Using character-based languages to teach Asian history: Collaboration between a History and a Languages teacher

Year: 2015

Author: Turner, Marianne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In the Australian Curriculum one of three cross-curricular priorities is ‘Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia’ (ACARA, 2015). This priority is reflected in the History Curriculum where the theme of Asia features as a depth study in Years 7-9 and is well represented in Year 10. This presentation reports on part of a qualitative study that explored how the character-based languages of Japanese and Chinese can be used to teach Asian history, and to link Asian history with character-based language classrooms. The study included five teachers from three Government schools, and this presentation focuses on the school in which a monolingual History teacher collaborated with a Japanese teacher. These two teachers collaborated in order to plan a Year 8 unit on the shogun to be taught by eight Year 8 History teachers to fourteen home groups in the school. Classroom observations were conducted in the teachers’ History and Japanese classes respectively and the teachers were interviewed at the end of the unit. It was found that the new approach was engaging for both the students and the two teachers involved in the study, but also that there were challenges related to the size of the schools’ Year 8 student cohort.