Tag Archives: History Education

Deux résumés

Engaging Francophone perspectives in the Alberta Social Studies Program

david scott history education

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Jocelyn Létourneau: Teaching History and the Future of the Nation


Identities and Engagement

Teaching Aboriginal perspectives: An investigation into teacher practices amidst curriculum change

A collaborator of the Chair, David Scott got his master’s research published on how history teachers were taking up the teaching of multiple perspectives. In this piece, he focus on Aboriginal perspectives.

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‘A Giant with Clay Feet’: Québec Students and their Historical Consciousness of the Nation

Parution de l’article »‘A Giant with Clay Feet’: Québec Students and their Historical Consciousness of the Nation« , coécrit par Stéphane Lévesque, Jocelyn Létourneau et Raphaël Gani. L’article est publié dans l’International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research.

En voici un extrait.

The aim of this paper is to explore French Canadian (Québec) students‘ historical consciousness of the nation through the lens of Social Identity Theory (SIT). Relying on a sample of 142 Québec‘s historical narratives written by Francophone Québécois students, the paper revisits findings from a previous study on the historical consciousness of young Québécois. Informed by SIT principles, our narrative analysis shows how most Franco-Québécois categorize the past in homogenous categories (e.g., the imperialist Anglophone; the surviving Francophone) and frame their stories into particular modes of present-day orientations. Implications of this study for history education are also discussed.

Visiting Doctoral Program Report

By David Scott, University of Calgary, PhD, student, Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Doctoral Fellow

As part of the Then/Hier Education Network visiting doctoral program, over the last two weeks I have been fortunate to study in Québec City with Jocelyn Létourneau, who is a holder of a Canada Research Chair in Contemporary Political History and Economy Laval Université. Dr. Létourneau’s work examining the ways Canadians interact with the past and how this influences their identity formations has long interested me. Inspired by Dr. Létourneau’s (2004, 2007) work exploring the ways young Québécois story a national past, in my doctoral research I plan to undertake a parallel study examining how adolescents in Western Canada tell the story of Canada. Specifically, I am interested in the extent to which the narrative structure underpinning their recounting of the historical experience of Canada is collectively held, and the ways particular narratives shape their historical consciousness in terms of how they see the past, understand the present, and anticipate the future.

In undertaking this research, I had several goals in coming to study at Laval.

  • Would this study offer a relevant addition to the literature and would it in fact, as I was assuming, be the first of its kind in English Canada?
  • How did Dr. Létourneau and his research team go about collecting and coding their data set and what particular methodological approaches did they use in their studies?
  • To what extent have scholars theorized the pedagogical implications of various memory studies that have occurred in Quebec and elsewhere (see, for example, VanSledright (2008) in the US and Wertsch (2004) in Russia)?
  • Finally, I came here to meet with other scholars in Quebec whose research parallels mine in order to explore opportunities for collaboration and ongoing dialogue.

Thanks to the warm welcome and ongoing mentorship of Dr. Létourneau during my stay here, along with the continued conversations I have had with other graduate students here, I have gained great insights into my research concerns. In the first instance, it seems that similar research on Anglophone understandings of the past has been documented, but only here in Quebec. However, I was to learn that Dr. Stéphane Levesque at the University of Ottawa plans to undertake a similar study in English Canada. Through a Skype meeting with him, we are discussing possibilities for ways I could help him realize our mutual research interests.

In terms of my methodological concerns, through meeting with Dr. Létourneau and his research assistants Jean-Francois Conroy and Raphaël Gani, I was given access to their corpus of work and sat in on several sessions where they explained the data gathering and coding process. In this regard ongoing conversations and insights from Raphaël have been a tremendous source of support in helping me both better appreciate issues of methodology as well as the scholarly terrain of emerging work in the field.

