Summer Institute

Summer Institute
Vancouver, BC
7-12 July 2014

Historical Thinking

What should students know after 12 years of studying history in school? What should they be able to do with their knowledge? Surely they should have more than an accumulation of memorized facts to show for years of study. Students need to meet the challenge of understanding their own lives in the historical context of past decades, centuries and millennia.

The Historical Thinking Project was designed to foster a new approach to history education — with the potential to shift how teachers teach and how students learn, in line with recent international research on history learning. It revolves around the proposition that historical thinking — like scientific thinking in science instruction and mathematical thinking in math instruction — is central to history instruction and that students should become more competent as historical thinkers as they progress through their schooling.

The project has developed a framework of six historical thinking concepts to provide a way of communicating complex ideas to a broad and varied audience of potential users. The six historical thinking concepts appear in the column on the right of this page.

The Historical Thinking Project aims to provide social studies departments, local boards, provincial ministries of education, publishers and public history agencies with models of more meaningful history teaching, assessment, and learning for their students and audiences.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canadian Studies Program, and The History Education Network/Histoire et Éducation en Réseau (THEN/HiER).

What is a Benchmark?

<p>John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising &amp; Marketing History,<br />Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections</p>

A surveyor cut a "benchmark" into a stone or a wall when measuring the altitude and/or level of a tract of land. A bracket called a "bench" was secured in the cut to mount the surveying equipment, and all subsequent measurements were made in reference to the position and height of that mark.

The term "benchmark" was first used around 1842 to refer to a standard of quality by which achievement may be measured.

The foundation documents available through the Benchmarks site attempt to help teachers establish standards for assessing student learning of the modes of thought that constitute historical thinking.

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History,
Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections