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How Do Students Rate Textbooks?

A Review of Research and Ongoing Challenges for Textbook Research and Textbook Production

Petr Knecht and Veronika Najvarová

This article argues in favor of including students in textbook research. As teachers decide which textbooks to use in their classrooms, they are the ones who influence textbook development. The article presents a research review of students' evaluations of textbooks, demonstrating that inviting students into the debate may result in interesting stimuli for improving textbooks. The article also discusses suggestions based on student feedback.

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Historical Textbook Research

Textbooks in the Context of the

Carsten Heinze

This piece defends the hypothesis that methodologically well-grounded historical textbook research is only possible if one has an understanding of the context in which textbooks acquire meaning. Based on the theory of a “grammar of schooling” (Tyack/Tobin; Cuban), the article develops a concept on the basis of which it is possible to describe particular contexts and the way in which they relate to teaching materials. Textbooks are thus understood as an element of the “grammar of schooling” and, from the perspective of discourse and theory, as a “point of intersection” between discourse and its corresponding teaching practice.

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New Trends in History Textbook Research

Issues and Methodologies toward a School Historiography

Maria Repoussi and Nicole Tutiaux-Guillon

This article traces the developments within history textbook research as presented at the 2009 conference of the International Society for History Didactics (ISHD), held in cooperation with the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research in Braunschweig, Germany. The article claims that significant developments reveal school historiography to be a challenged area for history didactics. Key concepts and theoretical frames require further discussion in order to develop history didactics not only as an area for social and political responsibilities but also as a theoretical discipline.

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Migration in German Textbooks

Is Multiperspectivity an Adequate Response?

Barbara Christophe

This article raises the question of how German textbooks should deal with issues of migration as one of the main challenges in a globalizing age. In order to prepare the ground for a well-founded answer it follows a twofold agenda. In a rst step, previous attempts at analyzing textbook representations of migration are critically scrutinized and read against the background of current debates on methodological approaches to textbook research. In a second step, anthropological research on the structure of public German discourses on migration is cited as a key to developing a truly multiperspectival mode of representing it. Ultimately, the article demonstrates that education alone cannot be given the responsibility of clarifying questions that politics have failed to articulate and that pupils must be taught to participate competently in the discourse on migration policy. They should be familiarized with the various positions advocated in the political sphere, and simultaneously equipped with the necessary tools for critical re ection.

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Johannes Lähnemann

The proposed Standards for interreligious textbook research and development are the result of an interreligious and international process of consultation. In the tension between a 'clash of civilisations' and the 'dialogue among civilisations', school textbooks have an important task. In many countries they are practically the 'teacher of teachers'. Based on the research project, “the representation of Christianity in textbooks of countries with an Islamic tradition“, discussions between scholars in different countries have taken place. The standards are proposed as possible guidelines for author teams and publishers, for education authorities and curriculum planners. Issues and tasks are envisaged under eight headings: covering the questions of an authentic portrayal of religions, developing a dialogue-orientated interpretation of religion, portraying religions' importance in the life of real people, dealing carefully with religions' history, with their cultural heritage and their context and with the controversial issues of mission, religious freedom and tolerance. Mutual understanding in the field of ethics should also be reflected. Last but not least, the life conditions of the students and their relevance for religious learning are to be taken seriously. Pedagogical and media didactic approaches have to accept the students as independent partners in the learning processes.

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Monica Reichenberg

systems. 24 Although research in this field is scant and while textbook researchers have demonstrated the importance of teachers’ strategic use of textbooks for planning lessons and aiding pupils, they have so far not provided any explanation of such use

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Textbooks and Beyond

Educational Media in Context(s) Simone Lässig

Simone Lässig

This article provides an introduction to the aims, methods, and interdisciplinary approach of this new journal, elucidating the traditions of international textbook research and the function of educational media as illuminating sources for various academic disciplines. Textbooks and curricula in particular, which are not only state-approved but also of a highly condensed and selective nature, are obliged to reduce the complexities of the past, present, and future onto a limited number of pages. Particularly in the humanities, which often deal with concepts of identity and portrayals that may be more open to interpretation, textbooks can become the subjects of controversial debate, especially in relation to societal shifts such as globalization and immigration. In this regard, this journal intends to illuminate the situations in which educational media evolve, including their social, cultural, political, and educational contexts. The emergence of new, particularly digital, educational media marks new modes of knowledge production. The Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society (JEMMS) invites analyses that reach beyond the printed page and even beyond the institution of the school itself.

