Historical Thinking

How Students Learn: History in the Classroom


Heuristics of Historical Thinking (Simplified)

  • Sourcing
    • What: Examination of the “source or attribution” of a text (Wineburg, 1991a, p. 79).
    • Why: Historical documents are interpretations of events (Nokes, 2010; Nokes, Dole, & Hacker, 2007). Author’s point of view and bias can influence a text
  • Corroboration
    • What: Compare information from one document with information from other documents
    • Why: In order to check the accuracy of the material (Nokes, 2010; Nokes, Dole, & Hacker, 2007; Wineburg, 1991b)
  • Contextualization
    • What: Consider when and where the historical events occurred. Placing it in a “chronological sequence” and by “determining the conditions of their occurrence…” (Wineburg, 1991a, p. 80).
    • Why: Gives students a framework for understanding a historical event. Students are more able to make inferences about the information presented in the document, as well as construct a deeper understanding