Changing conceptions of historical thinking in History education: an Australian case study
Many nations have experienced conflict over the content of their History curriculum, and debates over the relative importance of skills (historical thinking) versus content (historical knowledge). Australia is no exception. This paper seeks to contribute to discussions over the importance of historical thinking in History education by exploring the changing conceptions of historical thinking in the History curricula of New South Wales (NSW) (Australia’s most populous state; which evolved from the earliest British colony; has an uninterrupted tradition of History teaching in high schools; and a rather unique post-compulsory extension course). Recently, History has become a mandatory subject in all Australian schools from the foundation year through to the last year of compulsory schooling [F-10], for the first time since the federation of the Australian states (1901), when curriculum was constitutionally determined to be a State responsibility. This paper charts the changing forms and relative importance of historical thinking as an explicit outcome of History education in NSW History curricula, from its emergence in the 1970s elective History curriculum to current explication in the NSW syllabi for the mandatory Australian 'national' Curriculum. It also explores the nature and significance of the post-compulsory 'senior' History extension course in NSW, an option for History students in the final non-compulsory year of schooling. This extension course boldly incorporates the study of historiography, requiring students to apply their meta-historical insights in an original historiographic investigation, anchoring complex historical theory in an experience of being an historian. We argue that the move to incorporate historiography into the curriculum expands the notion of what constitutes historical thinking in History education. Thus, we conclude by reflecting on what these different ways of conceptualising historical thinking mean for the social and educational function of history, and what implications they suggest for History education.Keywords: History Teaching; Historical Thinking; Australian.
AHONEN, S. Coming to terms with a dark past: How post-conflict societies deal with history. New York: Peter Lang, 2012.
AL-HAJ, M. National Ethos, Multicultural Education, and the New History Textbooks in Israel. Curriculum Inquiry, v. 35, n. 1, p. 47-71, 2005.
ALDRICH, R. History in the national curriculum. London: Kogan Page, 1991.
APPLE, M. W. The hidden curriculum and the nature of conflict. In: PINAR, William (Org.). Curriculum theorizing: The reconceptualists. Berkley, C.A. McCutchan Publishing Corporation, 1975. p. 95-119.
BARCAN, A. A history of Australian education. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1980.
BARTON, K. C. Teaching history for the common good. Chicago: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004.
BENNETT, T. The birth of the museum: History, theory, politics. London: Routledge, 1995.
BLAINEY, G. Drawing up a balance sheet of our history. Quadrant, v. 37, n. 7-8, p. 10-15, 1993.
BOARD OF STUDIES NSW. History Stages 4-5 Syllabus. Sydney, NSW: 1998.
BOARD OF STUDIES NSW. HSC History Extension Syllabus. Sydney, NSW: 2000.
BOARD OF STUDIES NSW. History Years 7-10 Syllabus (Mandatory and elective courses). Sydney, NSW: 2003.
CLARK, A. Teaching the nation: Politics and pedagogy in Australian history. Melbourne, VIC: Melbourne University Press, 2004.
CLARK, A. What do they teach our children? In: MACINTYRE, S.; CLARK, A. (Org.). The history wars. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2003. p. 171-190.
CLARK, A. History's children: History wars in the classroom. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2008.
COUNSELL, C. Historical knowledge and historical skills: A distracting dichotomy. In: ARTHUR, J.; PHILLIPS, R. (Org.). Issues in History teaching. London: Routledge, 2000. p. 52-71.
CROWE, D. Christopher Pyne tackles leftist 'bias' in classrooms. The Australian. Canberra: News Corp Australia. Midday 2014.
DONNELLY, K. The black armband view of history. Agora, v. 32, n. 2, p. 15, 1997.
FITZGERALD, J. History and the core curriculum: A response to Core curriculum for Australian schools. Teaching History, v. 15, n. 2, p. 69-85, 1981.
GADAMER, H.-G. Truth and Method. New York: Crossroad, 1992.
GRIMSHAW, P. History: Searching for identity. Annual State Conference of the Queensland History Teachers Association (QHTA), 1996, Brisbane.
GUYVER, R. The shape of the Australian history curriculum: A comparative perspective. Agora, v. 44, n. 4, p. 9-16, 2009.
HALSE, C; HARRIS, C. National identity and social cohesion: The social use of history curriculum in the United Kingdom, the US and Australia. Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), 2004, University of Melbourne, November 28 - December 2, 2004.
HARRIS, C. History curriculum development in New South Wales: Issues of control and its impact on teachers. Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE), 2004, University of Melbourne, VIC.
HENDERSON, D J. What is education for? Situating history, cultural understandings and studies of society and environment against neo-conservative critiques of curriculum reform. Australian Journal of Education, v. 49, n. 3, p. 306-319, 2005.
HOWARD, J. Unity vital in battle against terrorism. The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney: 11 p. 2006.
HUGHES-WARRINGTON, M; ROE, J; NYE, J; BAILEY, M; PEEL, M; RUSSELL, P; LAUGESON, A; DEACON, D; KIEM, P; TRENT, F. Historical thinking in higher education: An ALTC discipline-based initiative. Australian Learning and Teaching Council. Sydney. 2009
JOHNSTON, G. An historical perspective of the 1980 syllabus in history for years 7-10. Teaching History, v. 15, n. 4, p. 65-81, 1982.
