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Currículo sem Fronteiras
 A journal for a critical and emancipatory education   ISSN 1645-1384

Personagens da história: perspectivas de alunos portugueses e brasileiros em final da escolaridade básica (History characters: the views of Portuguese and Brazilian senior high school students)

Fátima Chaves

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This study assumes the relevance of understanding pupils’ conceptions about historical significance – a second order concept as far as the epistemological reflection is concerned. Therefore, it aims to understand the ideas of Portuguese and Brazilian pupils attending the final year of their compulsory schooling about which historical characters they see as significant in history, either in a positive or a negative way. The study is of a descriptive (both qualitative and quantitative) nature, and presupposes a longitudinal perspective as its data were collected in two moments (the first and the last term) of the same academic year. The sample consisted of 98 pupils aged 13 to 15, from four class groups selected among the school population attending grade 9 in Portugal (the final year of’ basic school’) and grade 8 in Brazil (the final year of ‘fundamental school’). The four class groups were selected according the criterion of northern-southern region, in each country. Data analysis employed the method of content analysis for a quantitative approach to get the frequency of characters identified with a positive or a negative image, as well as the information sources which were used according to the pupils. A qualitative approach inspired by the Grounded Theory method was also used to interpret pupils’ justifications of their options and underlying values. The analysis of the empirical data brought into light some similarities as well some particularities in the options of characters and subsumed values made by the pupils from the four class groups. Data suggest that those options made by pupils from the two countries, and in the two regions of each country, might be related to experiences integrated in given educational, cultural and mediatic contexts also presenting some particularities as well as some similarities between each other. It is suggested that such contexts might contribute, consciously or unconsciously, to the shaping of a national (and also local and global) identity fixed in specific symbols such as historical characters, social groups, events and historical situations, beliefs and ideologies.


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