History in multidisciplinary education: a case study in a Finnish primary school

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Multidisciplinary education is being increasingly introduced into many countries’ curricula. In Finland, the national curriculum of 2014 made multidisciplinary education mandatory in basic education. This case study investigates how history teaching is perceived and implemented within a multidisciplinary module in a Finnish primary school. Data was collected through interviews and observations, and the analysis followed a thematic analysis procedure. The study is theoretically framed around concepts of multidisciplinary education, history education, and multidisciplinary history teaching. The results indicate that multidisciplinary education can support history’s status and relevance as a subject, as its connections to other subjects and the lifeworld are clarified. In multidisciplinary education, historical content can be holistically studied through multiple perspectives. History content can also provide a base for developing overarching competences and skills related to other subjects. As the case of study was clearly affected by its context, the article addresses education as a complex phenomenon. Regardless of the curriculum approach, teachers need to be sensitive to the framing conditions for teaching and learning. To support history learning, both in multidisciplinary and subject-based education, the conditions for students’ learning need to determine teaching purposes and methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1–16
JournalEducation 3-13
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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