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Trying to “see things differently”: Northern Ireland Students’ Struggle to Understand Alternative Historical Perspectives

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Barton , K.C. and McCully, Alan (2012) Trying to “see things differently”: Northern Ireland Students’ Struggle to Understand Alternative Historical Perspectives. Theory & Research in Social Education, 40 (4). pp. 371-408. [Journal article]

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00933104.2012.710928

DOI: 10.1080/00933104.2012.710928


This study illustrates the processes by which eight pairs of adolescents in Northern Ireland struggled to come to grips with tensions between school and community history. Findings are based on data collected through open-ended, semi-structured interviews with students from a variety of backgrounds. Although these students appreciated the attempt by schools to present a neutral and balanced approach to the past, many had difficulty fully engaging with alternative historical perspectives. These findings suggest that a balanced history curriculum may fail to challenge students deeply enough to help them integrate competing views of the past in ways that withstand community pressure. Greater engagement with multiple historical perspectives may require that schools address the affective component of contentious history, that they help students reflect on contemporary representations of the past, and that they expose students to the diversity of perspectives that exist within seemingly monolithic political and religious categories. Keywords: empathy; history education; Northern Ireland; social identity

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences
Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Education
ID Code:24246
Deposited By:Dr Alan McCully
Deposited On:04 Dec 2012 14:20
Last Modified:12 Sep 2013 11:52

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