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Article ID Number:

9.301

The Didactic Function of Narratives: Teacher discussions on the use of challenging, engaging, unifying, and complementing narratives in the history classroom

Mikael Berg & Anders Persson

9.301

Keywords

Historical Culture, Historical Narratives, Didactic Resource, Didactic Function, Teaching Profession

Abstract

At a time when society is characterised by a polarised social climate, it is teachers who need to contribute to a nuanced orientation of the world. This article looks at the ways historical narratives can be used as a collective didactic resource in the historical-cultural context of contemporary society. Its purpose is to analyse the didactic function that underlies historical narratives in relation to students’ understanding of society. Our study builds on three focus group interviews with five upper-secondary-school teachers of history and social studies. The method used is the stimulated-recall interview whereby teachers talk about various teaching situations. Four uses of historical narratives were identified, each with its own didactic function. The first is the use of the “challenging” narrative, the function of which is to disrupt and realign students’ understanding of society. The second is the use of the “engaging” narrative: its function is to involve and activate students in their present understanding of society. The third is the use of the “unifying” narrative, the function of which is to bridge contradictions within society. The fourth and final narrative is the “complementing” narrative, whose function it is to broaden and open students’ understanding of society. To address students in terms of their present understanding of society, teachers employ these four narratives as didactic resources. In such a way, these uses of historical narratives tie in with the teachers’ overall aim to contribute an alternative perspective to students’ current understanding of society. As such, the results reveal the general theoretical knowledge teachers have relating to their profession.

Citation

Berg, M., & Persson, A. (2022). The didactic function of narratives: Teacher discussions on the use of challenging, engaging, unifying, and complementing narratives in the history classroom, Historical Encounters, 9(3), 1-17. https://doi.org/10.52289/hej9.301

Copyright

(C) Copyright retained by Author/s

Double Blind Peer Reviewed

Distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License

14 December 2022

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