The place and structure of Humanities teaching within Australian schools has been a source of debate since the 1970’s, when the concept of general studies as opposed to a discipline-based Humanities curriculum was first put into practice. Since then, every major curriculum review at the state or national level has seen the nature of Humanities teaching come under review, particularly in response to the need to find space within the school timetable for the ever-increasing range of subjects deemed necessary in the compulsory years of schooling. Loyola College is a Catholic secondary school in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Since 1980, the school’s philosophy of a liberal education based on the Ignatian tradition has meant that Humanities has always part of the core curriculum in the compulsory years of schooling (Years 7-10). Within the school, the area of Humanities has included the disciplines of Geography, History, Civics, and, somewhat unusually for Australian schools, business subjects such as Economics and Accounting. In the early 2000’s, however, it became clear that the Humanities curriculum was suffering from staleness and declining relevance, a trend most keenly observed in the reducing number of senior students choosing to study the traditional Humanities subjects, in contrast to the increasing popularity of business-related courses at that level. In November 2003, the State Minister for Education and Training asked the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) to develop a new statewide curriculum framework for all Victorian schools. This paper describes, analyses and reflects upon the process taken by the current Head of Faculty to use the Victorian Essential Learning Standards as a means of reviving the nature and structure of the 7-10 Humanities curriculum, as well as renewing the unity, vitality and pedagogical direction of the faculty staff.
|Keywords:||Curriculum Reform, School Curriculum, Faculty Administration, Secondary Education, Australian Education, Humanities Teaching, Classroom Teaching, Humanities Curriculum|
Head of Humanities, Humanities Faculty, Loyola College, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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