Conceptualisations of the NSW senior history curriculum: ancient and/or modern history?

Year: 2013

Author: Singh, Deepak, Chia, Yeow-Tong

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Ancient and Modern History are typically perceived, in an epistemological sense, as two sides of the same coin (Young and Taylor, 2003, p. 58). Consider that throughout Kindergarten to Year 10 the two subjects are taught as a single educational entity, yet suddenly transcend into two distinct discourses within Stage 6. This is not a product of default, but of design (Wineburg, 2001, p. 52). It does, however, predispose the question of whether this ‘design’ supports the development of historical consciousness.
This paper reports on a phenomenological, qualitative-based research study orientating around conceptualisations of history curriculums, questioning the extent to which the segregation and classification of ancient and modern history supports the overall learning of historical consciousness by drawing on the perceptions and experience of historical teachers in the field. The means by which historical teachers perceive historical curriculums towards the overall understanding of historical consciousness is of primary interest in this paper. Furthermore, the subjective circumstances and experiences of these teachers provide context in this paper that is derived from an interpretive epistemological perspective. In adopting qualitative methodological techniques, namely semi-structured interviews with a select sample of teachers who have taught both ancient and modern history, this paper presents new meanings and connections between the conceptualisations of both educational discourses and their implications towards the development of historical consciousness.