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 Learning Our Community's American Lore

Doing History: What Historians Do

Historians, Students and Teachers Doing History--Version: January, 2005

Choose | Locate | Examine | Interpret | Understand context | Draw conclusions | Present

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Interpret sources from different perspectives (empathy)  
What historians do when they "do history" What students do when they "do history" What teachers do to help their students "do history"
  • Identify all of the actors who were touched by these sources, directly or indirectly, and their individual perspectives (e.g., women, blacks, workers, northerners, Catholics, etc.)
  • Look to the specific historical context to understand the reasons different actors had for believing what they did
  • Identify all of the actors who were touched by these sources, directly or indirectly, and their individual perspectives on the history of that time.
  • Understand the reasons people had for believing what they did
  • Help students to identify subjectivity and objectivity; point of view, bias in authorship.
  • Help students empathize with different view points (role play, debate, etc.)
  • Help students to identify strategies for persuasive writing


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