Connecting Young People with Historical Consciousness

Year: 2021

Author: Carroll, Kay

Type of paper: Individual Paper

Globally, children and young people are faced with lockdowns, economic instability, and de-schooling. They are the children of COVID. The future seems uncertain as young people are disconnected from narratives of resilience, identity, and hopefulness. As educators we can effectively use historical consciousness to re-connect our youth to deep, trans-national narratives and historical understanding. Historical consciousness is the ability to re-imagine your present stance and perspective from multiple viewpoints informed by narratives and an assessment of the past. It provides young people with agency and voice about their future and encourages critical empathy. Understanding how historical consciousness develops in this present context for young people is imperative for the future. This paper will report on the current state of historical consciousness of students in a globalized, current COVID landscape and consider how teaching pedagogies can influence this. This is a multi-method study, encompassing pre and post COVID quantitative data from Australian school children aged twelve years to eighteen years. Qualitative case studies with educators about inquiry methods of teaching have been analysed to show the use of transformative pedagogies in building historical consciousness. Results from the survey of Australian school children and case studies from their teachers will be deconstructed to reveal  how historical consciousness can improve students’ willingness to understand diverse perspectives, empathetically re-imagine their future and understand their connectedness to global discourses and issues. These results will be useful to inform the current debates and responses to the review of Australian Curriculum in the teaching of Humanities. This paper will consider how historical consciousness can re-imagine the future for young people.