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Title: Significance in history : students' ideas in England and Spain
Author: Cercadillo, Lis
ISNI:       0000 0001 3525 6290
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2000
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Historical learning is affected by cultural features and differences in educational systems. This is a comparative analysis of the progression of students' ideas in the understanding of historical significance, between two countries of the European Union, England and Spain. The research was intended to establish an empirically grounded model of progression in an area hitherto not investigated, namely significance within accounts. Progression was evaluated in two aspects: a) the relationship between significance and accounts (the significance of an event in rival historical narratives); and b) its variability of attributions, or types of significance (the different assessments of significance). This study was carried out with a sample of English and Spanish 12 to 17 year-old students. Methods followed were mainly qualitative, but the scale of the sample also allowed some quantitative analysis. The analysis of the relationship between significance and accounts concentrated on several notions: intrinsicallitylcontextuality; importance; emplotment and story parameters; point o/view; and validity and truth. Empirical data allowed the development of level-scales for each concept. Progression was found in all these areas, both for English and for Spanish students. However, cross-cultural differences were evident for some concepts, levels and age, in particular for importance and point 0/ view. English students became aware of these concepts at earlier ages and in higher numbers than Spanish ones. Five types of historical significance, contemporary, causal, pattern, symbolic, and presentljuture were defined. A further model of progression was generated through a qualitative analysis. This model comprises different levels, from responses that indicate no awareness of the notion of importance, and make no allusion to any type, or refer to the contemporary type only, towards responses that establish some kind of criteria to assess significance in different contexts and mention various types. The comparison of English and Spanish students' responses indicated several qualitative differences regarding types of significance and progression: pattern, symbolic and present/future types were more frequently mentioned amongst English participants in all year groups; and they reached a higher order of ideas at an earlier age than Spanish ones.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training