LAND, R. Invasion and after: A case study in curriculum politics. Brisbane: Queensland Studies Centre, 1994.
LEE, P. Historical literacy: Theory and Research. International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, v. 5, n. 1, 2005.
LEE, P.; ASHBY, R. Progression in historical understanding ages 7-14. In: STEARNS, P. N.;SEIXAS, P.; WINEBURG, S. (Org.). Knowing, teaching, and learning history: National and international perspectives. New York: New York University Press, 2000. p. 199-222.
LEINHARDT, G.; BECK, I. L.; STAINTON, C. Teaching and learning in history. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994.
MACINTYRE, S. The history wars. Teaching History, v. 38, n. 2, p. 4-14, 2004.
MACINTYRE, S.; CLARK, A. The history wars. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2003.
MACRAILD, D. M.; TAYLOR, A. Social theory and social history. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.
MELLEUISH, G. The teaching of Australian history in Australian schools: A normative approach. The Australian History Summit, 2006, Canberra. August 17.
NASH, G. B.; CRABTREE, C.; DUNN, R. E. History on trial: Culture wars and the teaching of the past. New York: Alfred A, Knopf, 1998.
OSBORNE, G.; MANDLE, W. F, (Orgs.). New history: Studying Australia today. Sydney: George Allen & Unwined. 1982.
PARKES, R. J. Reading History curriculum as postcolonial text: Towards a curricular response to the history wars in Australia and beyond. Curriculum Inquiry, v. 37, n. 4, p. 383-400, 2007.
PARKES, R. J. Teaching History as historiography: Engaging narrative diversity in the curriculum. International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, v. 8, n. 2, p. 118-132, 2009.
PARKES, R. J. Interrupting history: Rethinking history curriculum after 'the end of history'. New York: Peter Lang, 2011.
PHILLIPS, R. History teaching, nationhood and the state: A study in educational politics. London: Cassell, 1998.
RICHARDSON, G. H. The death of the good Canadian: Teachers, national identities, and the social studies curriculum. New York: Peter Lang, 2002.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS BOARD. History Syllabus: Secondary Schools. Sydney, NSW: Secondary Schools Board 1971.
SECONDARY SCHOOLS BOARD. History in N.S.W. Secondary Schools, Years 7-10. Sydney, NSW: Secondary Schools Board, 1980.
SEGALL, A. What's the purpose of teaching a discipline, anyway? In: SEGALL, A.; HEILMAN, E.; CHERRYHOLMES, C H (Org.). Social studies - the next generation: Re-searching in the postmodern. New York: Peter Lang, 2006. p. 125-139.
SEIXAS, P. Historical understanding among adolescents in a multicultural setting. Curriculum Inquiry, v. 23, n. 3, p. 301-327, 1993a.
SEIXAS, P. Popular film and young people's understanding of the history of Native American-White relations. The History Teacher, v. 26, n. 3, p. 351-370, 1993b.
SEIXAS, P. Benchmarks of Historical Thinking: A Framework for Assessment in Canada. Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness, University of British Columbia. Vancouver, CA. 2006
SHARPE, J. History from below. In: BURKE, P. (Org.). New perspectives on historical writing. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 1991. p. 24-41.
SHEMILT, D. History 13-16: Evaluation study. Edinburgh: Holmes McDougall, 1980.
TAYLOR, T. Howard's End: a narrative memoir of political contrivance, neoconservative ideology and the Australian history curriculum. Curriculum Journal, v. 20, n. 4, p. 317-329, 2009. ISSN 0958-5176.
TAYLOR, T.; CLARK, A. An overview of the teaching and learning of Australian history in schools. The Australian History Summit, Canberra. Canberra 2006.
TAYLOR, T.; GUYVER, R. (Orgs.). History wars in the classroom: Global perspectives. London: Information Age Publishinged. 2011.
TAYLOR, T.; YOUNG, C. Making history: A guide for the teaching and learning of history in Australian schools. Carlton South, VIC: Curriculum Corporation, 2003.
THOMPSON, K. Civics and citizenship education in New South Wales and its implications for teaching history. 1999. thesis submitted in partial fullfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Education (Honours) Faculty of Education, The University of Sydney
VAN BOXTEL, C; VAN DRIE, J. Historical reasoning: A comparison of how experts and novices contextualise historical sources. International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, v. 4, n. 2, 2004.
VANSLEDRIGHT, B. A. Closing the gap between school and disciplinary history? Historian as high school history teacher. In: BROPHY, J (Org.). Advances in Research on Teaching. Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, v.6, 1996. p. 257-289.
VIRTA, A. Historical literacy: Thinking, reading and understanding history. Journal of Research in Teacher Education, v. 14, n. 4, p. 11-25, 2007.
WILSON, S. M.; WINEBURG, S. Peering at history through different lenses: The role of disciplinary perspectives in teaching history. Teachers College Record, v. 89, n. 4, p. 525-539, 1998.
WINDSCHUTTLE, K. The killing of history: How literary critics and social theorists are murdering our past. New York: The Free Press, 1996.
WINEBURG, S. Historical thinking and other unnatural acts. Canadian Historical Consciousness in an International Context: Theoretical Frameworks conference, 2001, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.
WINEBURG, S. Historical thinking and other unnatural acts: Charting the future of teaching the past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.
YILMAZ, K. Introducing the 'linguistic turn' to history education. International Education Journal, v. 8, n. 1, p. 270-278, 2007.