Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences

Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences

Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences

Cognitive and Instructional Processes in History and the Social Sciences

Synopsis

This volume is a direct result of an international conference that brought together a number of scholars from Europe and the United States to discuss their ideas and research about cognitive and instructional processes in history and the social sciences. As such, it fills a major gap in the study of how people learn and reason in the context of particular subject matter domains and how instruction can be improved in order to facilitate better learning and reasoning. Previous cognitive work on subject matter learning has been focused primarily upon mathematics and physics; the present effort provides the first such venture examining the history and social science domains from a cognitive perspective.

The different sections of the book cover topics related to comprehension, learning, and instruction of history and the social sciences, including:

• the development of some social sciences concepts,

• the teaching of social sciences -- problems and questions arising from this cognitive perspective of learning,

• the comprehension and learning from historical texts,

• how people and students understand historical causality and provide explanations of historical events, and

• the deduction processes involved in reasoning about social sciences contents.

This volume will be useful for primary and secondary school teachers and for cognitive and instructional researchers interested in problem solving and reasoning, text comprehension, domain-specific knowledge acquisition and concept development.

Excerpt

The chapters that appear in this book are the product of an international conference held at Autonoma University of Madrid, Spain, in October 1992. The main purpose of the conference was to bring together a small number of scholars from Europe and the United States to discuss their ideas and research about cognitive and instructional processes in History and Social Sciences, with the focus primarily on History.

It was hoped that the seminar would help to initiate and/or strengthen the development of the cognitive study of History and the Social Sciences. As far as we know, this seminar was the first of its type, that is, in which cognitive/instructional approaches to the problems of understanding historical concepts, texts, and problems were discussed. Thus, although considerable progress has been achieved in the cognitive study of domains such as physics or mathematics, little work has been carried out in the field of social sciences and even less in the field of history. The seminar was designed to help bring via cognitive analysis a better understanding to the processes of learning and reasoning in these disciplines.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The conference was made possible via the generous support from the USA-Spain Joint Committee for Scientific and Cultural Affairs, the Spanish Ministry of Education, and the Autonoma University of Madrid. Other contributing institutions were the Comunidad Autonoma of Madrid, the Deutsche Institute, the British Council, and the Faculties of Psychology . . .

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