This paper examines two research questions: How do teachers refer to historical figures when teaching difficult past events? Which approaches to teaching difficult past events are reflected in teachers’ ways of talking about historical figures? The paper is based on an analysis of lessons by three 11th grade history teachers in Israel on the controversial Altalena Affair. Each teacher assigned a different role to the historical figures. We argue that awareness of the relationship between the way teachers present historical figures and the way they handle controversial events may provide them with a tool for reflecting on their teaching practice.
- Controversial events
- difficult past
- historical figures
- history teaching
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