Collaborative, Multi-perspective Historical Writing: The Explanatory Power of a Dialogical Framework

Yifat Ben-David Kolikant, Sarah Pollack


There is an increased interest within the history education community in introducing students to the multi-perspective and interpretative nature of history. When these educational goals are pursued within collaborative contexts, what are the relationships of individuals from conflicting groups with historical accounts that they produced as a group? How does the joint writing influence their historical understanding?  We analyzed the joint accounts produced by high-school Israeli students, Jews and Arab/Palestinians, who collaboratively investigated historical events related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Employing a thematic analysis and a Bakhtinian-inspired discourse analysis, we found that the joint texts were constructed of themes from both in-groups’ perspectives. The students constructed a dialogic relationship between these themes, which enabled them to legitimize the other’s voice, yet keep the voices unmerged. Additionally, although they never abandoned their in-group narratives, the joint account reflected a new, multi-perspective historical meaning of the historical event.


collaborative learning; collaborative text writing; Humanities; dialogical theory; discourse analysis; mastery/appropriation; dialogic relationship

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