I'm working as professor of History Education (Vakdidactiek, in het bijzonder van geschiedenisonderwijs) at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education and the Amsterdam School of Historical Studies of the University of Amsterdam. I give lead to the Dutch Centre for Social Studies Education (Landelijk Expertisecentrum Mens- en Maatschappijvakken).
My research focuses on the learning and teaching of history. I published on historical reasoning, the learning of historical concepts, heritage education and the potential of collaborative learning in small groups and whole-class discussions.
I was co-editor of a much used history textbook series for secondary education (MeMo, geschiedenis voor de onderbouw).
More information about the conceptualization of Historical Reasoning that I developed with my colleague Jannet van Drie, can be found at the Historical Reasoning page.
Practice oriented research, funded by NRO. Consortium: University of Amsterdam, RSG Broklede (Breukelen), Roland Holst College (Hilversum). Researchers: Carla van Boxtel, Gerhard Stoel, Thomas Klijnstra, Gerard Ruijs.
Social science education helps students to make sense of structures and developments in society, analyze current societal problems (e.g. growing inequality) and think about potential solutions. The new Dutch social science examination program emphasizes development of students' ability to use central concepts and theories from the social sciences to reason about societal processes and problems. Teaching and learning this complex competency, however, is a challenging task. Not much is known about effective ways to support students and teachers. This research focuses on the design and implementation of (educative) curriculum materials that support both student and teacher learning. First, we analyze the quality of students' reasoning to identify frequently occurring flaws and define levels of reasoning. Rubrics are constructed to help both teachers and students better understand the reasoning skills that are aimed at. Second, a design research is conducted at two schools to design and test materials and activities that promote students' reasoning. These are designed according to principles of explicit teaching, the use of authentic tasks and reasoning schemes. Third, the materials and activities will be used in a professional development program (PDP) for social science teachers. We investigate to what extent the educative curriculum materials contribute to teachers’ professional growth related to the teaching of social scientific reasoning. The materials should provide enough guidance and at the same time leave room for adaptation to meet the time teachers have, the topics they deal with and their students' needs.
Practice oriented research, funded by NRO. Researchers Carla van Boxtel, Gerhard Stoel (University of Amsterdam), Jasper Beckeringh (Cartesius 2 Amsterdam), Hanneke Beneden (Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam), Bernhard Kors (Spring High Amsterdam), Jaron Schoone (Berlage Lyceum Amsterdam), Anique ter Welle (Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam).
Social studies teachers use open and authentic task in order to realize meaningful education and contribute to the development of domain specific and generic skills. In the context of these tasks, it is important that students can regulate the application of domain specific skills. Integrating domain specific and self regulation skills is quite a challenge for teachers. The teacher has to be able to define a particular domain specific skill, why it is relevant and at which levels one can demonstrate the skill. Furthermore, the teacher needs several tools (such as checklists or worked-out examples) and self-evaluation instruments.
In this research project, teachers and researchers collaborate in the design of tools to support students when they have to apply domain specific skills in inquiry tasks. We focus on the ability to formulate inquiry questions; to analyze social issues with social science concepts; to analyze historical processes of change; to emphatize and to construct a moral reasoning. For each skill we define proficency levels, develop a white board animation to introduce the skill to students, a scaffold and a self-evaluation instrument.
The tools will be developed in a design research with two cycles. The tools will be implemented in several classes. Following a mixed-method approach, we will use focus groups of experts and students, questionnaires, observations, content analysis of student work and interviews to evaluate the tools.
Carla van Boxtel, Thea Peetsma, Jaap Schuitema & Sonia Abrantes-Garces Palha
High achiements in school are the result of both high abilities and students' motivation and self-regulated learning. Excellence must be supported by a learning environment which challenges and motivates students. Characteristics of the learning environment that have been found to enhance student motivation and self-regulated learning of students include support for student autonomy, structure and collaborative learning tasks. This study investigates how the learning environment can support potentially excellent students in upper high school (vwo5). Two enriched learning arrangements will be developed for mathematics and history education. One condition includes more open tasks and the second more structured tasks. In addition, we investigate the influence of the groups’ constitution (homogenous or heterogeneous on cognitive ability) on students’ outcomes. In a longitudinal study the effects of the learning arrangements on the development of potentially excellent students’ motivation, self-regulated learning and achievements will be investigated.
