Academic journal article International Journal of Action Research

Teaching in the History of Education: A Transdisciplinary Perspective

Academic journal article International Journal of Action Research

Teaching in the History of Education: A Transdisciplinary Perspective

Article excerpt


The rethinking of pedagogical practice in the teaching of the History of Education has been a constant concern of the researcher throughout the many years of teaching in the area. To overcome the positivist conception, the methodologies that make uninteresting and less experiential learning, lack of student awareness as subjects of their own history and, as a consequence, not assuming their role in society, it is necessary to constantly seek differentiated, innovative practices that allow a more committed, effective learning that is at the same time challenging and enjoyable. It is necessary to work, also, so that the student knows that the study of laws and educational policies cannot be taken as a reflection of reality: the practice shows that these documents go through processes of appropriation, assimilation and resistance in their execution. The content worked in the discipline cannot remain foreign and distant from the student world: it is necessary to involve it, seduce it, in the tangle of sources in which history unfolds, turning the school into a place of renewal, of the historicisation of conflict, of awareness of the presence of history in their daily lives and the possibility of interfering in the transformation of the reality in which they live

As Nóvoa (1992) states,

The History of Education is not only important because it provides us the 'memory of educational pathways' (in some cases it may take a certain exemplary position), but above all because it allows us to understand that there is no determinism in the evolution of educational systems, pedagogical ideas or school practices: it is the product of a social construction (Nóvoa 1992, p. 211).

In a training course for teachers, what is the History of Education for? What would be the result of using primary sources, involving events, actors and places within the reach of the students, to rebuild the local history and then insert it into the regional and national context of education? Would linking the local to the regional and then to the national give meaning to historical events, making it possible to establish a dialectical relationship between the unknown past and the known present? Would the student go from a naive curiosity to a critical analysis of reality, maturing and consolidating their citizenship? How is it possible to stimulate a new understanding of reality, in this context?

After transforming those questions into proposals, I have submitted the action research, in a transdisciplinary perspective, to my students of the 2nd period Pedagogy course at a large private university, who accepted the challenge, committing themselves to develop it.

It is important to highlight that, when working with the early grades, they should offer children the knowledge of their history, their family, their neighbourhood and their city, motivated scholars to pursue a practice that also gave them an understanding of their historical identity and their role in society. It is necessary to add also that by working with history in the early grades, the teacher does not always have the studies available that can help them as much as the content, which very focused on the reality of the student, but, nevertheless, can be unveiled with the help of different sources.

This need for the teacher to know the history of local education, which will be worked in elementary school, raises the reflection on the antagonisms and/or interdependencies between local history and national history. The perspective of micro-history, contextualised through an observation scale (Lepetit 1998), enabled the understanding of adjectives such as national, regional and local, defining social spaces in which historical subjects act. This delimitation of spaces is within the understanding that the location marks the beginning of the investigation, but can only be fully understood in its relationships with the regional and national levels. Working local history does not mean to oppose national history. …

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