The wide range of themes that are available in the syllabus, together with the developmental processes described in section 6, provide opportunities for teachers to develop a course of study to cater for combined Year 11 and Year 12 classes, combined campuses or other modes of delivery. The multi-level nature of such classes can benefit the teaching and learning process in these ways:
It allows teachers to teach the themes in any order and to revisit themes. The sample course organisations in section 5.4 are applicable to either single-level or multi-level classes.
It provides opportunities for a mix of multi-level group work and for independent work, as well as for peer teaching and for teamwork.
Learning experiences and assessment instruments can be structured to allow both Year 11 and Year 12 students to consider concepts at the level appropriate to their needs at various stages of development (for example, as described in section 6).
Within the one theme, students and teachers are able to select or develop inquiry topics and questions at different levels of complexity to suit the needs of Year 11 and Year 12 students.
5.4 Sample course organisations
A course of study must meet the minimum requirements as described in section 5.1, and must be developed so that students experience coherence in their studies. Chronologies, contexts and timelines should be clearly evident to students. The use of briefer studies such as background, comparative or linking studies, will help students to establish contexts, changes and continuities in their historical inquiries.
Themes and inquiry topics will be shaped by the focus questions that students develop under the inquiry aspects, namely:
backgrounds, changes and continuities: motives and causes
effects, interests and arguments
reflections and responses.
The aspects are described in more detail in section 6, Learningexperiences, and in section 7, Themesandinquirytopics.
Some examples of possible course organisation for a two-year course of study in Modern History follow. All the examples meet the minimum requirement specified in section 5.1. However, the examples differ in:
the total number of themes and inquiry topics used
The role of bridging, comparative, background and linking studies in providing coherence to the course of study is illustrated in the expanded Example A below. This version takes the brief outline and fleshes out each theme so that the consistency and coherence of the choice of inquiry topics and other studies is evident.
Example A: four themes, six inquiry topics
Themes and Inquiry topics
Introductorystudy: “Seven lives”
This introductory study sets the scene for the two-year course by highlighting the major features of the world in 1901. Collections of historical sources are used to depict the lives of seven very different people: an industrial worker in the USA, a colonial administrator’s wife in India, an Aboriginal stockman in Australia, a peasant woman in Russia, a young Zulu boy in South Africa, an army officer in Japan, and a merchant seaman in the Pacific. The seven lives are used to introduce the themes of nationalism, imperialism, militarism, industrialisation and mercantilism. Students are invited to speculate about which seven lives could be used to exemplify the world of 2001. The pitfalls of attempting such a representation are raised.
Theme: History and the global perspective
Inquirytopic: “Appealing to the people”
This topic helps students develop an overview of some major historical developments of the 20th century. The INQUIRYTOPIC (32 hours) focuses on the ways in which popular art and music have been used to appeal to people’s values, aspirations and emotions. The developments studied are World War 1, the “Roaring Twenties”, Nazism, World War 2, post-war prosperity, the Cold War, global consumerism.
Students are encouraged to see the western emphasis in the inquiry topic, and to think about the people and places that have not been represented in this overview of the century. This leads to a bridgingstudy (4 hrs) of the processes of decolonisation and their effects on the world of the past century.
Theme: Studies of change: “Technology, work and the human spirit”
Liberal capitalism in the USA and state capitalism/communism in the USSR
The digital revolution
This study focuses first on different ways in which societies can be organised in attempts to meet people’s aspirations for meaningful and secure lives. The first inquiry topic (24 hrs) is a comparative study of liberal capitalism in the USA from c. 1880 to 1941 and state capitalism/communism in the USSR from 1917 to 1941. This includes study of liberal, free enterprise, socialist and Marxist theories, an evaluation of the extent to which those theories were embodied in the US and Soviet cases, and a comparison of the economic, social and cultural effects in each country.
A comparativestudy (8 hrs) highlights the distinctive character of the labour/capital settlement in Australia, focusing on government ownership of key enterprises, protectionism, unionism, the basic wage, the welfare state, the Accord, deregulation and globalisation.
Next, two background studies on the development of Fordism and Taylorism (2 hrs) and the impacts of industrial, communications and domestic technologies up until the 1950s (4 hrs) provide context for an inquiry topic (32 hrs) on the digital revolution of the last part of the 20th century. Issues include the emergence of post-industrial forms of work, and the technologisation of all major economic, social, cultural and administrative institutions and practices. Questions are raised about global and local equity in relation to access to new technologies.
Theme: Studies of conflict: “Land and freedom”
Two Australian campaigns — one racial, one environmental
Apartheid in South Africa
This theme is pursued through a comparison of changing attitudes and practices in relation to issues of race and environment. A backgroundstudy (5 hrs) focuses on colonial Australia, where the dominant ideology embraced parallel beliefs in European dominance of Indigenous peoples and of the environment. Theories of race and of human relationships with nature are explored, as are Indigenous beliefs about land and its uses.
An inquiry topic (32 hours) focuses on a comparison of two notable Australian campaigns (e.g. the “freedom rides” in north-west NSW and the Franklin Dam struggle). Issues include ideological debates, conflicting assumptions and interests, the roles of governments, the processes of popular struggle. Students compare and contrast the campaigns, and evaluate their significance in helping shape the nature of Australia today.
A summarystudy (3 hrs) overviews the current state of race and environment debates in Australia.
An inquiry topic (24 hrs) focuses on the struggle to end the Apartheid system in South Africa and to establish a multi-racial democracy there. Issues of environment and resources are examined, and comparisons and contrasts drawn between Australia and South Africa.
A comparativestudy (4 hrs) highlights other significant historical examples of racial and environmental struggles
Theme: Studies of hope: “Half the world”
Inquirytopic: Gender developments since 1980.
This theme is pursued initially through a series of backgroundstudies on the dominant masculinist culture of Europe and Australia in the late 19th century (2 hrs); on first-wave feminism, focusing on the Suffragist struggle in Britain and the developments in the period 1928–1945, including reference to the impact of World War 2 on women’s lives (3 hrs); on the 1950s, focusing on the idea of woman as home-maker in the emerging commodified consumer culture of post-war Western prosperity (1 hr); and one on second-wave feminism (the women’s liberation movement) (4 hrs).
This leads to an inquiry topic (18 hrs) on gender developments in western societies since 1980, focusing on third-wave feminism, the “backlash”, postmodern diversity and issues of masculinity (20 hrs). Then follows a comparativestudy (2 hrs) of the current roles of men and women in non-western, developing nations.
Concludingstudy: “Seven lives”
This concluding study mirrors the introductory study in depicting the lives of seven very different people in the world today. Students will decide which seven lives should be profiled, and which themes they should reflect. Again, the pitfalls of attempting such a representation are raised.