Understanding agency and developing historical thinking through labour history in elementary school: A local history learning experience

Stéphanie Demers, David Lefrançois, Marc-André Ethier


Local history has been much neglected in many social studies curricula, in spite of its potential for providing students with authentic and proximal objects of study for the development of historical thinking and understanding of historical agency. This paper presents the results of a collaborative research endeavor, conducted with two teachers and their fifth grade students, and centered around a local history learning unit. The unit included a field enquiry and role-play based on the use of primary source evidence. The unit proved favorable for the development of some structural concepts of historical thinking (Seixas, 1996) and helped students see themselves as historical agents. 


social studies; local history; elementary school students; historical thinking; historical agency

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Stéphanie Demers, David Lefrançois, Marc-André Ethier

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.

The journal is published by the HERMES History Education Research Network concentrated at The University of Newcastle, Australia. The journal publishes a single regular issue in June each year, and a special issue in the December. To ensure timely availability of scholarship, articles and reviews are published as soon as they have been successfully through the peer review and editorial processes, adding cumulatively to the content for the single regular issue each year. No fees are charged for subscription or publication. The journal is indexed in SCOPUSDOAJ, Index Didacticorum, and Google Scholar, and periodically archived in the National Library of Australia's PANDORA Archive. Contributors to the journal retain copyright to their work. Please read the Copyright Notice for full details.

Click here to download the Journal Information booklet, with complete Author Guidelines.

Follow us on Twitter: @hermeshistory or #HistoricalEncounters

A/ Professor Robert J. Parkes, PhD
Editor | Historical Encounters
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle
Callaghan NSW 2308 Australia

T: +61 (2) 498-54080
E: Robert.Parkes@newcastle.edu.au

ISSN 2203-7543