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Historical Thinking

Historical Interpretations

Historical interpretations are views created at a later time than the events described, often for some specific purpose. Interpretations range from academic works of historians, to popular movies and to family memories. Work with historical interpretations in the classroom should focus upon how and why the environment in which the interpretation was created has shaped the interpretation itself. It is not the same as students making use of source material from the time of the events being studied. This aspect of historical thinking requires students to understand both the period being interpreted and also the period in which the interpretation took place, in order to place the interpretation in context. They also need to learn about the ways in which interpretations are constructed and how the construction is influenced by audience and purpose.

Learning Activities