History education in the school and the museum: expression of historical thinking by 13 year-old and 16 year-old students in museum and school environments 2015

Ph.D Candidate: 
Georgia Kouseri (ΜΑ)
Supervising Committee: 
Irene Nakou, George Kokkinos, Niki Nikonanou

Τhe purpose of this study was to investigate whether – and to what extent – there are differences in theexpression of historical thinking by students aged 12-13 and 15-16, studying material archeologicalremains of the past as historical sources in museum and school environments. For this purpose, students’historical thinking was examined in the following conditions: A) in two different environments: museumand school, and B) while working with material archaeological remains presented in three different ways:as physical objects, in the form of printed representations and in the form of digital representations. Inaddition, C) students’ perceptions about the two different environments and the three different forms ofrepresentation were examined.The theoretical and research background of this research was based on contemporary approaches tohistory education and, more specifically, on the “disciplinary approach” (Asbby, Lee & Shemilt, 2005.Lee, 2005. Seixas 2010. Asbby & Edwards, 2010. Lee, 2011. Shemilt, 2011). The interpretation ofstudents’ historical thinking while working with material archaeological remains relates to Nakou(Kriekouki-Nakou, 1996). The study of students’ perceptions about the two different environments –museum and school – and the three different forms or presenting material archaeological remains tookinto consideration the sociocultural approach (Wertsch, 1998. Barton, 2008).Based on the main research question, pilot (Ν=50 students) and empirical research was conducted duringthe school year 2009-2010, with the total sample of 189 high school students (12-13 year-old and 15-16year-old). In addition, 78 students, a part of the total sample, were interviewed in order to deepen our significance of the material remains studied; they referred to them in relation to their historical context onthe basis of the recollection and use of pre-existing historical knowledge or the use of the relevantinformation. Students expressed Interpretative historical thinking (the higher category of historicalthinking according to this Research relevant Category System) only in a comparative limited number oftheir responses, a result that seems to relate to their “traditional” education, according to which studentswere educated to reproduce the historical narrative of their school textbooks.However, the expression of Interpretative historical thinking in a number of students’ responses seems torelate to the historical or non-historical character of the questions and tasks and the type of the materialarchaeological remains studied. Parameters as students’ age and/or gender, and socio-cultural backgroundseem to have influenced the expression of historical thinking. The study of material remains as physicalobjects in the museum helped students express historical thinking, although they did not have anyprevious relevant educational experience or practice. Regarding students’ perceptions about the twodifferent environments and the three different forms of material remains representation findings indicatethat students consider that the study of material remains as physical objects in a museum environmentoffers many potentials such as the induction of historical perspective, the understanding of historical context, and the re-contextualization of remains in historical time and space.knowledge over students’ historical thinking and perceptions. Data were collected by students’ writtenresponses to a questionnaire, students’ oral responses during a semi-structured interview, and by theresearcher’s observation during the whole procedure. Data analysis was conducted by qualitative methods(content analysis).The findings showed that students, in most of their responses, seemed to have grasped the historic