Jun 21st, 2015
Studypool Tutor
Texas Woman's University
Course: general
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Abraham Lincoln : Case Study in Contextualized Thinking Teaching history is not only about teaching students what happened in the past; its about teaching them how to think about the past. Many students instinctively employ modern perspectives when reading historical documentsa practice historians call "presentism." Students have to be taught to "think contextually," learning to recognize how the past differed from the present. In a significant study, Sam Wineburg revealed that even among teachers contextual thinking is a unique skill that needs to be intentionally developed.Wineburg and his colleagues worked with 12 pre-service teachers participating in a fifth-year certification program at the University of Washington. They asked those teachers to "think aloud" and make visible how the teachers thought about six historical documents from the nineteenth century.In this small study, being a history major turned out not to be a reliable predictor of being able to contextualize historical documents. Even college students with strong history content knowledge can fall prey to presentism. The most sophisticated historical readers, on the other hand, build a social context for the historical documents they are reading, drawing inferences from each document, establishing a spectrum of ideas for the period, and reading multiple documents in conversation with each other.Drawing Inferences from DocumentsHistorical documents tell readers something not only about their au

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