Organic historical reasoning : redefining the concept of ‘Historical Empathy'

Moore, Hugh Geoffrey (2019) Organic historical reasoning : redefining the concept of ‘Historical Empathy'. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis examines ways in which non-specialist primary ITE (Initial Teacher Education) students can make historically valid connections with people who lived in the past. The literature review analyses the work of R. G. Collingwood and is critical of the concept of Historical Empathy, developed by educationalists from his work. It then identifies, from recent literature, aspects of Historical Empathy which may be achievable for these non-specialist students of history, combined with findings from recent research in psychology and philosophy, particularly when they are applied to material culture. The literature review concludes, with a tentative first model of a proposed new concept, which was labelled Organic Historical Reasoning and comprised of four sub-concepts. Semi-structured interviews with 11 ITE students were recoded and transcribed. The data were analysed using a grounded first coding, which was aligned with a thematic approach to confirm overarching themes, reflecting the students’ thinking about people in the past. The key concepts identified in the literature review as potential dimensions of Organic Historical Reasoning were broadly reflected in the first data analyses but the model was revised after a detailed analysis of the responses in each of the four sub-concepts of Organic Historical Reasoning (model 2). This model was finally revised as model 3, which orders the component parts of the proposed concept of Organic Historical Reasoning, based on their strength within the data and their dependence on pedagogy. This tentative model describes key types of thinking which enabled this sample of non-specialist primary trainee teachers to connect with the reality of past lives.

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Thesis (PhD)
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13 Sep 2019 11:20
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 05:48