Towards bad history? A call for the use of counterfactual historical reasoning in history education

Tim Huijgen, Paul Holthuis


In this article we argue for the use of Counterfactual Historical Reasoning (CHR) in history education. Within the discipline of History the use of CHR as a reasoning and research strategy is very controversial. However, different studies show the potential of CHR for achieving the important students' competencies of historical and creative thinking. We show this potential using a CHR assignment that teacher students from the University of Groningen developed for secondary school students in their last year of pre-university education. We conclude that CHR could be used in history education to uncover and undermine assumptions, expand imagination, argue and reason from a historical context, ask historical questions and analyse sources in a very effective way.

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Copyright (c) 2021 Tim Huijgen, Paul Holthuis

Historical Encounters is a double blind peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the empirical and theoretical study of historical consciousness, historical cultures, and history education.

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A/ Professor Robert J. Parkes, PhD
Editor-in-Chief | Historical Encounters
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle
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