IV Congreso Internacional
Historia a Debate
Santiago de Compostela, 15-19 de diciembre de 2010
Sección I. 3. Nuevo paradigma educativo
Peter D’Sena (London South Bank University, United Kingdom)
Opening Minds and Challenging Perceptions ‘process dimensions’ in teaching and learning as vehicles for developing core historical concepts
Scholarship has acknowledged that since the 1960s there has been a growing relationship between the key concepts taught in both the school and university sectors and academic positions and theories supporting equity, inclusion and social justice. Galtung’s work on peace education and conflict resolution, Frèire’s on political agency, Richardson on cultural diversity and, more recently, Nussbaum on the ‘capabilities approach’ have informed practise in schools, teacher-education and some undergraduate provision.
Significantly, this has led history teachereducators and others to question the appropriateness of more traditional, didactic pedagogies commonly found in the classroom. Hicks (2007, for instance, has suggested that a ‘process dimension’, where active educational engagement with sources and information by the student can embed complex messages more effectively. Meanwhile Alexander (2009), in the largest review of primary education in Britain in the past fifty years, strongly supports greater student interactivity with the sources’ mediators - the teachers - through ‘dialogic teaching’.This paper analyses the contributions that process dimensions, exemplified by Dawson’s (2007) pedagogy of ‘active learning’ and other pioneering forms of craft knowledge, can bring to the development of three core historical concepts - causal reasoning, inference and empathy. Though these pedagogic tools are under theorised and grounded in anecdote at this stage, the argument about stimulating visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles presents a contribution, even if not firm conclusions to the debate about how university practitioners can increase the potential to open students’ minds and improve their ability to challenge perspectives both highly desirable outcomes in history and related disciplines.