Smith J (2016) What remains of History? Historical epistemology and historical understanding in Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence. Curriculum Journal, 27 (4), pp. 500-517. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585176.2016.1197138
This paper critically examines the framing of historical knowledge in the primary and 'broad general education' phases (ages 4-14) of Scotland's Curriculum for Excellence. The paper focuses on curriculum documentation, particularly the curriculum’s aims and ‘Experiences and Outcomes and evaluates these in light of recent research on children’s historical understanding. It is argued that the decision to frame historical understanding as 'People, Past Events and Societies' within the context of a 'social studies' curriculum area has been motivated by a misunderstanding of history's unique disciplinary identity. It is argued that history curricula must take account of the unique ontological and epistemological challenges posed by investigating the past and that by failing to do this, ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ offers children in Scotland a problematic representation of what it means to study the past.
The paper challenges the curriculum in both epistemic and pedagogical terms, before suggesting that a rigorous study of history as a discipline can make a valuable contribution to children’s personal and social development.
History; Curriculum for Excellence; Social Studies; progression; historical understanding; historical epistemology
Curriculum Journal: Volume 27, Issue 4
|Publication date online||05/07/2016|
|Date accepted by journal||24/05/2016|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|