History 2012 – whose story?

Year: 2012

Author: Senior, Kim, Dixon, Mary

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Chair Julianne Moss



Theorising curriculum as the stories and narratives of a nation and the stories and narratives that we choose to tell in the struggle to define ourselves and our world (Pinar 1995), this paper asks whose stories are being told through the national History curriculum agenda. Debate is not isolated to the public domain. This paper addresses the issue of how the discipline of History is reconstructed by the National curriculum initiative: How primary teachers effectively teach the knowledge, skills and values of History as well as the engagement of primary students with History.  For the past three decades History has been absorbed within the broader social sciences generally referred to as 'Studies of Society and Environment' (SOSE) or 'Human Societies and Its Environment' in primary schools. Successive cohorts of primary school teachers have been educated in SOSE or the 'Humanities': unlike History teachers in the secondary sector, they do not have content knowledge from under-graduate degrees in the discipline of History. Shulman (1986, 1987, 2005) argues that discipline content knowledge is a pre-requisite to pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and as such, distinguishing History as a discrete subject suggests a cultural and pedagogical shift for the current primary teaching population. Is this the story or narratives of teaching and learning history being told from the classroom?