Potential of site-based study tours as an effective professional development method to foster teacher understanding of historical thinking

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University of New Brunswick


The War and the Canadian Experience: Teachers’ Professional Development Tour in France and Belgium is a two week intensive site-based learning opportunity for teachers across Canada. To determine if this site-based study tour represents an effective learning opportunity, a case study was conducted with fifteen teachers from across Canada who participated in one tour. Three sets of semi-structured interviews were individually conducted with interview questions were structured around the relationship between activities and assignments and the concepts of historical thinking. As well, data was collected as teachers participated in seminars, small group exercises and large group discussions. Teachers were also required to complete pre, during and post-tour assignments. The results demonstrated that teachers began to connect content with the concepts of historical thinking. After the tour, teachers adopted many of the concepts as part of their teaching practice in elementary and secondary schools. This example of intensive site-based learning represents effective professional development for teachers to understand and implement historical processes for historical thinking.