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Writing to Engage Students in Historical Reasoning

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on writing-to-learn in history as well, and specifically as a means to engage students in historical reasoning, a learning activity important for developing historical understanding and students' ability to reason about the past. It addresses the following questions: what kind of historical-reasoning processes students engage in when writing in history and what difficulties they experience? how one can provoke and support students' historical reasoning by focusing on characteristics of the writing task itself? The chapter shows how computer-supported collaborative writing can enforce the potential of writing tasks to engage students in historical reasoning and presents examples of how representational tools can support students' historical reasoning during a writing task. The chapter makes it clear that different genres and writing prompts enhance different kinds of historical reasoning, as it focus students' attention on specific components of historical reasoning.

Keywords: computer-supported collaborative writing; historical reasoning; students' ability; writing task; writing-to-learn



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