What is history?
....it must be understood that history is a response to the eternal desire of human beings to know about themselves. For this reason it is fundamentally a humane study, emphasising the importance of people, their individual choices, the values they hold, and the angles of vision by which they have looked at themselves and the world.
This pervading interest in humanity is the vital link between history and other humanistic disciplines with which it shares tools and objectives. But because history deals primarily with the human race in time, it offers a way of looking at human experience that the other humanistic disciplines do not: History brings depth to the study of humanity, giving it a past perspective and a sense of the inevitability of change. Because history deals with the flow of things, it shows that nothing stands still, that experience is dynamic and continuous; it lets us know that while what is happening now is important, people have had problems before and have survived them. One of history's most valuable contributions to its reader and writer is that it puts the present in its proper place:
Russel B. Nye, History, Meaning and Methods, Scott, (Foresman and Company, Glenview, Illinois,1975)
Stage 4 History
Stage 4 History
Year 7 Curriculum
The Year 7 History course offers students opportunities to cultivate their understanding of some of the great civilisations of the ancient world. Students begin their historical learning with an overview of historical methods, evidence and literacy skills before moving on to examine Ancient Greece. They find out about how Greece was organised from a political, economic, social and military perspective and its legacy for the modern world. Students learn about the great mythologies and stories of ancient Greece from Homer’s epics to the battles of Marathon, Salamis and Thermopylae. In the second term of History, students explore the rise to power of Ancient China and undertake a personality study of the complex Emperor Shi Huangdi and his great archaeological legacies of the Terracotta Warriors and his tomb. The course concludes with a hand-on excursion to the Nicholson Museum at Sydney University where students examine mummies and get the chance to hold a Spartan sword!
Year 8 Curriculum
Year 8 History students continue to develop their understanding of historical themes and concepts by exploring the issue of contact. Students learn about the fascinating history of Medieval Europe and Japan, as well as the frontier conflicts of colonial Australia. The first term of history begins with the Battle of Hastings and rise of feudalism in Medieval Europe and also explores European contacts with Islam during the Crusades. Using a range of sources, students also consider key aspects of the Medieval world including the plague, crime and punishment, and the witch-trials. In the Japanese unit, students learn about the Tokugawa Shoguns’ revival of the feudal system and control of foreign trade as well as how Japan’s isolation and the influences of westernisation eventually led to the decline of the Shogunnate. The last unit of study is the invasion, occupation, colonisation and settlement of Australia and its impact on indigenous peoples. During the year, students will have the chance to experience and encounter the stories, battles and weapons of the Medieval World first-hand with a visit from a Medieval expert.
Stage 5 History
Stage 5 History
Year 9 Curriculum
The 21st Century in which we live is one marked by rapid change and innovation. As such we increasingly take fast transport, faster communication, and connected global communities for granted, and yet only 300 years ago people could not begin to imagine the technologies we rely on daily. It is important for students to understand how individuals, societies and governments cope with rapid change and that change can have both positive and negative impacts on communities. This course is an examination of the rise of the industrialized world through a study of the technological inventions of the Industrial Revolution, the methods used by the British to exploit new resources and markets through colonialism, and the consequences that mechanization brought to warfare in the form of the railways, tanks and machine guns. Students also consider the working conditions in factories, mines and plantations, with a particular emphasis on the experiences of children. The semester ends with depth studies on Australia’s entry into World War One and Two.
Year 10 Curriculum
Despite attempts to create a lasting peace at the end of World War I, the world was engaged in another global conflict within 20 years. Not only did this conflict cause greater loss of life, it witnessed the Holocaust and the first use of nuclear weapons. In the aftermath of this war decolonisation saw the end of the great European empires and the emergence of new nations, particularly in Asia and Africa. At the same time, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged from World War II as hostile superpowers armed with nuclear weapons in a tense confrontation known as the Cold War. Despite a peaceful end to the Cold War in 1991, the emergence of global terrorism and a shift in economic power to Asia have contributed to ongoing uncertainty. The period since the end of the twentieth century has also been characterised by rising concerns about issues such as globalisation, the environment and sustainability. In spite of these uncertainties, there have been significant advances in technology, especially in communications, public health and living conditions across the world. Students in Year 10 compare and contrast the civil rights movements in America and Australia and their impact on international and local politics. In addition, students study changing government policy toward migration and its impact on Australian society. Lastly, we study a number of genocides from inception to prevention.
