How does historical literacy manifest itself in South African grade 10 history textbooks?
The aim of this study was to identify how historical literacy manifested itself in Grade 10 history textbooks. The use of two distinct time periods was used in my study to chart the changes in history education, in South Africa. Pre-1994 detailed the nature of history education and history textbooks during the times of the Boer and British Republics to apartheid era history education. Post-1994, on the other hand, depicted the change, or lack thereof, of history education and history textbooks from the 1994 democratic elections to its current state. Despite the changes in history education between the two eras, the use of history textbooks was, in the context of this study, the vehicle to deliver the curriculum. In the light of the progression of history education and its link to history textbooks, the purpose of this study was threefold, which was purported through the use of three research questions, namely to firstly ascertain what kind of historical literacy was envisaged by the NCS – history. Secondly, to examine the views of history textbook authors concerning their opinion of school history (historical literacy). Thereafter, it was imperative to analyse Grade 10 textbooks in order to ascertain how historical literacy manifested itself therein so as to satiate the question of the thesis. My data sources were the National Curriculum Statement for history (2003), Grade 10 history textbook authors and three Grade 10 history textbooks. The methodology was qualitative and informed by an interpretivist approach. Open coding and Fairclough’s (2005) analytic instrument for discourse analysis was applied to data. Thereafter, a deeper conceptual understanding of historical literacy was engendered through the use of the Toolkit for Historical Literacy. Historical literacy is a complex process wherein a number of criteria facilitated the concept. Attainment of these factors of historical literacy would ensure mastery of the discipline. Historical literacy comprised of historical content knowledge which was a balance between knowing information as well understanding the past. Multiple sources, together with historical skills and historical concepts were vital for historical literacy to construct and evaluate knowledge. In addition, historical literacy furthered a case for developing a moral and ethical framework wherein the past could be judged. Historical consciousness, born of historical literacy, allowed for learners to make a connection with the past. Furthermore, historical literacy encompasses a number of modern concepts for the case of historical literacy, namely ICTunderstandings and representational expression. Therefore, historical literacy should be multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional. The findings of this study were numerous. Historical skills, historical concepts, understanding and knowing the past, moral judgements in history and a source-based methodology was the encompassing form of historical literacy from the Grade 10 history textbook authors. At the core of historical literacy in Grade 10 history textbooks, are the role of the historian and the political influence of the NCS - history. The NCS - history endorsed all history textbooks in South Africa. The Grade 10 history textbooks revealed a potentially alarming factor for the case of historical literacy. The historical literacy advocated by the Grade 10 history textbooks is a far cry from the international version of historical literacy. No modern features of historical literacy were represented (ICT-understandings, representational expression, applied science, contention and contestability and historical consciousness). Moreover, more traditional features of historical concepts of change, cause and effect as well a means of morally judging the past through empathy are missing or not appropriately dealt with. Historical literacy in Grade 10 history textbooks is functional in terms of sourcing, contextualising and corroborating information so as to understand an event rather than know it. Historical skills are needed to complete this process. Ultimately, the type of historical literacy found in Grade 10 history textbooks is reminiscent of the Schools History Project. Historical literacy in South African Grade 10 history textbooks is not evolving or dynamic and it does not meet the requirements of the international version of historical literacy. However, it does partially satisfy the NCS - history requirements for historical literacy.