Historical thinking, causal explanation and narrative discourse in trainee teachers in Spain

Jorge Sáiz Serrano, Cosme J Goméz Carrasco, Ramón López Facal


This paper examines the historical thinking skills of 283 students studying a Primary Education degree in Spain. In order to achieve this objective, we analysed texts they had written on a substantive historical event: the Christian expansion into the Muslim-ruled territories of the Iberian Peninsula. We employed a qualitative methodology in order to determine the level of presentational complexity according to the knowledge demonstrated, the second-order concepts included in their texts and the way in which the causal application of the process was expressed. This was combined with a quantitative assessment of the levels of complexity and their relationship with the cognitive levels of the texts according to the SOLO taxonomy. The results, demonstrated in the task, confirm that trainee teachers have extremely limited skills relating to history and a simplistic model of causal explanation, based on the contrast between union/hegemony and disintegration/weakness. This discourse is inherited from the national narrative imposed since the times of 19thcentury historiography.


Historical Thinking; History Education; Narrative Inquiry; Primary Education; Teacher Training

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Copyright (c) 2021 Jorge Sáiz Serrano, Cosme J Goméz Carrasco, Ramón López Facal

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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