Invoking the Unicorn: The Renewal of Humanities Teaching within an Australian Secondary School

By Niranjan Casinader.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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

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

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.389-402. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 613.791KB).

Mr. Niranjan Casinader

Head of Humanities, Humanities Faculty, Loyola College, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

BA(Hons) DipEd MEd MACE MACEL The author is currently Head of Humanities at Loyola College, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. A secondary teacher of Geography, History, International Politics and Philosophy, he has had twenty-eight years of experience in a number of government and independent schools within Victoria, undertaking a range of middle and senior management positions in faculty administration, co-curriculum and pastoral care. He also holds the position of National Director, Future Problem Solving Program Australia, a not-for-profit affiliate of Future Problem Solving (FPS) Program International, a school-based co-curricular program for the teaching of thinking skills. As part of this role, the author is responsible for the mentoring of FPS Program in Malaysia and South Africa, and has trained teachers, students and adults in the FPS thinking process in Australia and Malaysia, as well as being member of the Standards and Ethics Committee/Commission, National Youth Development Trust, South Africa. He is author/co-author of a number of secondary geography and humanities textbooks as well as several journal articles and book chapters, and has presented papers at local, national and international conferences on a range of educational issues, including Humanities education, co-curriculum and Future Problem Solving. He is currently undertaking part-time doctoral research on the possible relationships between culture and conceptualisations of thinking, with the intention of investigating the cross-cultural transferability of international programs such as the Future Problem Solving Program.


There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review