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These are: The textbook’s account is the one that students encounter most frequently and routinely in their history classrooms.Use the ideas in our Teaching with Textbooks section to plan lessons that extend and complicate the textbook’s oversimplified story. Check out our Beyond the Textbook feature to learn how textbooks get particular historical stories wrong and find primary and secondary sources that will help you and your students build a fuller and more accurate picture of the past.Religious fervor was at an extreme, and villagers were nearly obsessed with the devil and witchcraft.For a young woman to tell a lie was fodder for hysteria and violent reaction.
Whether dealing in fact or fiction, historical context is important when interpreting behavior and speech. Devoid of context, it sounds innocent enough:"Sally hid her hands behind her back and crossed her fingers before she answered."But imagine that this statement comes from a transcript of court documents in Salem, Mass., in 1692.Watch this introductory video (or download the transcript) for an overview of ways of thinking inherent in knowing and doing history.Historical thinking is complex and multi-faceted; we focus on five key aspects particularly relevant to the K-12 classroom.In literature, a sound understanding of the historical context behind a work's creation can give us a fuller appreciation of the narrative.In analyzing historical events, context can help us understand what motivated people to behave as they did.
Historical context refers to the social, religious, economic, and political conditions that existed during a certain time and place.