Teaching Methods

Compare and Contrast

History education generally includes the study of a textbook and/or a historical source. By working with the textbook or source students learn how to gain knowledge and are trained in skills related to history. When comparing and contrasting historical sources students extend their skills in analysing elements of sources, such as content, tone, style, and provenance. They move outside the single source and are asked to find central elements in a number of sources for a specific purpose. In this way they are trained in focusing on certain contextual elements and also in getting an overview of a larger corpus of sources. They have to establish a basis for comparison in order to achieve this. Comparing sources is the less demanding part of the teaching method by inviting students to find elements in sources that agree or disagree. When asked to contrast sources students will also have to make choices as to which sources will serve the purpose best and argue their choices. For example when asked to contrast the most pro- and the most con- source. In this way another and higher level of historical skills is trained. The teaching method ‘Compare and Contrast’ also gives added value to the students, because this competence can be used in other school subjects as well.

Learning Activities