Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)

Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Historical thinking consists of six
interrelated concepts:
• Establish historical significance
• Use primary source evidence
• Identify continuity and change
• Analyze cause and consequence
• Take historical perspectives
• Understand the ethical
dimension of historical
At this level of learning, two of the
concepts are difficult to access and
utilize. As such, we will focus on
the remaining four.
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Historical Significance
• Too much history to remember.
Choose “more important”.
Need selection criteria (e.g., great
change over long periods of time for
large numbers of people. NOTE:
Significance depends upon one’s
perspective and purpose)
Link it to a larger trend. For example,
Anne Frank is small relative to scale
of Holocaust; yet, her story is
significant when portraying to
explain the larger struggle (i.e.,
insignificant reveals important
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Continuity and Change
• History as a complex mix of
continuity and change.
Change rapidly and dynamically,
relatively continuous and somewhat
static, and everything in between
Change is linked. Events not
isolated. Change may be negative
Change can be grouped (e.g., your
high school experience).
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Cause and Consequence
• Need to answer “how and why”.
Link cause to outcomes: “What were
the actions, beliefs and circumstances
that led to the consequences?”
People cause change, and people are
motivated to act (…or not).
Cause is also circumstantial. For
example, the racial attitudes
contributed to the 1887 anti-Chinese
riot in Vancouver, but did the attitude
cause the riot? Desperate Chinese
workers were paid less than regular
wage rate. How did this contribute to
friction between groups?
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Ethical Dimension
• What responsibilities do historical
crimes and sacrifices impose upon us
Interpret and judge history with
present-day standards.
A historical perspective requires that we
understand the differences between our
ethics and past ideas to prevent us from
imposing our standards on the past. At
the same time, we do not want to
minimize or ignore actions (e.g.,
Holocaust, Civil Rights movement).
Learn from the past to help face and
solve the ethical issues of today.
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Use the four HTCs to discuss the following
persons or events in Canadian history.
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Canadian Armed Forces
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Irene Murdoch
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Rob Ford
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Memphis Three
Historical Thinking Concepts (HTC)
Justin Bieber