Table of Contents
Linking with understandings from readings.
Studying the humanities allows us to consider what it means to be part of human culture, linking personal experience to the wider world in which we live, the experiences of others, the environment and past and present realities. Grigg (2014), describe humanities as an opportunity to make sense of our complex world through deep thinking, questioning and reflection. The Victorian curriculum describes humanities as an opportunity to examine the processes that have shaped our world and to investigate possibilities for responding to the challenges before our communities and the environment (Brookfield & Preskill, 2005).
When I was in primary school in the late 60’s the focus was on information delivery and book-based tasks. Knowledge was passed from teacher to student, usually via copying off the blackboard and the memorising of facts. When excursions took place, every student would have a clipboard with a worksheet of questions to complete during the day. I have memories of ignoring many interesting things that weren’t relevant to the teacher’s questions, in fear of not completing the worksheet by home time. However, my interest in geography was always there irrespective of fears of not completing my work at time. I was not really interested in other subjects like history as they seemed the matter of time and age which I never actually felt interesting (Brookfield & Preskill, 2005).
Students gain literacy experience by observing their “better informed others” at home. As stated by Preston, Harvie, & Wallace (2015), suggest that "literacy is not a simple concept; rather, it is a regular mediating force that can take on a life of its own in a variety of contexts, culturally, socially and politically". The statement here suggests that literacy develops according to human needs and practice. Young people often watch, read, write and watch them for various reasons, such as watching a TV show. Thus, literacy is undoubtedly different from a person's daily life. Literacy includes the ability to understand and create different goals in different ways, in the form of visual, written or multiple models. In addition, understanding the world of children is important to include learning methods like reading, writing, seeing and creating in their learning. The Australian curriculum says learning visual literacy is a key medium to help understand how visual means can subject meaning and understanding (ACARA, 2015).
Teaching styles with an emphasis on transmission of information as I was taught do not provide active, first-hand experience which engages children and encourages a personal response. Research suggests that inquiry approaches are central to engaging teaching (Reynolds, 2017).
Inquiry based learning has numerous models and processes, which emerges from discipline areas like the historical inquiry approach, educational groups and key educators or other more general inquiry approaches, like Action Research. Using a specific process or model can be useful for creating a flow unit (DeVries, 2000). To be truly inquiry-based, the unit must embody predefined features (a few of these models can be used, and there is still a teacher-directed unit where student search is limited).
The Australian curriculum emphasises the use of inquiry methods which include questioning, evaluating and sharing knowledge (ACARA, 2015). Inquiring classrooms must be spaces where students can inquire their questions and share their knowledge on the subject. The inquiry approach, central to humanities education, has its origins in constructivist learning theory. Thus, regardless of whether or not there is an objective reality, it is the person who creates his own actuality through his experience and his interaction in context to the environment. When a person experiences anything new, they filter that data through a mental structure (schemas) that incorporates prior knowledge, beliefs, and preconceived notions to create a sense of the information (Ambrosetti et al. 2016).
The inquiry approach also supports students across subject boundaries (Grigg & Hughes, 2014). The Victorian F-10 curriculum includes multiple opportunities for students to learn about worldview and religion. It enables students to be more aware and engaged locally and around the world, to understand the perspectives of different local communities and to educate them about the beliefs and practices of different traditions.
The Victorian curriculum covers the history and culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations and Australia's engagement with Asia, and issues of sustainability (VCAA, 2015). The curriculum also indulges to learn about Australia’s engagement in context to Asia. To learn more about the trends in Asia and Australia, students provide both regional contexts for their education and build an understanding of the culture and diversity of people living in Australia. Several Asian countries are mounting rapidly and have regional and global implications. Immigrants from all of these nations have historically subjected to Australia's development and will carry on doing so in the future. An understanding of Asia embraces the ability of Australian students to be active and conscious citizens, supports social inclusion and integration and is essential for Australia’s prosperity (Eaude, 2017).
I hope to establish reciprocal and responsive relationships with my students which will be the basis for shared learning experiences (Education Council, 2019). Our learning needs to be inquiry based to develop relevant questions to guide an inquiry in context to individuals, events, developments, locations, systems, and challenges (ACHASSI122-Scootle), identify and collect relevant information and data from primary school and secondary sources (ACHASSI123-Scootle) represent and organize data tables, charts, and Using a variety of formatted data, including large and small maps, discipline-appropriate conventions (ACHASSI124-Scootle), examines primary and secondary sources to determine their origin and draw their objectives (ACHASSI126-Scootle) and draw conclusions that are based on evidence (ACHASSI129- Scootle).
According to Reynolds (2017), each student enters school with individual skills, abilities and knowledge. Thus, it is the responsibility of the teacher to assist the students in developing their basic skills and knowledge. Communication became essential in various media. Also, children should be able to critique a given text so that the concept can be determined as a means of communicating or creating the concept of experience. This is especially important in the twenty-first century because there are now a variety of cultural and social practices. To that end, in order to survive effectively in the modern world, it is recommended that students have the ability to be multi-literate and be able to work with diverse methods of communication (Bateman, 2014).
ACARA (2015). Aims of HASS. Retrieved from: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/humanities-and-social-sciences/hass/aims/
Ambrosetti, A., Bliss, S., Forsyth, A., Hart, C., Henderson, D., & Issum, H. V. (2016). Teaching the social sciences and humanities in the Australian curriculum. Retrieved from: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ez.library.latrobe.edu.au
Bateman, D. (2014). Developing teachers of inquiry: An emerging humanities model of inquiry (HMI). Ethos, 22(1), 8.
Brookfield, S. D., & Preskill, S. (2005). Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques for democratic classrooms. Retrieved from: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ez.library.latrobe.edu.au
DeVries, R. (2000). Vygotsky, Piaget, and education: A reciprocal assimilation of theories and educational practices. New ideas in Psychology, 18(2-3), 187-213.
Eaude, T. (2017). Humanities in the primary school–philosophical considerations. Education 3-13, 45(3), 343-353.
Education Council. (2019). Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration. Retrieved from:
Grigg, R. (2014). Teaching Primary Humanities. Routledge. Retrieved from: https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ez.library.latrobe.edu.au
Preston, L., Harvie, K., & Wallace, H. (2015). Inquiry-based learning in teacher education: A primary humanities example. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 40(12), n12.
Reynolds, R. (2017). Teaching humanities and social sciences in the primary school (3rd ed.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). (2015). Victorian Curriculum F-10; The Humanities. Retrieved from: https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/the-humanities/introduction/about-the-humanities
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA). (2015) Overview-cross curriculum
priorities. Retrieved from: https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/overview/cross-curriculum-priorities
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