Problem Statement: History is a science that helps people guide their futures; it is an indispensable part of education. It is important for students to know the past well in order to understand the present better and direct their future. History does not have magical laws to generalize in predicting future. However, we have to know that history can give us lines of vision for today and tomorrow. Students meet the concept of history for the first time in elementary school. They learn about history and they ground what they learn around the framework of social studies. In this context, the students’ perspectives of the concept of history are very important for a better social studies and history education. One of the most important ways to determine students’ perceptions of the concept of history is by creating metaphors.
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study is to examine the metaphors of elementary school students for the concept of history.
Methods: Since this study examines an existing situation, it is a descriptive study. This study uses phenomenology design, a qualitative research method. The participants have completed the phrase of “History is like . . . because it . . .” to define their concept. The data are analyzed qualitatively and the metaphors are classified into conceptual categories.
Findings and Results: The 8th graders who participated in the study developed a total of 308 metaphors for the concept of history. These metaphors compose sub-categories such as like “comprehensive,” “useful and important for nation,” “complex,” “loved and addictive,” “informative,” and “repetitive.” Students developed 99 metaphors for the comprehensive history sub-category, 75 for the useful and important for nation sub-category, 52 metaphors for the complex history sub-category, 28 metaphors for loved and addictive history sub-category, 44 metaphors for the informative history sub-category, and 10 metaphors for the repetitive history sub-category.
Discussion and Conclusion: Each person has various perceptions about each notion and there was diversity between the students’ perceptions. As opposed to the behavioral approach, the cognitive approach sees knowledge as a personal and individual form of knowledge. Diversity in the concept of history is natural within this frame.
Key Words: History, social studies, qualitative research, metaphor