Local history and democratic competance. An analysis of teaching plans for the social sciences and history.

The article discusses the relationship between local history and the development of democratic competence in Norwegian teaching plans for the social sciences and history. Local history is manifested through the concepts of ’family’, ‘own history’, ’local environment’, ‘monuments’ and ‘place’. Urban history and regional history are absent. National and global perspectives are dominant. In teaching plans that are designed to develop democratic competence with the help of local history, the approach is primarily constructivist. Pupils are to work actively with local source material in order to problematize differing themes. This article demonstrates that the use of local history is based more on educational psychology than academic history. According to the teaching plan for the social sciences, pupils are for the most part finished with local history after the 4th year at school. The general part of the teaching plan explains that the value of local history lies primarily in its nearness. At the same time, the wording of the teaching plans for the social sciences and history is so general that a competent and interested teacher can use local history actively to satisfy the plan’s objectives.