Mark Schep (UvA) Supervisors: Carla van Boxtel & Julia Noordegraaf
This project is supported by Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Fonds21 and Mondriaan Fonds.
This Phd study focuses on educational tours in arts and history museums. What kind of learning outcomes are specific for these museums? How can we measure and develop the competencies of museum docents?
Tessa de Leur (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences), Supervisors: Arie Wilschut (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences), Carla van Boxtel
This Phd project aims to explore the current use and future possibilities of empathy tasks in secondary history education. Research questions are about cognitive and affective learning strategies, students' perceptions of empathy tasks and the construction of meaningful tasks.
Uddhava Rozendal (UvA) Supervisor: Carla van Boxtel, Jannet van Drie
This Phd research aims to develop instruments that history teachers can use to assess the development of students' causal reasoning ability. It also investigates the effects of formative assessment on students' historical causal reasoning.
Susanna Margret Gestsdottir (UvA) Supervisors: Carla van Boxtel & Jannet van Drie
The subject of this Phd research is professionalization of history teachers. The main research question is how teachers in upper secondary education can transform their teaching practice towards teaching historical thinking and reasoning. An observation instrument is developed and used in a professionalization program based upon the lesson-study approach.
Marc Kropman (UvA) Supervisors: Carla van Boxtel & Jannet van Drie
This project focuses on the the extent to which textbooks and teachers include multiple perspectives and how multiperspectivity can be included in the history lessons.
Kristin Sendur (UvA), Supervisors: Carla van Boxtel & Jannet van Drie
This project focuses on students' use of historical reasoning in writing and their epistemological stance towards the nature of history. Participants are students of a Turkish university who are English language learners.
Sevinç Göksen-Zayim (UvA) Supervisors Carla van Boxtel, Rijkje Dekker & Derk Pik
The aim of this PhD is to develop collaborative learning tasks to improve junior high school students' mathematical modeling ability. Particular attention is paid to the role of language proficiency in modeling tasks.
Johan van Driel (UvA) Supervisors Carla van Boxtel & Jannet van Drie
This research project focuses on improving students' ability to reason about the significance of historical events by using a reading and writing instruction.
Maartje van der Eem (UvA) Supervisors Carla van Boxtel, Saskia Brand-Gruwel (Open University) & Jannet van Drie
This research aims at improving secondary school students' ability to evaluate the usefulness and reliability of historical and current sources.
Hanneke Bartelds (UvA) Supervisors Carla van Boxtel & Geerte Savenije
This PhD project aims at improvement of students' ability to empathize by using television documentaries and eye-witnesses in the history classroom.
Based on our research on students' reasoning during historical inquiry tasks and literature on historical thinking and reasoning, we developed a framework to conceptualize and analyze historical reasoning in the classroom. This framework was presented in Jannet van Drie and Carla van Boxtel (2008). Historical reasoning: towards a framework for analyzing students’ reasoning about the past. Educational Psychology Review, 20(2), 87-110. Based on our recent research on students' historical reasoning ,we extended this framework (see Figure below).
Historical reasoning is an activity in which a student attempts to reach justifiable conclusions about processes of continuity and change, causes and effects, and/or differences and similarities between historical phenomena or periods. A historical reasoning is constructed by asking historical questions, constructing temporal and causal relationships utilizing substantive and metahistorical concepts and historical contextualization, and supporting assertions with arguments based upon critical analysis and evaluation of available historical interpretations and primary sources.
Students use several resources when they engage in historical reasoning. First, there are mental resources such as content knowledge (knowledge of historical facts, concepts and chronology), understanding of metahistorical concepts (such as causation, change, historical evidence), epistemological beliefs (about the nature of history and the construction of historical knowledge) and historical interest.
Second, students' reasoning is shaped by historical representations that are present in the public sphere (e.g. the media, museums,and commemorations).and the social groups students participate in.