journal, 41, 963-996. Porat, D. A. (2006). Who fired first? Students’ construction of meaning from one textbook account of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Curriculum Inquiry, 36, 251-271. Shemilt D. (1980) History 13-16 Evaluation Study, Edinburgh, Holmes McDonald. Shriver D. (2007) Truths for Reconciliation: An American Perspective. Paper presented at a public lecture organised by the UNESCO Centre, University of Ulster, Belfast, October. Slater J. (1995) Teaching History in the New Europe, London, Council of Europe, Cassell. Smith A. and Vaux T. (2003) Education, Conflict and International Development, London, Department of International Development. Smith M.E. (2005) Reckoning with the Past: Teaching History in Northern Ireland, Oxford: Lexington Books. Seixas P. ed. (2004) Theorizing Historical Consciousness, Toronto, University of Toronto Press. Stradling R. (1997) The preparation and publication of new history textbooks for schools in European countries in democratic transition, Report, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. Stradling R. (2003) Multiperspectivity in history teaching : a guide for teachers, Strasbourg, Council of Europe. Tawil S. and Harley A. Eds. (2004) Education, Conflict and Social Cohesion, Geneva, International Bureau of Education, UNESCO. Weldon G. (2005) Thinking Each Other’s History: can Facing the Past Contribute to Education for Human Rights and Democracy?’ International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, 5, (1). Online: http://centres.exeter.ac.uk/historyresource/journal9/papers/weldon.pdf (accessed December, 2009). Weinstein H.M., Freedman S.W. and Hughson H. (2007) School Voices: Challenges facing education systems after identity-based conflicts, Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 2 (1), 41-71 Wertsch J.V. (1998) Mind as Action, New York, Oxford University Press. Wertsch J.V. (2000) Is it Possible to Teach Beliefs, as Well as Knowledge about History?, Stearns P.N., Seixas P. & Wineburg S. ed., Knowing, Teaching and Learning History: National and International Perspectives, New York: New York University Press, 38-50. Wertsch J.V. (2002) Voices of Collective

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