A Study of Oral and Local History on Sportswomen with 5th Grade Students

Gulcin DILEK
Assist. Prof. Dr., Sinop University, Faculty of Education.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2016.63.6


Problem Statement: Contrary to traditional historiography, which mainly focuses on men’s experiences and ignores the women, historiography today includes all people, genders and social groups. Accordingly, school history also needs to regard female actors of the past in order to present a more gender-balanced past that makes visible not only the men’s but also the women’s experiences. However, objectives on the subjects of women, women’s history and gender in the social studies/history curricula in Turkey are very limited. In this sense, teachers need to think about how studies/activities/projects, where women and women’s pasts are more visible in environments outside the school, can be conducted considering the skills in the curricula of social studies/history in order to make students aware of women’s experiences in the past, empowerment of female students through investigating the pioneer/successful/challenged women in the past and provide gender equality on the educational base. Women’s history, which is not sufficiently covered in the curricula and textbooks, could be studied by being integrated with the local and oral history studies.

Purpose of the Study: The study aims to show that students could be upskilled in terms of the history discipline in general and women’s history and gender education in particular by ensuring they work on the women’s history/experiences based on local and oral history approaches taking part in the current social studies curricula in Turkey.

Method: The study employs a qualitative research design and the action research method. The study was conducted, having a preparation period of two weeks and also two weeks for application, with 19 students who had just finished the 5th grade. The students studied the past sportswomen of the Sinop Black Sea Sail Club. Video footage of the process, observation notes of the researcher and the opinions of students received in writing constitute the data set of the study. The triangulation method was adopted and the opinions of two expert academicians were asked in order to ensure validity and reliability. The data were analyzed using the descriptive analysis method.

Findings and Results: In this study, it was found that even students at relatively young ages (11 years) can be upskilled in studying with historical sources, designing and asking questions, having an awareness of gender, appreciating the pioneer women of the past, having an eagerness for researching the lives of these women and feeling excited in a short time through the well-organized small scale, oral, and local history studies.

Conclusion and Recommendations: This study showed that awareness could be raised in both the history discipline and the history of women in students via the oral and local history studies. In this respect, it was recommended that teachers design studies that make women in the local environment visible, people to be researched in the first stage to be chosen among the pioneer women who were successful in their fields, providing sufficient quality and quantity of sources to conduct oral history studies and preferring subjects from socio-cultural fields such as the recent history and sports history, where students can easily perceive change and continuity.

Key Words: Women’s history teaching, source-based history teaching, social studies teaching, gender equality.