När kritiska elever är målet. Att undervisa i källkritik på gymnasiet
Sammanfattning: This essay examines teaching in source criticism in upper secondary school history education. Two questions are to be answered: 1. What are the conditions like for teaching source criticism? 2. What opportunities for further development in teaching source criticism are there? In order to set a standard for what knowledge and skills in source criticism the students need, I design a four step model for good source criticism based on the historical science. Firstly the students need to understand the difference between relics and narratives; secondly how to use a relic based on its representativity; thirdly how to examine a narrative using the four criteria authenticity, proximity, dependence and tendency; and finally how to evaluate the conclusions regarding the historical context. To answer the questions I study 1) the syllabi in history from 1994, 2000 (the presently used) and the one which probably will be enforced in 2008 or 2009, 2) explanations of basic source criticism and exercises found in the most commonly used textbooks, 3) students’ answers on a question on source criticism from a test on course a in history, and 4) answers given by three teachers when interviewed on their thoughts about the syllabi, the textbooks and the students’ ability to learn source criticism. The syllabi stress the importance of source criticism, but don’t define what it is or what skills the students are supposed to reach. I therefore propose the incorporation of a scientific model, such as the one previously mentioned, in the next syllabus. Such a model would give both teachers and students a fixed purpose and benefit the equality. Good explanations of basic source criticism can be found in the common textbooks. Perspektiv på historien B provides a really good chapter on source criticism. There are sev¬eral exercises to be found, although there is a lack of good exercises concerning modern history, especially the late 20th century. One possibility to find more exercises is to use books originally designed for higher education. Given it is fairly easy to find reprints of sources, another opportunity, and maybe a necessity, is that teachers themselves develop new exercises. The students are very capable of learning source criticism. It is obvious that those students who study source criticism, if yet only in small measures, have much greater skill than those who don’t study source criticism at all. One problem is that students could find it difficult to understand the archaic language in the sources. By using extensive word lists and sometimes modernized translations this problem can be reduced. One problem in teaching source criticism, brought to attention by previous research and the interviewed teachers, is the fact that students often find it boring to study sources. To make the critical analysis more interesting varied methods have to be used. Media could be used for critical reasoning concerning up-to-date topics the students can relate to. Databases on the Internet, historical movies, paintings and photos could also be analysed.
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