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Why is History important within the Primary School Classroom

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Caitlin Shaw

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Why is History important within the Primary School Classroom

What is History?
What History do we teach in Primary Schools?
The current History syllabus (2012), focuses on students' knowledge and understanding of the past in order to fully appreciate themselves and contribute effectively with future planning. In doing so, students develop understanding of historical significance, evidence, continuity and change and empathy.

The new syllabus (2012) focuses on four major content aspects:
- History (Change and Continuity)
- Cultures
- Social Systems and Structures
- Environment
What does the literature say about the K-10 History Curriculum (2012)?
Why should we teach History?
Why does History matter?
Why is historical thinking important in the 21st Century?
Historical Inquiry Pedagogy
Appropriate Theories to Historical Teaching
How then will History be taught in MY classroom?
History Teaching is not about just recalling past events - instead the teaching of History "allows us to examine the human condition and it is useful not only because it has pedagogical benefits, but also because, designed and handled carefully, it can lead to the diminution of social tensions and the development of intercultural understanding" (Taylor, 2012, p. 51) MY aim is to ensure students don't see history as simply as Sheldon:
History as defined by the Greek word
means the knowledge gained and explained through inquiry with an element of judgement (Taylor, 2012).
How will I teach the new syllabus? What resources will I employ?
My Rationale for teaching History
Emphasised the role of cooperative dialogues. His Sociocultural Theory promotes the use of collaborative learning environments with activities tailored to an individuals Zone of Proximal Development (Margetts & Woolfolk, 2010).
Teachers should focus on teaching children to learn how to learn. In doing so, students become active constructionists of their own learning and often use an investigative approach (Margetts & Woolfolk, 2010).
Learners develop new ideas by making them fit into an existing framework. Teaching through this perspective emphasises that key concepts be revisited through new subject matter (Taylor, 2012).
Dewey's work emphasises the importance of the individual's interest to the content they are learning. He also recognises the importance of human inquiry (Emery, 2004).
"Emphasises the active role of the learners in building understanding and making sense of information" (Margetts & Woolfolk, 2010).
History provides an explanation of why things are the way they are today. Students are fascinated with people and desire to understand their ancestry and origins, as well as the origins of their country. This in turn develops an appreciation for what we have.

Why is the new syllabus different?
The 2012 syllabus contains the following new aspects:
- key inquiry questions;
- a more specific focus on the use of sources;
- more specific integration of concepts; and
- new topics, such as Migration in Stage 3
(Board of Studies New South Wales, n.d.).
Historical awareness is an essential characteristic of any civilised society.

Three major positive aspects arise from the new curriculum:
1. A chronological focus,
2. A focus on inquiry pedagogy, which enables students to work like historians, and
3. Provides opportunities for students to value the influence of Asian nations, responding to the need to become 'Asia literate' (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA), 2008).
However, upon critical analysis, "history curricula is significantly informed by wider, prominent debates and tensions over history and identity" (Clark, 2004, p. 379). For example, politicians have a desire to influence the curriculum to portray a nations identity according to their personal beliefs and concepts of national unity.
To effectively prepare students for the 21st Century, teacher's must ensure students broaden their understanding of Australia's diversity, and to appreciate the historical developments within the Asian region. Subsequently, students develop respect for diversity, a sense of global citizenship, and become active and informed citizens.
It is through the development of historical thinking that students can fully comprehend the notion of change and appreciate a nations sense of identity.
Key elements of historical thinking include:
- research skills,
- historical literacy,
- understanding ICT,
- making connections,
- contestability, and
- moral judgement.
What is Historical Inquiry?
Why should we implement Historical Inquiry?
As defined within the Australian Curriculum, historical inquiry "involves the retrieval, comprehension and interpretation of sources and judgement (National Curriculum Board, 2009a, p. 4) which involves students asking questions; analysing, interpreting and evaluating sources; and developing informed answers.
Historical Inquiry promotes active experential learning within a cooperative environment, which allows students to work like historians do.

By using this teaching approach, the teacher promotes intellectual quality and significance, through fostering deep understanding and knowledge, making connections and narrative (NSW Department of Education and Training, 2003).
Why did we need a new syllabus?
Why did we need the new syllabus?
- The impact of the ICT evolution
- To better cater for learner diversity (Learner needs and styles; Special Needs Education)
- To make the content more relateable and useable by current students (21st Century Learners)
What does the new syllabus mean for teachers?
The increased need for continual Professional Development opportunities to ensure accurate and current content, pedagogical, subject and ICT knowledge
What do we aim to achieve with the new syllabus (2012)?
- A heightened interest and enjoyment in exploring the past
- Development of critical skills of historical inquiry
- Enable students to be active, informed and responsible citizens

(National Curriculum Board, 2009a).
Lessons - inquiry based activities including exposition, debates, site visits and studies, historical narrative and hands-on activities

Content - develop students historical awareness, thinking and literacy skills whilst developing specific content knowledge and skills

- Web 2.0: Prezi, Glogster, Webquests
- Websites: National History Challenge and History channel
- Primary and Secondary Sources

By passionately teaching History, primarily through the inquiry-based approach, I hope to instill curiosity and imagination amongst my students. It is through active inquiry and informed action that the students can apply their understandings to shape their future. Promoting essential societal characteristics such as historical awareness, thinking and literacy, I am enhancing students development of identity, both personal and national. With the interpretive nature of the subject and its interaction with primary and secondary sources, I aim to promote the development of values and intellectual quality, to create successful learners who are active and informed citizens.
Board of Studies New South Wales, (2012).,
NSW Syllabus for Australian Curriculum History K-10
. Sydney: Board of Studies New South Wales.
Board of Studies New South Wales, (n.d.).,
Kindegarten to 6 Guide to the new NSW syllabus
. Retrieved
from http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/hsie/history-k10/guide-to-the-new-syllabus/
Clark, A., (2004)., History Teaching, Historiography and Politics of Pedagogy in Australia,
Theory and
Research in Social Education, 32 (3)
, pp. 379-396.
Emery, J., (2004)., Technology, Human Agency and Dewey's Constructivism,
Australasian Journal of
Educational Technology, 20 (2)
, pp. 137-148.
Gilbert, R., (2011)., Can History Succeed at School? Problems of knowledge in Australian History
Australian Journal of Education, 55,
pp. 245-258.
Henderson, D., (2011). History in Australian Curriculum Foundation-10: Providing answers without asking
Curriculum Perspectives, 31 (3),
pp. 57-63.
Margetts, K., & Woolfolk, A., (2010).,
Educational Psychology
. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Australia.
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, (2008)., M
Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians
. Retrieved from http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/mceecdya/melbourne_declaration,25979.html
National Curriculum Board, (2009a).,
Shape of Australian Curriculum: History
. Barton: Commonwealth
Copyright Administration.
National Curriculum Board, (2009b).,
National History Curriculum: Framing Paper
. Retrieved from http:/
New South Wales Department of Education and Training, (n.d.).,
Quality Teaching in NSW Public Schools
Retrieved from https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/proflearn/docs/pdf/qt_EPSColor.pdf
Queensland Studies Authority, (n.d.).,
Queensland Studies of Society and Environment Years 1-10
Syllabus (SOSE)
. Retrieved from www.qsa.qld.edu.au/downloads/p_10/kla_sose_key.doc‎
Taylor, T., & Young, C., (2003).,
Making History
. Carlton: Commonwealth of Australia.
Taylor, T., (2012).,
Place and Time
. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Australia.
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