Values Discourse in the History Classroom

By Kelsey Halbert.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

History is a value-laden discipline. Unlike ‘old’ history with its focus on facts and ‘knowledge for its own sake’, current history teaching in Australia is critically engaged with the ideals of citizenship and values as attached to actions and events. The changing purpose of history teaching is influenced by recent social and political pressures to instil values in a population deemed to be in moral decline. This paper draws on an analysis of the values discourse within the history curriculum. Deconstruction of the ‘nation’ and the ‘citizen’ in the Queensland Senior Modern History syllabus combined with preliminary observation and interview data with history teachers and students forms a basis for discussion. This paper also addresses the current debate surrounding the framework of nine key values prioritised, and funded, by the Australian government. In a context of social change and educational accountability, the relevance of history teaching may increasingly be values exploration and the fostering of a new global and ethical citizenship. Values and citizenship education within the history classroom offers exciting possibilities coupled with the risk of narrow interpretation and pressure to “instil” rather than critic.

Keywords: Values Education, History Teaching, Citizenship Education, Australia

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp.251-258. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 506.886KB).

Kelsey Halbert

PhD Student, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia


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