23 SES 12 C, Knowledge Agendas, Humanities Subjects and Equity: Examining Curriculum Policy Reforms in Three National Contexts
Many countries have recently revived their mandated history curriculum (Yates & Grumet 2011) with particular regard to the story politicians want students to know. This paper draws on a research project that investigates how Australian historians and history teachers understand the role of history subjects, and the concerns they have about current policy directions. The history curriculum potentially plays a role in relation to equity, both via the kinds of identities and values that it helps build (McLeod & Yates 2006), and also via its role in creating success and failure at school. Mandating the content of history impacts the ‘recognition’ issue; and history’s position in the testing and numbers game impacts distribution. Findings from this project suggest there is a significant difference of emphasis between how the role of history is understood at the big policy level and at the professional and practitioner level. It also shows that history poses challenge in relation to what should be common in curriculum, and to the relative emphasis to be given to substantive and procedural knowledge. Yates, L. & Grumet, M. (2011) (Ed.) Curriculum in today’s world, Routledge WYB. McLeod, J. & Yates, L. (2006) Making Modern Lives, SUNY.
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