Connecting past and present through case-comparison learning in history

views of teachers and students


History education frequently aims at developing active citizenship by using the past to orientate to the present and the future. A pedagogy for pursuing this aim is making connections between the past and the present by means of comparing cases of an enduring human issue. To examine the feasibility and desirability of this case-comparison teaching approach, students (N = 444) and teachers (N = 15) who participated in an implementation study conducted in the Netherlands were questioned about their experiences and views. Results show that both students and teachers felt that case-comparison in the context of an enduring human issue is feasible and not more complex than the usual history teaching in which topics are studied separately without explicitly making comparisons between past and present, even if some students thought that taking account of episodes from different historical periods concurrently required an extra learning effort. Both students and teachers believed that connecting past and present in history teaching enhances engagement and meaning making. They suggested a curriculum combining the case-comparison approach with the type of history teaching they were accustomed to. Mixed methods were used for data collection. Implications for further research on case-comparison learning in history are being discussed.

Reference van Straaten, D., Wilschut, A., & Oostdam, R. (2019). Connecting past and present through case-comparison learning in history: views of teachers and students. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 51(5), 643-663.
Published by  Kenniscentrum Onderwijs en Opvoeding 1 January 2019

Publication date

Jan 2019


Arie Wilschut

Research database