Pitt Logo LinkContact Us

CONNECTING THE PAST TO THE PRESENT: STUDENT MEANING MAKING IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL WORLD HISTORY CLASSROOM

Anderson, Michelle R (2011) CONNECTING THE PAST TO THE PRESENT: STUDENT MEANING MAKING IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL WORLD HISTORY CLASSROOM. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh.

[img]
Preview
PDF - Primary Text
Download (799Kb) | Preview

    Abstract

    This descriptive study investigates the ways that students in an Ancient History class make meaning of past events by relating them to their present lives and experiences. The study is grounded in theories of historical thinking, particularly focusing on the concepts of presentism and its usefulness for examining classroom teaching. The following two research questions guided the study: 1) How do students make connections between the past and present? 2) When given the opportunity in writing and discussion, in what ways are students engaging with distant events in the past? The research site was a middle school in a medium-sized city located in the Midwest. Data was collected in the Fall of 2010 over the course of eight weeks during two units of study (Ancient Civilizations Review and Ancient Greece). The following data sources were collected: five audio-recorded classroom discussions and other instruction, twelve interviews with students and student assignments and journal entries. The analysis revealed two categories of the students' thinking about the relevance of past events: (1) conflating the past with the present and the challenge of presentism, and (2) translating and adapting the past to the present. The data showed that some students viewed history from a presentist perspective that did not distinguish sufficiently between time periods. However, many students also applied lessons from the past to their own lives by associating historical ideas and themes to their individual experiences, which was especially evident in the discussions. Students tended to make sense of history by assigning meaning to the concepts they were studying in a personal manner and by finding similarities between the past and present.


    Share

    Citation/Export:
    Social Networking:

    Details

    Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
    Creators/Authors:
    CreatorsEmailORCID
    Anderson, Michelle Rmra29@pitt.edu
    ETD Committee:
    ETD Committee TypeCommittee MemberEmailORCID
    Committee ChairMyers, Johnmyersjp@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberThein, Amanda
    Committee MemberLazar, Merylmklazar@pitt.edu
    Committee MemberCrawford, Patriciapcrawfor@pitt.edu
    Title: CONNECTING THE PAST TO THE PRESENT: STUDENT MEANING MAKING IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL WORLD HISTORY CLASSROOM
    Status: Unpublished
    Abstract: This descriptive study investigates the ways that students in an Ancient History class make meaning of past events by relating them to their present lives and experiences. The study is grounded in theories of historical thinking, particularly focusing on the concepts of presentism and its usefulness for examining classroom teaching. The following two research questions guided the study: 1) How do students make connections between the past and present? 2) When given the opportunity in writing and discussion, in what ways are students engaging with distant events in the past? The research site was a middle school in a medium-sized city located in the Midwest. Data was collected in the Fall of 2010 over the course of eight weeks during two units of study (Ancient Civilizations Review and Ancient Greece). The following data sources were collected: five audio-recorded classroom discussions and other instruction, twelve interviews with students and student assignments and journal entries. The analysis revealed two categories of the students' thinking about the relevance of past events: (1) conflating the past with the present and the challenge of presentism, and (2) translating and adapting the past to the present. The data showed that some students viewed history from a presentist perspective that did not distinguish sufficiently between time periods. However, many students also applied lessons from the past to their own lives by associating historical ideas and themes to their individual experiences, which was especially evident in the discussions. Students tended to make sense of history by assigning meaning to the concepts they were studying in a personal manner and by finding similarities between the past and present.
    Date: 07 September 2011
    Date Type: Completion
    Defense Date: 15 August 2011
    Approval Date: 07 September 2011
    Submission Date: 27 August 2011
    Access Restriction: No restriction; The work is available for access worldwide immediately.
    Patent pending: No
    Institution: University of Pittsburgh
    Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
    Refereed: Yes
    Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
    URN: etd-08272011-204038
    Uncontrolled Keywords: historical understanding; student meaning making; history education; student engagement
    Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
    Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 15:01
    Last Modified: 01 May 2012 11:18
    Other ID: http://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-08272011-204038/, etd-08272011-204038

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads