historical thinking is ALSO critical thinking? nice!

hallo fellow studes (students)!

so after theresa’s class(es) on historical ways of thinking, i started thinking (haha) about how the combination of all of these different perspectives is, essentially, a tailored critical thinking framework. in review, here are the six historical ways of thinking:

  • historical significance
  • evidence and interpretation
  • continuity and changes
  • cause and consequence
  • historical and cultural perspective
  • ethical judgement

and, to refresh your memory, here are the seven core critical thinking concepts:

  1. analyzing
  2. applying standards
  3. discriminating
  4.  information seeking
  5. logical reasoning
  6.  predicting
  7. transforming knowledge

now, because we were all in class and we definitely took very thorough notes (pssst, theresa has a powerpoint about all the historical ways of thinking on d2l) i’m not going to re-explain the specificities of each historical way of thinking. instead, i’m going to copy and paste the notes from the last post and clearly insert where these thinking concepts fit in!

  1. analyzing (historical significance)
    – breaking down ideas, events, or concepts to discover their significance, function and relationships.
  2. applying standards (historical and cultural perspective)
    – judging according to established or agreed upon personal, professional, or social rules and criteria.
  3. discriminating (historical significance, again)
    – comparing and contrasting ideas, events, and concepts, and distinguishing significance or purpose
  4.  information seeking (evidence and interpretation)
    – finding evidence, facts, or knowledge by seeking out relevant and appropriate sources and gathering various types of information (objective, subjective, historical, and current) from multiple reliable sources.
  5. logical reasoning (ethical judgement)
    – inferencing or drawing conclusions that are supported and justified by relevant and appropriate evidence
  6.  predicting (cause and consequence)
    – considering an event, concept, or idea and its potential impact and consequences
  7. transforming knowledge (continuity and changes) 
    – altering or reinventing the circumstance, significance, details, or function of specific concepts, events, and knowledge and applying these alterations in various contexts to assess the changed outcome

because each HWOT (why didn’t i abbreviate this sooner??) approach is unique in what is prioritized, individually they are only as well-rounded as the ground they can cover with their magnified lenses. because each perspective has a unique and narrow scope, a HWOT approach grounded in critical thinking skills would be incorporating all of these to create a lens that takes into account all aspects of a situation or event in order to analyze it effectively and fairly.

when we think (how many times can i use “think” in one blog post????? let’s count!) about historical thinking we can tend to fixate on the historical component; analyzing events from the past that we recognize (or don’t) for their consequences, lasting impacts, evidence,  perspectives, and so forth. however, these ways of thinking are imperative to understanding ourselves in a present (and future!) context as well.

i found a really neat pdf of a textbook about critical thinking as the “heart” of historical thinking. this was rad to find because not only did it mean that there is a clear connection between these two strains, but also, it proves that critical thinking should always be a foundational piece of our pedagogy. they also supplied me with yet another list to share with y’all. so here are there eight basic elements of thought:

  • point of view
  • purpose
  • implications and consequences
  • assumptions
  • concepts
  • interpretation and inference
  • information
  • question an issue

are we seeing the pattern??? if not, i made a quick list that illustrates what i’m trying to say here:

  • THEY!
  • ARE!
  • ALL!
  • THE!
  • SAME!
  • IDEAS!
  • TIES
  • ANY
  • OF
  • CAN BE
  • IN ANY

so…long story short? historical thinking is critical thinking in disguise, a contextual cloak, if you will. if we approach multiple subjects, topics, events, etcetera with these ways of thinking, think (25 times, apparently) of all the deep and interesting inquiry opportunities this would offer!! i’m not gonna give you a concrete example (at least not right now), that’s a fun exercise for you to do with all these nEw and ExCiTiNg discoveries!

until next time,


8 Replies to “historical thinking is ALSO critical thinking? nice!”

  1. I really like how you are looking for connections! VERY EFFICIENT:) . Critical thinking is a core way of knowing to become informed humans so I love that we can see it and make connections in many different ways in the new curriculum. I love your voice in your blog as well- it makes me happy.

    Would you agree that historical thinking and current events sometimes get mixed up as to SEPARATE things and we should actually be thinking of them in connection as well?

    1. thank you!! it’s almost like our professors PLANNED for things to connect? weird!

      but yes BIG YES on connecting history and current events! the old saying “history repeats itself” is built upon the idea that we never learn, but we DO learn! we learn and we study and we regurgitate information about history all the time. the problem is that we don’t make the vital connection between our actions and the “history” they create. things like climate change don’t exist in a bubble, the impacts last, so our actions now require thoughtfulness and a critical perspective, so on and so forth.

      so yes, i do agree! we have to look for connections and think critically about WHY these connections are impactful and how we can study the past to better the future!

  2. This is an awesome topic! I really like that you started out strong and it shows how passionate you are about this topic. I know so much because of this post especially when you added the eight basic elements of thought. Those were very informative for me. I look forward to hearing more about your topic.

    1. thanks!! i feel like there’s so many different lists upon lists of critical thinking frameworks that it’s pretty easy to find one that works for any specific situation or your own personal ideaology.

  3. I laughed so hard while reading this. You made this subject (that can easily be delivered mundanely) very captivating. I’m such a strong believer in cross-curricular content and I’m so glad that you addressed that this can be applied to all areas. Critical thinking can be applied even in PHE discussing what is healthy and what is a fad. Critical thinking can go in so many different directions, great topic!

    1. thank you!! i really really had to try to make this interesting, there’s only so many listicles that i can handle. but yes!! that last listicle honestly is the equivalent of a mic drop, like what else is there to say?? i think this is one of those topics that everyone is *aware* of but we don’t usually think of it as it’s own…”thing”?? mostly because we’ve moved beyond developing these critical thinking skills in a cross-curricular context, now we apply them or strengthen them. it’s interesting to think about it from the developing stages again, seeing how it all begins. tough stuff!! but v important!!!

  4. Awesome post, MJ! I really like how you connected what we are learning in our different classes! I also really like how you broke it down into all those lists and we were able to see that it is all critical thinking and that is just so important for us as teachers to understand. I also really like how you said that critical thinking ties connections between all different subjects which was a really cool thing to think about! Thanks for posting!

    1. thanks! yeah i think it’s important to connect ideas all across the board. this type of thinking is honestly how we make our lives easier, if we are already making and planning for those connections we are able to integrate subjects in a way that flows logically!! win/win, ya know.

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