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Ogawa, Masato. “Building Multiple Historical Perspectives: An Investigation of How Middle School Students are Influenced by Different Perspectives.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Seattle, United States, April 10-14, 2001.


This study is based on previous research that criticizes lecture style teaching and a heavy reliance on textbooks in history classrooms. Specifically this research criticizes history textbooks for being biased and superficial presenting history from a singular perspective. As such, this study examined students’ receptiveness to studying multiple perspectives of World War II. Data collection involved interviews with a sixth grade teacher and seven students from her classroom, classroom observations, and students’ written assignments. Two oral history narrators were invited to visit the classroom; one US and one Japanese World War II veteran.

Generally Ogawa found that all of the students’ knowledge about this historical event advanced after the oral history activity. Prior to the unit of instruction about World War II, the students focused primarily on “factual information.” However, after the unit students were able to understand the role of “perspective-taking” in learning about the past. For example, because of the two, differing oral testimonies students talked about the differences and similarities between the two stories without dismissing either as untrue or invalid. To conclude, Ogawa suggests that future research examining the same or similar issues include a larger number of both teacher and student participants from rural and urban schools to reflect how diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds inform teaching and learning history.

Ana Laura Pauchulo