Guidelines for Teaching to Understand Continuity and Change

History education professionals should take into account the fact that for their students the idea of progress and decline may coexist in the same way the lineal view of history may be reconciled with a belief in a circular nature of time. At odds with the idea that views of history as a cycle or rise and fall are more common in indigenous or Eastern cultures, an agreement with this idea appears both among Eastern and Western cultures. To be aware of this tendency to share a “happy end” view of history is important. “Injections” of critical historical thinking should take into account both the simultaneous acceptance of cyclical and progressive views. Also, history teachers should be aware of a possible cognitive polyphasia which permits coexistence of apparently conflicting meta-schematas. In the context of history education, students, for instance, may share at the same time a causal or technological view of history, a view of history as fueled by economic development, and an individualistic view of history in which great leaders are an important causal force.

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