Misremembering as Mediated Action: Schematic Narrative Templates and Elementary Students' Narration of the Past

Wills, John S.
January 2011
Theory & Research in Social Education;Winter2011, Vol. 39 Issue 1, p115
Academic Journal
The purpose of this article is to explore three fifth grade students' misremembering of the beginnings of American history as a form of mediated action, active agents using cultural tools provided by a sociocultural seting to represent and interpret the past (Wertsch, 2000). Data come from a 10-month qualitative case study of history instruction in one fourth grelementary ade and two fifth grade classrooms, and include student interviews, videotaped observations of lessons, and curricular materials and student work. Drawing on Wertsch's (2002, 2004) distinction between specific narratives and schematic narrative templates, the author argues that three fifth grade students' mistaken narration of the beginnings of American history was informed by their use of a schematic narrative template that was present in the enacted curriculum. The author concludes the article with a discussion of the implications of the presence of this cultural tool and its use by students for the teaching of history and students' development of a usable historical past.


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