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Kohlmeier, Jada. “‘Couldn’t She Just Leave’? The Relationship Between Consistently Using Class Discussions and the Development of Historical Empathy in a Ninth Grade World History Course.” Theory and Research in Social Education 34(1) (2006): 34-57.


This study reports the impact of consistently using a Socratic Seminar to interpret historical documents written by women on 9th grade students' historical empathy. Over the course of one semester in a year-long world history course, the class examined three documents written by women living in the complex time period being studied and discussed the women's situations. By the third seminar, the students improved with regard to appreciating the historical context as both unique and connected to the present, distinguishing between various perspectives of historical figures on an event, explaining their analysis and its implications for the author, and defending their analysis with historical evidence. This study reveals that consistent practice with group discussion and interpretation of primary documents increased the students' motivation and ability to empathize with the authors of historical texts.