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Morton, Desmond. "Canadian History Teaching in Canada: What's the Big Deal?" In To the Past: History Education, Public Memory, and Citizenship in Canada, edited by Ruth W. Sandwell, 23-31. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.


Commenting on the conservative charge that young people don’t know their history and thus Canadian history is ‘dead,’ Canadian historian Desmond Morton argues that stressing rote facts in history education in the service of blind nationalism is ineffective for moving Canada forward. He states that history should be taught to “invite close study of the same rules of evidence and human behaviour” that citizens should be applying to their daily lives. Calling this goal ‘historical thinking,’ Morton argues that an emphasis on thinking historically will encourage citizens to connect to the nation in a more mature way. According to Morton, history education should stress the continuum of the past, present, and future and teach us about our familial and cultural heritage, while addressing the how and why of societal evolution and expanding our knowledge of the world. Although many critics of history education point fingers at history teachers for failing to explore the intricacies of history, Morton suggests that a national organization of history teachers could develop solutions for integrating historical thinking into curriculum in practical and innovative ways.

Samantha Cutrara