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.
Students evaluate a timeline of Conflict Management in Europe 1648-1945 as an historical interpretation of the period.
What can we learn from a timeline about conflict management in Europe?
Students uncover the thoughts and processes that lead to historical interpretations of the causes of World War 1.
What's behind historical interpretation?
Students select, and justify the selection of, a collection of artefacts to create their own interpretation of how people experienced World War 1.
What can a collection of artefacts reveal about how people experienced the First World War?
Students study how decisions are made about the interpretations of World War 1 that should be taught in school curricula.
Understanding what factors can shape the interpretations of history we are taught in school
Students examine how a range of academic interpretations are constructed and question their evidence base.
What evidence has been used to construct academic interpretations of the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914?