Analogies as a tool for creativity in history teaching

Presenter(s): Eleni Karagianni
Author(s): Eleni Karagianni

This presentation examines the role and contribution of analogies in the development of children's creativity in the context of teaching and learning history. Analogical reasoning allows us to use our limited experiences to solve everyday problems. In other words, it is a process of transferring mental schemes and relationships from a known space to new and currently unfamiliar situations, in which similarities in the structure and relationships are sought even if as a whole they differ significantly (Cavoura, 2003: 348).
Analogical thinking is used systematically in the sciences, where theories and concepts are transferred from one scientific space to another (Piaget used the biological concepts of "assimilation" and "modification" to describe a child's mental development). Psychologists such as Spearman and Piaget believe that analogical reasoning is a key function of human intelligence. Therefore, cognitive psychologists study the role and conditions of its activation in the field of education (Vosniadou & Ortony, 1989). W. Gordon (1961), who has been systematically involved in creative thinking, considers analogical thinking to be a key component of creativity.
Analogical reasoning can take a dominant position in the teaching process of the History lesson in at least two cases: a. when the student is asked to use his/her knowledge - concerning the characteristics and especially the structures - of a known system (base object) to understand an unknown system (target object) and b. when the teacher attempts to facilitate generalization and especially the transfer of knowledge (Cavoura, 2003: 346-353, Repousi, 2004: 344).
According to Cooper (2018: 2), in the subject of History, creative thinking begins when one "takes his time" to think, to activate his curiosity in order to: i. Identify an area to be explored and define what the problematic situation is within that area, ii. Ask open-ended questions and accept probability, possibility, uncertainty and risk, iii. Use his / her creative imagination and iv. Make mental connections / correlations and to draw conclusions.
To this end a gifted student could find him/herself engaged in a variety of creative activities, products and assessments, as mentioned in this paper.
The presentation also suggests paths to achieve ascending intellectual demand, and presents an example of teaching history using analogical connections in the field of social sciences.