Silences in a climate of voicing: teachers’ perceptions of societal and self-silencing regarding sensitive historical issues

Geerte M. Savenije, Tsafrir Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study explores the silencing and voicing of sensitive topics in history education from a cross-national and multilevel perspective. In this mixed-method study, we undertook a quantitative analysis of a ‘teaching sensitive issues’ questionnaire and qualitative analyses of history curricula and teachers’ verbal responses. The findings show that most respondents were aware of societal and self-silencing but were also committed to voicing and giving a voice to pupils. Focusing on the issues found to be most sensitive–immigration and Islam–in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Israel, the analysis of national curricula indicates a climate of ‘voicing’ rather than silencing. Analysis of teachers’ responses showed strong awareness of the relationship between the sensitivity of the history of immigration and that of Islam and the relationship between pupil diversity and self-silencing on these issues. It appears that, in some cases, apprehension of pupils’ voices led teachers to self-silence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-64
Number of pages26
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Islam
  • Sensitive historical issues
  • cross-national perspective
  • history teachers
  • immigration
  • self-censorship
  • silencing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education

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