Friday, August 18, 2006

Two years of Australian History?

History should be compulsory. Some Australian history should even be compulsory. But 2 years' worth?

It's hard enough keeping students interested as it is. Imagine, your a teenager, and you have class after class, whitewashed of all critical content to please the conservative censors, of rote learning chronological historical facts.


First aside, here's Mr Lefty lampooning the idiocy of trying to remove critical content from the study of history.

Second aside, here's Pavlov rightly lampooning Julie Bishop for not being an expert on that which she believes all Australians should be forced to learn. Sure her education may have been lacking (all of ours were, apparently) but she's a smart woman, she can read, and she's had several decades to do her civic duty and get on top of all the detail. Those facts, dates, names...

I think there's at least as big a gap in the general population's knowledge of the history of the First and Second World Wars. Or of Ancient History, to which our society and culture are so indebted.

And I can't see how Australian history can remain interesting for 2 years unless you get into the juicy stuff that, inevitably, involves subjectivity and analysis.


JahTeh said...

"And today we'll be learning about Harold Holt, his life and times, in and out of politics including the juicy bits" or "This is Harold Holt, he was Prime Minister and drowned."

I love history but not the way I was taught at school.

B. S. Fairman said...

It has to be taught in a context with the rest of the world. Otherwise how do we explain Australia's role in the ANZAC landings with exploring why the war broke out or what we were doing in World War 2 with out talk of Japanese or Germans?
Take Joseph Banks for example who collected samples on Cook's visit. Why was he take botany samples as a hobby instead of listening to his ipod?

Shelley said...

I presume that they'll divide up Australian history as, say, a couple a hundred thousand years in the first ten minutes and then the rest of the two years spent on a fairly boring 200 years [yes I'm sure some people found it interesting]. I wonder if there'll be six months, or possibly a year, spent on the history of the Howard government...

I loathed Australian history at school - very dull and filled with fuck-witted explorers.

Daniel said...

Why don't we forget everything that happened prior to John Howard. His ten years could be taught as Australia's only Golden Age (especially for the rich).

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the Howard and Bishop-approved version of the bit between the world wars, particularly the history of New South Wales in that period :)

Though, frankly, I don't recall any of my history teachers being prepared to grasp that particular nettle.

Helen said...


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