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Why do we assess students? Is it simply to ensure they have memorised key dates, names and places that our culture views as significant? The answer to this is clearly a resounding ‘no’. Assessment is driven by the aims of the curriculum, and as with many discipline areas, the purview of history curricula both in Australia and around the world has broadened from rote learned, mono-cultural national narratives to a focus on the benefits of developing what many term ‘historical consciousness’ (Jeissman, 1979, p.40–42). So how do we ensure that students have gained both substantive and disciplinary knowledge, or the historical knowledge, historical thinking skills and historical consciousness that our national curriculum aims for? We need to make use of a wide range of assessment types that allow students to demonstrate the full breadth and depth of their learning so that we can make an informed judgement about their progress. We can do this through diagnostic assessments, which are assessments for learning that help inform teacher planning; formative assessments, which are assessments as learning that help students understand where the gaps in their knowledge and skills lie; and summative assessments, which are assessments of learning that provide information to both teachers and students about how the student has been able to demonstrate the syllabus objectives to date.
Both the Australian Curriculum and state and territory curricula foreground the importance of inquiry in history. The Australian Curriculum Rationale posits that history 'is a disciplined process of inquiry into the past that develops students’ curiosity and imagination' (ACARA, 2020). As a case study, the recently designed and newly implemented Queensland senior syllabus explicitly states that history uses a model of inquiry learning, which it defines as 'the process of developing knowledge and understanding by posing questions about the past, and applying skills associated with locating, analysing, evaluating and using sources as evidence to develop an informed explanation, argument or interpretation about the past' (QCAA, 2019, p. 107). One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through the use of an inquiry approach. It requires careful planning as different forms of inquiry are better suited to differing age and ability ranges. This chapter explores a number of inquiry-centred pedagogies that will facilitate the creation of an inquiry-centred classroom.
A strong professional network has many advantages for a beginning teacher. At a personal level, strong professional relationships both in the workplace and online can be an important source of advice and support. By drawing on ideas from outside your own department, staffroom or school through a robust professional learning network (PLN), you are then able to contribute to the exchange of ideas rather than merely benefiting from them. In addition to the benefits to your day-to-day practice, these networks also serve as a form of professional development. Finally, as you begin to establish yourself more firmly in the profession, they can provide connections and opportunities that lead to exciting new projects or employment/promotion opportunities. In this chapter, we look at the various ways in which you can establish yourself as an education professional and foster a strong PLN. The chapter also considers some of the cautionary tales and pitfalls of a poorly managed social media presence and the impact this can have on your teaching career.
Teaching Secondary History provides a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of teaching History to years 7–12 in Australian schools. Engaging directly with the Australian Curriculum, this text introduces pre-service teachers to the discipline of History. It builds on students' historical knowledge, thinking and skills and offers practical guidance on how to construct well-rounded History lessons for students. From inquiry strategies and teacher- and student-centred practice, to embedding the cross-curriculum priorities in planning and assessment, this text supports the learning and development of pre-service History teachers by connecting the 'big ideas' of teaching with the nuance of History content. Each chapter features short-answer and Pause and think questions to enhance understanding of key concepts, Bringing it together review questions to consolidate learning, classroom scenarios, examples of classroom work and a range of information boxes to connect students to additional material.
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