A study of knowledge representations in grade 6 history textbooks before and after 1994.
The purpose of this study is to investigate how the knowledge structures in Grade 6 History textbooks have altered since 1994 and how learners in History may be inducted differently into the discipline of History. The transformation from a ‘content-heavy’ to a ‘skills-based’ History curriculum, and the teaching of History as a ‘mode of enquiry’ has resulted in an altered form, shape and character of History, as it exists in the learning area of the Social Sciences in the National Curriculum Statement. Bernstein’s concepts of curricula types and discourses as well as Bertram’s ‘historical gaze’ have been used to frame the study. Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy has been used to identify knowledge types and the cognitive demand of the textbooks. This study is located within the interpretive paradigm using the methodology of content analysis. It utilises the mixed-mode approach, combining both qualitative and quantitative methods. The sampling of the four textbooks (data sources) was purposive due to their popularity, accessibility, publication and prestige. Similar content in the chapter on the “History of Medical Science” was analysed across all four textbooks. Whilst the expectation of the NCS is one of high skill and high knowledge, the findings show that there seems to be a lack of congruence between curriculum requirements and textbook representations. An analysis of the two new textbooks indicate that both content of History (substantive knowledge) and historical procedures (procedural knowledge) are in danger as everyday knowledge is prioritised in its integration with substantive History knowledge in Grade 6 History textbooks. The content analysis also reveals an undeveloped sense of chronology; space and time which has implications for History learners and their appropriate induction into the discipline of History.