London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Students' conception of historical significance

Author(s) Virta, A.  
Publisher London: CiCe  
Year 2009  
Editor P. Cunningham, Human Rights and Citizenship Education  
Age group -  
People’s conceptions of what is significant in history are related to the historical culture in a society, and to their historical consciousness. Previous studies of significance often focus on how students’ conceptions are related to ethnicity or nationality. The main question in the present paper is how adolescents assess key events in the history of their home countries. Finnish students (n = 62) often mentioned the achievement of independence, and wars, which are key events in the great national narrative. Foreign-born students’ (n= 56) answers also reflected the recent political events in their respective home countries. For comparison, I refer to interview data of foreign-born students (n= 36), which suggest that history is strongly related to their identity.

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