The role of history textbooks in the learning of history : a secondary school pupils' perspective in Singapore
Nadesan, Anith Kumar
Goh, Chor Boon
This study presents qualitative data, from the pupils' perspective, on the role of history textbooks in the learning of history. A sample of 45 history pupils from Secondary 1 to Secondary 5 Express and Normal (Academic) streams from a Secondary school were selected randomly for a survey. Subsequently, 27 pupils from this sample were later selected randomly to participate in an in-depth group interview consisting of 3 pupils per group. Four history teachers were also interviewed. Both pupils and teachers answered questions relating to the role of textbooks, based on four categories, namely, Frequency of Usage, Supplementary Usage, Relevance to Understanding History and Efficacy and Quality of Usage. The study revealed that though pupils used the history textbook for learning history, the textbook faced stiff competition from the notes provided by the teachers. Though pupils did not find the history textbook interesting to read, many of them believed in the information found in the textbook. Other issues like problems faced by pupils in using the textbook and how history is taught and learned using the textbook were also studied.