Social Representations of the Past and Competences in History Education

Research on social representations (SR) of history within the field of social psychology may provide guidelines that can strengthen meta-cognitive competences in history teaching. This chapter reviews existing empirical research on SR of history in order to enrich the discussion on history education and the formation of political culture, first explaining how collective memory may be a result of history education. Then, theoretical and empirical evidence that may serve as guidelines for strengthening meta-cognitive competences in history education is reviewed, presenting biases that may exist in determining what is historically significant and explaining the importance of understanding historical continuity and change when learning history. Lastly, tools are presented that may enhance learning to identify multiple causes and consequences in history through perspective-taking. Some major implications and conclusions are considered.