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Type: Thesis
Title: National Curricula: A Comparative Education Investigation of History in Australia and Singapore’s Lower Secondary Years
Author: Bleeze, Rachel Anne
Issue Date: 2019
School/Discipline: School of Education
Abstract: Until recently, the ‘traditional’ view of history usually went hand in hand with an emphasis on content acquisition in teaching it. This approach, associated with rote styles of learning, and the acquisition of facts and dates, has limited history’s potential as a subject at the school level in the twenty-first century. When taught using inquiry methods to achieve historical literacy, however, the subject promotes historical consciousness and the attainment of higher-order thinking skills that can be transformative to students’ learning. This more relevant, student-centred approach to learning, based on critical thinking and intercultural understanding, enables students to become active learners of history and better informed global citizens. Although this is a commonly stated aim in History curricula in many countries today, it is approached through different pedagogically engaging methods, particularly in the lower secondary years where students’ attitudes to history are usually being established. This study has used a comparative education framework to investigate the Australian Curriculum: History, which has been developed over the last ten years, as well as its implementation in a number of Year 7-8 classrooms. The point of comparison was provided by a comparable investigation of Singapore’s 2014 Lower Secondary History Teaching Syllabuses and the teaching approaches developed for these year levels. These two sets of curriculum documents were used to make a comparative analysis of the aims of History in both countries, and the ways in which the curriculum/syllabus was implemented. The analysis of the history curricula and teaching documents from both countries, was triangulated with public commentary on these documents in newspapers, and journal articles. The third set of data used for triangulation was in the form of personal responses from History academics, experts and teaching professionals. Written comments in response to guideline questions were collected from classroom teachers and those in charge of History from different contexts in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, as well as Singapore. The purpose was to gain an understanding of how the relevant school stakeholders viewed the strengths and limitations of the new history curriculum they were implementing. The comparative thematic analysis of the two history curricula documents was focused on statements of purpose, content and pedagogy, with a special emphasis on evidence of student-centred inquiry processes. Evidence from the other two sources of data, the public commentary and the teachers’ responses, was incorporated into the discussion to support, explain and critique the curriculum documents, especially in relation to the effectiveness of their implementation. The findings indicated that Singapore and Australia had differing approaches to the teaching of history in the lower secondary years, seen in the content structure of each document. On the other hand, both had introduced a new emphasis on historical inquiry and specific activities involving research and analysis skills, although the implementation of each history curriculum in the classroom was rather different. This comparative study of the new Australian Curriculum with its Singaporean counterpart led directly to practical suggestions and useful alternative possibilities for the teaching of history in Years 7-8 Australian classrooms.
Advisor: Secombe, Margaret
Rodwell, Grant
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Education, 2019
Keywords: Comparative Education
History Education
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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