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      Guiding students in Singapore to investigate historical controversy using a disciplinary approach

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          Abstract

          In this article, we make the case for teaching historical controversy on disciplinary and educational grounds. We outline an approach for teaching controversial history topics that engages students with authentic historical problems, such as historical controversies or actual debates taken up by historians, and allows students to participate in history as an interpretative enterprise. The disciplinary approach we suggest can also help teachers practically manage the challenges of teaching contentious topics by drawing on the disciplinary methods and standards used in history. Teaching controversial topics is challenging in many contexts, and in this article we highlight some of the challenges teachers in Singapore face when teaching controversial topics in history classrooms. We also draw on research that examines the conceptions Singaporean students hold about history and the nature of accounts in history. We argue that teaching historical controversy can help students develop their conceptual understanding of historical accounts, understand the nature of history as a discipline, and build their historical knowledge. We conclude by arguing that in a time of widespread access to multiple and often competing accounts about past and present in social media, a discipline-based history education is more important than ever.

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          Journal
          75011015
          History Education Research Journal
          UCL IOE Press
          1472-9474
          1472-9466
          26 October 2018
          : 15
          : 2
          : 308-327
          Article
          1472-9474(20181026)15:2L.308;1- s11.phd /ioep/herj/2018/00000015/00000002/art00011
          10.18546/HERJ.15.2.11
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          History Education Research Journal
          Volume 15, Issue 2

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