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Navigating a Globalizing World

Thoughts on Textbook Analysis, Teaching, and Learning

Hanna Schissler

History textbooks are sources of collective memory and can thus be read as "autobiographies" of nation-states. History textbooks used to be anchored in national traditions, ultimately legitimizing the rationale of nation-states. In questioning the sole validity of national history, social movements since the 1960s and the process of globalization became the seedbeds for the deconstruction of master narratives. Because of their instrumental character as teaching tools, textbooks in general allow researchers to decipher the normative structures of societies. The information revolution since the 1970s has dethroned textbooks as the sole means of instruction in classrooms, and led to the development of different approaches for the analysis of textbooks. Today's globalizing world demands new reference frames for teaching and learning. In the second part of this article, eight clusters that are pertinent for orientation in the perplexing realities of the present are drafted: challenges resulting from the revolution in information technologies; the changing world of work; contradictory tendencies in globalizing processes; the impact of a new turbo-capitalism with its de-legitimizing impact on political systems; unequal developments leading to an ever increasing inequality on a global as well as on local levels; the increase of worldwide migration and its impact on classrooms; contested memories in societies that reposition themselves in a world that has grown together and re-fragmented at new seams; and finally, the crisis in orientation and values and the personal costs resulting from the perplexities and insecurities of the world.

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Christiane Hintermann, Christa Markom, Heidemarie Weinhäupl, and Sanda Üllen

This article examines how the topics of migration, cultural diversity, and discrimination are depicted in current Austrian school textbooks and how they are discussed and perceived by pupils of different age groups attending different types of schools. The discussion concentrates on three main issues: the representation of migration as problematic; the use, critical or otherwise, of specific terms; and whether the history of migration to and from Austria is represented and perceived as part of a common Austrian history. Alongside the findings of the textbook analysis, we show how the involvement of pupils in textbook and migration research can contribute to the production of scientific knowledge in this area.

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Philipp Mittnik

*Full text is in German

National Socialism in German, Austrian and English Secondary School Textbooks (1980–2017)

English Abstract

This article analyzes a selection of German, Austrian and English textbooks dealing with National Socialism. By adopting Waltraud Schreiber’s methodology of categorial textbook analysis, the article presents the surface structure and building blocks as a basis for further analysis. The occurrence (or absence) of the pedagogical historical principle of multiperspectivity is examined with reference to the example of sections concerning “Youth in National Socialism.” Subsequently, the study explores the role of multiperspectivity in the construction of critical historical consciousness. This is followed by a deconstruction of the image of women presented in the textbooks, with particular emphasis on simplifications.

German Abstract

Die Analyse von Schulbüchern aus Deutschland, Österreich und England zum Themenbereich Nationalsozialismus stehen im Zentrum dieses Artikels. Als Methodologie wird die kategoriale Schulbuchanalyse nach Waltraud Schreiber angewandt. Die Erarbeitung der Oberflächenstruktur und der Bausteine werden als Grundlage für weitere Analyseschritte präsentiert. Das (Nicht-) Vorkommen des bedeutenden geschichtsdidaktischen Prinzips der Multiperspektivität wird am Beispiel des Abschnittes „Jugend im Nationalsozialismus“ beschrieben. Multiperspektivität und deren Bedeutung für den Aufbau eines kritischen Geschichtsbewusstseins wird in einem weiteren Schritt hervorgehoben. Abschließend wird das in den Schulbüchern präsentierte Frauenbild dekonstruiert und auf die problematischen Vereinfachungen hingewiesen.