Dr. J.C. (Johan) van Driel Msc.

Gepromoveerde Dudoc-Alfa

Betrokkenheid Vakdidactiek GW

Johan was een van de Dudoc-Alfa promovendi van de lichting 2017/2018.


Opleiding en achtergrond

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – Faculteit der Letteren – Geschiedenis (eerste graad)

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen – Politicologie




Reading, reasoning, and writing about historical significance: The effects of reading and writing instruction on the quality of written texts

Historical significance and language are considered important for historical reasoning. The studies presented in this dissertation investigate the effects of reading-to-write and writing-strategy instruction on the quality of written text about the significance of historical agents. In addition, we investigated the effects of our instructions on students’ procedural knowledge regarding reading, reasoning, and writing.

First, we explored how 10th-grade students assigned significance to a historical agent while thinking aloud. We compared their approach with the approach of four history teachers. Based on this comparison, we developed in the second study reading-to-write instruction. We tested this instruction in 4 classrooms and found that students who received reading-to-write instruction wrote better texts and had more procedural knowledge compared to students who did not receive this instruction.

Next, we investigated the additional effect of writing-strategy instruction above reading-to-write instruction (6 classes). We compared two conditions: in one condition students received the reading-to-write instruction twice, and the other condition received reading-to-write instruction followed by writing-strategy instruction. The results suggest that although students in both conditions improved their writing and had more procedural knowledge students who received both reading-to-write and writing-strategy instruction improved more. An additional think aloud study showed that students who wrote better texts applied more strategies as instructed (during the second intervention study) compared to students, who barely improved. Several implications of our findings for the history curriculum and teaching history are discussed throughout this dissertation. We recommend the use of contrasting accounts about historical significance in history classrooms.


Universiteit van Amsterdam