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Volume 24Number 2 publication date:Dec. 2011
High School Students’ Historical Concepts, Attitudes Toward History Learning, and Historical Critical Thinking Disposition
    Author:Li-Jung Huang, Si-Yi Lai, & Shu-Ching Yang
Research Article


Exploring ways to cultivate learners’ historical critical thinking has been one of the main themes in recent US and European educational reform. However, the processes by which learners’ understand the concepts in history (i.e. historical documents, evidence, empathy, interpretation and accounts) have not been investigated from a learner-centered perspective. Furthermore, how learners view history and their disposition to historical critical thinking have not been fully explored. The purpose of the study is to design instruments that measure students’ history learning and to explore learners’ development of history concepts, attitude toward history learning, and their historical critical thinking disposition. The participants were 1017 8th, 9th and 11th grade students within the Kaohsiung County. Results showed that learners in history courses, in general, tend to focus on memorizing historical facts and display only limited understanding toward the concepts of history. In addition, analysis showed that learners with more positive evaluation toward teachers, read a greater number of historical novels and stories, as well as reported more liking of history. These learners also display much better performance on historical critical thinking disposition. Based on the findings, some suggestions were proposed for history teachers and future studies.

Keywords: historical critical thinking abilities; historical critical thinking disposition, history education

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