In relation to how emerging studies in memory studies might inform newcurricular and pedagogical possibilities for history education, it seems that this is a fairly open field for inquiry. Here, I speak of further pushing forward an approach to history education that drawing on Létourneau’s (2004, 2007) work, moves way from seeing students as empty vessels deficient in knowledge and skills, but rather makes the narrative structures that inhabit students’ vision of the past a central object of historical inquiry. Within this frame teachers would enter students’ basic matrixes of understanding, first pointing out limitations and then proposing different narrative referents for storying a national past that might offer new pathways of thinking to emerge. This will no doubt raise debates in the field, as teaching history through narrative has long been out of favour with scholars in both the disciplinary and critical post-modern paradigms. However, I continue to believe that narrative is central to how all people make sense of history, and by ignoring how young people story the past and further failing to offer new narrative possibilities, we are failing to engage their primary engine of historical consciousness that informs how they orientate themselves in the world. This to me provides an important area for further theorizing.

In the coming months I look forward to continuing the conversations begun here and collaborating on future research with people I have met during my sojourn in Quebec.

I would like to thank Dr. Létourneau and the graduate students here along with Then/Hier Education Network in providing me with this opportunity to study here.


Létourneau, J. (2004). Young people’s assimilation of a collective historical memory: A case study of Quebeckers of French-Canadian heritage. In P.Seixas, (Ed.), Theorizing historical consciousness (pp. 109-128). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

Létourneau, J. (2007). Remembering our past: An examination of the historical memory of young Québécois. In R. M. Sandwell (Ed.), To the past: History education, public memory and citizenship in Canada (pp. 70-87). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

VanSledright, B. (2008). Narratives of nation-state, historical knowledge, and school history education.Review of Research in Education, 32 (1), 109-146.

Wertstch, J. (2004). Specific narratives and schematic narrative templates.In P.Seixas, (Eds.), Theorizing historical consciousness (pp. 49-62). Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press.

A Place For a More Critical Form of Historical Inquiry in Social Studies and History Classrooms

At University of Calgary, David Scott is a doctoral student in history education. He obtain a bursary from THEN/HiER to travel to Québec so he can be our guest this week at the Chair. Here is one of Dave’ article. In it, he cite Jocelyn Létourneau’ work on historical consciousness.

As documented by Létourneau (2007), powerful collectively held narrations of a national past, or what he terms “mythhistories,” rely on basic narrative structures that carry with them a series of reference points including “binary notions of insiders and outsiders, stereotypes, and other representations that act a basic matrix of understanding, a simple way of comprehending the complexity of the past (and the present as well)” (p. 79).

A Place For a More Critical Form of Historical Inquiry in Social Studies and History Classrooms PDF
David Michael Scott

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Deux conférences le vendredi 12 avril à #ULaval

history wars Samuelsson Stolare jocelyn létourneau

The History Classroom as Site for Imagining the Nation

Dans sa thèse de doctorat publiée en 2012 et intitulée The History Classroom as Site for Imagining the Nation, Lisa Faden cite l’étude produite par Létourneau et Moisan (2004).

Empirical research of history and social studies education in Canada supports the view of Canadian national identity as ambiguous and regionally oriented. Létourneau and Moisan’s (2004) study of young people’s knowledge of Quebec history is frequently cited to demonstrate the sharp divide between Francophone and Anglophone versions of national identity. Létourneau and Moisan found that 403 Quebec secondary, college, and university students asked to write a short essay on the history of Quebec produced a narrative marked by “a melancholy, nostalgic awareness centring [sic] on the idea, the concept, of a conquered, reclusive people, abused by others and always fearful of reclaiming their destiny” (p. 117).

Pour la thèse : Lisa Faden, The History Classroom As Site For Imagining The Nation: An Investigation of U.S. and Canadian Teachers’ Pedagogical PracticesThèse de doctorat, The University of Western Ontario, 2012, 215 p. 

Pour l’étude de Létourneau et Moisan : «Young People’ s Assimilation of a Collective Historical Memory: A Case Study of Quebeckers of French-Canadian Heritage», dans Peter Seixas, dir., Theorizing Historical Consciousness, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2004, p. 109-128.