Board Endorsed October 2009 amended Octpber 2015

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Subject Rationale

The study of History allows students to place themselves in a range of cultural and intellectual contexts. It allows students to satisfy their natural curiosity about the diversity of human experiences through time. Through this study, students gain perspectives and understandings that encourage them to value diversity and develop empathetic understanding of others.

The exploration of History facilitates students’ understandings of cultural heritages and notions of identity. It helps them to understand why nations and people hold certain values, and why values and belief systems vary from one group to another. This knowledge is crucial to the development of effective citizens locally, nationally and globally.

Students develop their cognitive skills of investigation, interpretation and communication by asking meaningful questions to allow them to discern what is significant in historical events. They will be able to locate, select, analyse and evaluate evidence in order to present arguments. They critically assess sources of information about the past, and statements made about it, and come to realise that knowledge is problematic.

Students will become aware of the different ways in which historians can approach the study of History and should recognise that these different perspectives shape their enquiry and analysis. Students will be encouraged to look at alternate histories such as those of the marginalised, indigenous, feminist, Marxist, post-modernist and liberal.

Contemporary History is also an evidence-based study of how individuals, institutions and societies attempt to solve their problems in specific contemporary contexts, especially issues related to power, conflict and human development, informed by some understanding of the historical events that have shaped these individuals, institutions and societies.

In the fullest sense, History is relevant to every person through the development of self-knowledge. It provides a way of exploring the intersections between ideas, experiences, literature and cultures that assist in explaining the human condition. Hence, students become critically aware and learn to locate themselves within a broad perspective.


This course should enable students to:

  • demonstrate knowledge, awareness and understanding of some significant individuals, social groups, places, events and technologies of the past and/or present

  • be aware of the environmental impact of historical events

  • demonstrate a comprehension of change, continuity, diversity, unity, chance and chaos as factors in history.

  • demonstrate skills necessary in solving problems of evidence, acknowledging sources and achieving independence in researching

  • recognise recurring or unifying themes in the subject matter of history critically examine a diversity of voices about the past and/or present.

  • appreciate the perspectives from which history and/or contemporary events is recorded

  • think analytically, critically and creatively

  • argue and communicate according to the conventions of the discipline.

Student Group

This course caters for a wide range of students as it can be delivered at an A or T level. It also encompasses a diverse range of topics, eras and themes to suit the interests of all students.


Essential concepts

  • Continuity and change

  • Causation and resolution

  • Social relationships and structures

  • Forces of change

  • Power structures

  • Voices and omission

Essential skills

  • Investigation

  • Interpretation

  • Communication

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching strategies that are particularly relevant and effective in History include:

Investigation and interpretation of evidence through reading:

  • primary and secondary sources – e.g. diaries, speeches, photos, posters, letters, print resources – e.g. magazines, newspapers, paintings, PhotoStory, textbooks, historical novels, periodicals, biographies and feature films and documentaries, maps, charts, graphs, databases, internet searches and webquests

Interpretation of evidence and communication of findings through writing:

  • note taking exercises

  • essay writing

  • document studies

  • empathetic writing based on primary and secondary sources, showing a discriminating use of such sources to create an effective viewpoint – e.g. diary of a Roman legionary in Britain, a Sparticist speech given in Berlin in January 1919, letters of a soldier from the Western Front in 1916, the first chapter of a historical novel, a transcript of a 1913 Suffragette meeting, poems written by a dissident in a Stalinist gulag, a review of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich published in Pravda, a recreation of an artefact or piece of art appropriate to a given historical period or personality, construction of a piece of propaganda, construction of a children’s book.

Investigation and interpretation of evidence through kinaesthetic activities

  • model making (supported by research and reflection)

  • visits to institutions (e.g. Australian War Memorial, National Museum of Australia, National Archives of Australia), cemeteries, Parliament House, PEO, ACT Legislative Assembly, AEC, historical sites

  • attending films, plays etc. of historical significance

  • use of audio-visual kits

  • archaeological digs

  • historical games

  • dance

  • role plays

  • history camps

  • fieldwork

Investigation and interpretation of evidence, and communication of findings through oral and aural activities

  • oral reports

  • group work

  • conferencing

  • seminars

  • class discussion

  • debating

  • role plays

  • re-enactments and simulations

  • oral histories

  • evaluation of non-written sources

  • questioning

  • listening to guest speakers

  • attending conferences, lectures etc

  • analysis of film, propaganda, music

  • delivery of a piece of propaganda

  • presentations using PowerPoint or similar packages

Additional teaching and learning strategies

  • group work/cooperative learning

  • quizzes

  • teacher exposition

  • videos/DVDs

  • surveys of current affairs and events

  • problem solving

  • case studies

  • what ifs – counterfactuals

  • future studies and predications

  • National History Challenge

  • My Classes

  • use of publishing programs – e.g. for publishing newspapers

  • on-line forums

  • interactive computer-based modules

  • designing a web site

  • blogging

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