Success in dealing with issues and situations in life and work depends on the development and integration of a range of abilities, such as being able to:
comprehend basic concepts and terms underpinning the areas of number, space, probability and statistics, and measurement
extract, convert or translate information given in numerical forms, or as diagrams, maps, graphs or tables
calculate and apply procedures
manage and manipulate electronic sources of data, databases and software applications
use skills or apply concepts from one problem or one subject domain to another.
Some subjects focus on the development and application of numerical and other mathematical concepts and skills. These subjects may provide a basis for the general development of such quantitative skills or have a distinct aim, such as to prepare students to cope with the quantitative demands of their personal lives or to participate in a specific workplace environment.
Nevertheless, in all subjects, including Modern History, students are to be encouraged to develop their understanding and to learn through the incorporation of mathematical strategies and approaches to tasks which are appropriate to history. Similarly, students should be presented with experiences that stimulate their mathematical interest and hone those quantitative skills that contribute to operating successfully within each of their subject domains.
Historians make use of a variety of numerical and other mathematical concepts and skills, especially those relating to graphs and tables, statistics and maps. Historians also make extensive use of computer databases and software packages to manipulate and represent historical data and concepts.
The distinctive nature of history may require that new mathematical concepts be introduced and new skills be developed for some students. All students need opportunities to practise the quantitative skills and understandings that they have developed previously. Opportunities are to be provided within appropriate learning contexts for the revision, maintenance and extension of such skills and understandings.
5. Course organisation
5.1 Course organisation
The senior syllabus in Modern History requires a minimum of 55 hours of timetabled school time per semester, including assessment. The course of study is based on a number of themes (for example, Studies of conflict — see the complete list below).
Within each theme, one or more inquiry topics are studied. An inquiry topic is an in-depth, inquiry-based study of a particular topic within a theme (for example, ‘The Cold War’ within the Studies of conflict theme. Suggested inquiry topics for each theme are listed in section 7).
The three general objectives, Planning and using an historical research process, Forming historical knowledge through critical inquiry, and Communicating historical knowledge (the mandatory aspects of the syllabus) must be incorporated into learning experiences and assessment.
A minimum of three themes must be selected.
A minimum of four inquiry topics must be studied in the two-year course.
Inquiry topics must be studied for a minimum of 18 hours of timetabled time.
One inquiry topic must focus on a significant element of Australian history.
More than the minimum number of inquiry topics and themes may be selected. The suite of inquiry topics must be predominantly 20th century in focus, across a range of time periods within the century.
Teachers planning a Modern History curriculum are encouraged to include:
a range of scales — local, national, international and global
a range of time periods, from pre-modern to contemporary
a range of geographical contexts — Australian, Asia–Pacific, European, African and American
some study of relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
a number of briefer studies (background, comparative or linking) to ensure that students can place the inquiry topics within a broader understanding of the history of at least the past two centuries.
In Modern History, the themes are as follows:
1. Studies of conflict
2. Studies of hope
3. The history of ideas and beliefs
4. Studies of cooperation
5. The history of everyday lives
6. Studies of power
7. Studies of diversity
8. People and environments in history
9. History and the global perspective
10. Local history
11. The individual in history
12. National history
13. Studies of change
14. History and futures
15. History and historians: theories and standpoints
16. School-based theme
5.2.1 School-based theme
Schools may choose to develop a school-based theme not suggested in the syllabus. A school-based theme is not to be confused with the selection, a topic of your choice, within each theme already described in section 7.
A school-based theme may:
be developed as a response to local issues, to the interests of students and teachers, or to the available resources within the school or the local community
combine inquiry topics from different themes
combine aspects of different themes.
Only one school-based theme is to be included in the school’s course organisation. Care must be taken to ensure that the inquiry topics developed for study in the school-based theme are different in content and emphasis from those selected in other themes.
Schools wishing to pursue this option are required to submit in their work programs an outline of the theme that includes:
a Purpose statement (see themes, section 7)
a sample inquiry topic that exemplifies the school-based theme, using the format laid out in the syllabus for other themes.
When developing school-based themes, the distinctive nature of historical inquiry should be emphasised, and the inquiry should contribute to student development of the understandings and processes described in the general objectives.