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Title: History education, collective memory and reconciliation in Northern Ireland : multiple case study research of teacher and pupil perspectives on learning about the past
Author: Curran, Barbara Ann Marie
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This study explores the perspectives of teachers and pupils regarding formal history education, approaches to the past and collective memory in post primary schools in Northern Ireland and draws on social identity theory (Tajfel, 1979b) and intergroup emotion theory (Smith et al, 2007) to explain the emotional connection between history and identity, a link that becomes particularly important in the context of societies with a history of political conflict (Cairns and Roe, 2003). Identity can evoke strong emotions when a group member has strong attachment to the social group (Mackie et al, 2004); these emotions become part of how individuals evaluate the world around them: the past, present and future. As such, emotional attachment to social identity is likely to result in emotional attachment to the collective memory of that group, particularly when the group is involved in conflict (Cairns and Roe, 2003). The exploratory multi case study investigated six post primary schools in the province that included denominational, selective and integrated school types. The mixed methods research design used quantitative methods to investigate pupils' understanding of history and significant events, providing the basis for qualitative pupil research (focus groups) to develop a deeper understanding of how young people in the case schools approach the past, history education and the collective memory of their communities. Qualitative interviews were also used to gain teachers' perspectives on the reviewed curriculum, experiences of teaching history in a society where the past is contested. The study found that pupils viewed history from a 'them' and 'us' perspective but that they were capable of critical analysis in some areas that reflected their teachers' approach to history education. This is the first study to investigate teachers' and pupils' perspectives of history education, and the first research on history education after the curriculum review of 2007.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available