Tag Archives: History Education

Changing conceptions of historical thinking in History education: an Australian case study

Parkes, R. J., & Donnelly, D. (2014). Changing conceptions of historical thinking in History
education: an Australian case study. Revista Tempo e Argumento, Florianópolis, 6(11), 113‐136.

Changing conceptions of historical thinking in History education: an Australian case studyMany 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.

cover_issue_306_pt_BRThis paper was translated into Portuguese by Fabrício Coelho.

PARKER, Robert J.; DONNELLY, Debra. Concepções em mudança do pensamento histórico no
ensino da história: um estudo de caso australiano. Revista Tempo e Argumento, Florianópolis, v. 6,
n.11, p. 137‐161, jan./abr. 2014. Título original: Changing conceptions of historical thinking in History
education: an Australian case study. Traduzido por Fabricio Coelho.

Please click on the journal cover image to locate a copy of the published paper.

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Encountering history within and beyond borders

EditorialThis is the editorial for the inaugural issue of Historical Encounters, a peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary journal of historical consciousness, historical cultures. The title of the journal intends to suggest Gadamer’s (1992) notion of ‘the fusion of horizons’, as we explore the ways in which members of our communities experience, interpret, learn, study, and respond to the historical worlds they encounter. The editorial provides a brief, personal history, of the emergence of the journal. The papers in the inaugural issue reflect the wide range of scholarship currently occurring that treats historical consciousness, historical culture, and history education as its objects of analysis. With contributions from Australia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands, they represent an exciting diversity of works located within a variety of intersecting research fields including: history teacher education (McLean & colleagues), historical theory (Thorp), museum studies and public pedagogy (Smith), curriculum history and history textbook studies (Elmersjö), public history (Clark), and history education (Ahonen; and Ammert). The inaugural issue also offers it’s first ‘provocations’ piece, arguing for the use of ‘counterfactuals’ in history education (Huijen & Holthuis); and shares an extended abstract of a recently completed doctoral dissertation (Salter), in a section that it is hoped will be successful in showcasing the work of new scholars in the field.

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Call for Papers

History Curriculum, Geschichtsdidaktik, and the Problem of the Nation

I am currently co-guest editing with Professor Monika Vinterek (Darlana University, Sweden) a special issue of the journal ‘Education Sciences’. International dialogue has begun to take shape between the European bildung-influenced tradition of Didaktiks and the Anglo-American Curriculum Studies tradition. As it stands, the dialogue has concentrated on a comparative analysis of the traditions at the level of general curriculum theory or Allgemeine Didaktik (see for example, Gundem & Hopmann, 2002), and has rarely, if ever, drilled down into an area of subject-specific pedagogy or fachdidaktiks. This special issue seeks to address this directly, by encouraging a dialogue between various regional and national traditions of history education or Geschichtsdidaktik.

Contributors are invited to submit papers that explore how history education or Geschichtsdidaktik should respond, is responding, or has responded, to the problem of narrative diversity and the nation-building project. Studies that explore insights from a specific tradition of history education, and those that engage in comparative work across traditions are both welcome. While dialogue between historically and culturally distinctive traditions may be difficult, we believe it holds promise for the possibility of new insights, and presents opportunities for exciting transformations. Further details can be found by clicking on the “call for papers” image above.

Further details can be found by clicking on the “call for papers” image above. Deadline for manuscript submissions is: 1 September 2012.

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Teaching history as hermeneutics

Parkes, R. J. (2007). Teaching history as hermeneutics: Critically and pedagogically engaging narrative diversity in the curriculum. Paper presented at the biennial conference of the Australian Curriculum Studies Association (ACSA), Melbourne, 8-10 July.

In recent years, a federal government dedicated to using curriculum as a vehicle of social cohesion and cultural reproduction, has questioned the apparently ‘postmodern’ and ‘relativist’ History curriculum reform efforts of the 1990s that occurred in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. Arguing for a “root and branch renewal” of Australian history, the federal government has asserted that the nation’s past was rewritten, during the decades prior to the Howard government, “in the service of a partisan political cause” (Bishop, 2006). In polemic fashion, contemporary conservative politicians and social commentators regularly collapse important distinctions between multiculturalism, pluralism, political correctness, and postmodernism, preferring to read all forms of contemporary social theory and practice as confusing and ideologically-loaded, while their own grand narratives are proposed as ‘common-sense’. In this paper, drawing upon important recent work in historiography, I rethink the ‘problem’ of narrative diversity in the curriculum. Arguing that relativism is not the inevitable conclusion of teaching rival historical narratives, I propose a hermeneutic approach to the teaching of history that by providing a curricular space for ‘critical pluralism’ pedagogically engages narrative diversity.

A more developed version of the argument was published in 2009.

Parkes, R. J. (2009).Teaching History as historiography: Engaging narrative diversity in the curriculum. International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, 8(2), 118-132.

Click on the journal cover image to locate a copy of the more developed article.

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School History as post-colonial text

Parkes, R. J. (2006). School History as postcolonial text: The on-going struggle for histories in the New South Wales curriculum. Paper presented at the Second World Curriculum Studies Conference, Tampere, Finland, 21-24 May.

This paper is concerned with theorizing a curricular response to what has become known in Australia as the ‘history wars’ (Macintyre & Clark, 2003). The central debate in the history wars is over the representation of the colonization of Australia. What is at stake in these history wars is not only national identity (Halse & Harris, 2004), but also our conceivable future, because as Bennett (1995) has argued, “more than history is at stake in how the past is represented. The shape of the thinkable future depends on how the past is portrayed and on how its relations to the present are depicted” (p. 162). History curriculum, as “a disciplining technology that directs how the individual is to act, feel, talk, and ‘see’ the world and ‘self’” (Popkewitz, 2001, p. 153), serves a function in the history wars by operating as an apparatus for the social re/production of national identities, through linking “the development of the individual to the images and narratives of nationhood” (Popkewitz, Franklin, & Pereyra, 2001). Consequently, the importance of school history as a battlefield in these ‘history wars’ should not be underestimated (Clark, 2003). This study reserves as a context for its deliberations and ruminations, history curriculum in the state of New South Wales (NSW). The NSW context does more than simply anchor the discussion; it works as a case through which deliberations, in terms of the problematic, are rendered meaningful, and purposeful. Its significance is in the global trends that it reflects, and its possibility to speak to those trends it terms of a reconceptualized History curriculum. I argue that what has remained uncontested in the struggle for histories, has been the representational practices of history itself, and that addressing this null curriculum has significance for school History as postcolonial text and critical pedagogic practice.

A more developed version of the argument can be found in a paper published in the journal “Curriculum Inquiry” in 2007.

Parkes, R. J. (2007). Reading History curriculum as postcolonial text: Towards a curricular response to the history wars in Australia and beyond. Curriculum Inquiry, 37(4), 383-400.

Please click on the journal cover image to locate a copy of the published paper.

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