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Historical thinking involves the following key elements:

[Chronological Thinking - time, continuity and change]
Place people, events and changes in the periods studied within a chronological framework (distinguish between past, present and future time); know what things were like in the past and how things changed and developed. Being able to read and reconstruct the pasts permits one to develop a historical viewpoint and to answer such questions as: Who am I? What happened in the past? How am I connected to those in the past? How has the world changed and how might it change in the future? Use dates, terms and conventions that describe historical periods and the passing time, e.g. Colonial, Victorian, Georgian.

Historical Comprehension
[Range and Depth of historical knowledge and understanding]
Knowledge/ Understanding –knowledge of facts and terms; understanding of concepts, principles and theories; understand of relationships between concepts:

  • Analyse characteristic features of particular periods and societies, including range of ideas, beliefs, and attitudes of people and experiences of men and women;
  • Describe, analyze and explain reasons for and results of historical events, situations and changes in periods studied;
  • Assess significance of main events, people, and changes studied;
  • Identify central question(s) the historical narrative addresses;
  • Read historical narratives imaginatively.

Analyses and Interpretations
  • Determine how and why some historical events, people, situations and changes have been interpreted differently;
  • Analyse and evaluate interpretations;
  • Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas, values, personalities, behavior, and institutions;
  • Differentiate between historical facts and historical interpretations;
  • Analyse cause and effect relationships;
  • Compare competing historical narratives;
  • Hold interpretations of history as tentative;
  • Evaluate major debates among historians;
  • Hypothesize the influence of the past.

Historical Inquiry
[Research capabilities]
Thinking/Inquiry - critical thinking skills e.g. conducting analysis, detecting point of view, bias; creative thinking skills e.g., problem solving using multiple perspectives; inquiry skills e.g., formulating questions, organizing and conducting research, analyzing, interpreting and evaluating information, drawing conclusions.

  • Ask and answer significant questions; collect and record information relevant to a topic and reach conclusions;
  • Investigate independently aspects of periods studied, using a range of resources;
  • Formulate historical questions;
  • Obtain historical data;
  • Interrogate historical data.

Organization and Communication
[Historical Issues, Analysis and Decision-making]
Communication of information and ideas; written communication (e.g. reviews, short essays, letters) for different audiences and purposes.

  • Recall, select and organize historical information, including dates and terms;
  • Organize knowledge and understanding in order to describe and explain periods and topics studied;
  • Communicate knowledge and understanding of history using a range of techniques, including extended narratives and descriptions and substantiated explanations;
  • Identify issues and problems of the past;
  • Marshal evidence contributing to problems and alternative courses of action;
  • Evaluate alternative courses of action;
  • Formulate a position or course of action on an issue;
  • Evaluate the implementation of a decision.

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