Can’t Hold the Past from Both Ends?: Exploring Students’ Learning of Conflicting Historical Accounts on a Charged Intergroup Issue
Tsafrir Goldberg

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Haifa University

Primary Discipline

The proposed research aims to explore the relation of group identity and collective memory with narrative construction and argumentation in the learning of charged historical issues and to assess the effects of educational interventions on learning and bias in such a context. Cognitive studies and Social cognition perspectives hint to a strong biasing influence of collective memory and group identity on perception of the past. However, argumentative disciplinary practices and narrative-empathetic approaches are assumed to help students overcome such biases and foster historical and mutual understanding. The proposed research design will compare the historical learning processes of Israeli Jewish Arab students within narrative-empathetic, disciplinary-argumentative and regular historical learning designs. Students’ stands, preconceptions and attitudes to knowledge and to ingroup will be assessed before and after intervention to note change through learning. Narrative change and evidence evaluation will be analyzed in relation with group identity to assess social and cognitive biases. The project aims at developing instructional methods to promote students’ historical understanding of charged issues and help educators overcome their reluctance to deal with them. In the theoretical realm it seeks to enhance and conceptualize the notions of social cognition and collective memory in relation to historical understanding.
About Tsafrir Goldberg

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