Elective History Stage 5
Blood – Brawn – Brains: History’s Big Ideas
Elective History Course Stage 5
The two ideas that drive the year 9 and 10 Elective History courses are ‘student voice, student choice’ and ‘project based learning.’ Student voice, student choice helps our elective students become autonomous, self-regulating and self-motivating learners. The thinking behind project based learning is that student’s will making meaning and create understanding in a collaborative and supportive environment. The aim of these courses is to develop a life-long interest and enthusiasm for history. Some of the content covered includes: Ancient Persia, the History of Terrorism, the French Revolution, Historical Biography, Film as History, Historical Fiction, Heritage and Conservation, War and Peace, History and the Media, Local History, Museum and/or Archives Studies, Oral History and Historical Reconstructions. .
Minecraft or Game Based Learning
The most effective lessons in the classroom are those with real-world applications. Minecraft is a world where students can solve real historical problems in real time. Students of Elective History will have the opportunity to use Minecraft to accurately rebuild ancient sites, understand the relationships between problems and solutions and have fun in a collaborative environment. Students will learn by doing, failing and trying again.
Games of Strategy
Board games will not take centre stage in the Elective History course, but they will provide a unique, fun opportunity to facilitate higher order cognitive abilities in ways that our normal academic studies may not. These games can facilitate discussion and help students explain their thinking in a fun and spirited learning environment. The following games will be played: Puerto Rico, Carcassone, Sequence, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Agricola and Axis and Allies.
Stage 6 Histories
Stage 6 Subjects
Ancient History develops students’ understandings of the foundations of Western civilisation through the study of cultures such as Greece, Egypt and Rome. Students will also develop and refine their skills of writing, presenting, critical thinking and analysis. Ancient History is a fascinating subject that draws on many fields such as archaeology, anthropology, DNA analysis, forensic science and radio-carbon dating to unlock the mysteries of the past. Students also examine problematic knowledge when debating topics such as the ethics of displaying human remains, ‘who owns the past?’ and the reconstruction of ancient sites. Students will also engage with different interpretations of evidence and come to their own conclusions based on their analysis of archaeological and written sources. In addition, students will have the opportunity to engage in 'hands on' experiences such as mummifying a rat, handling ancient artefacts at the Museum of Ancient Cultures and attending excursions to Italy and Greece to gain a first hand experience of the ancient sites that they study in the course. Our history department also has close ties with Dr. Estelle Lazer, the leading Australian archaeologist in Pompeii. Estelle has visited the school to lecture Ancient History students on key syllabus points in the HSC Core: Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii & Herculaneum.
Modern History develops students’ understanding about people and how they are influenced by past events. Through examinations of various primary and secondary sources students gain a critical understanding of current events and can placed these events into their proper historical context. Crucial to this course is the need to think critically and creatively about the interplay between individuals, groups, events and institutions. Good historians have the skills of differing research methodologies, critically analysing primary and secondary sources, understanding perspectives, editing, proofreading, building arguments and understanding causation. All of these skills and more will be developed throughout this course, and are much sought after skills in the work place.
HSC History Extension
History Extension is a challenging one unit course for students who are deep thinkers, avid readers, fantastic researchers, and self-starters. Enrolment in either Ancient History, Modern History or both are prerequisites for this course. This course goes beyond the traditional historical concepts of ‘past and present’ or ‘primary and secondary sources’ to a study of historiography. This involves intriguing questions such as: How is history written? Why? Is there ‘truth’ in history? Who decides what history is? Concepts like relativity in history, history as a human construct and the authenticity of history are all considered. Students analyse and evaluate different historical perspectives and approaches and the varying interpretations developed from these. They also undertake a major research project involving analysis, synthesis and evaluation of information from historical sources of differing perspectives and historical approaches. This gives each student the chance to explore an aspect of history that they are passionate about. Students visit Fisher Library at Sydney University to help them find resources for their History Project and to equip them for further research.
Legal Studies, Studies of Religion & Psychology
Stage 6 Subjects
Legal Studies is a highly engaging subject for those interested in studying Law and the rules that govern our society. With a focus on contemporary case studies, legislation and court judgements - both Australian and international - students will gain a deeper understanding of systems of rule, why certain behaviours are criminalised, and the rights they possess. We examine contemporary debates surrounding the need for law reform including a focus on responses to terrorism and the emerging challenges of cyber-crime and genetic technologies. Legal Studies fosters intellectual development, especially the ability to engage with higher order concepts, and develops students’ literacy through its focus on explicit teaching of written responses. Students’ learning is enhanced further by an excursion to court and the chance to participate in the Mock Trial competition.
Studies of Religion
Religion has been and continues to be an integral and unique aspect of human experience and a component of every culture. An appreciation of society is enhanced by an understanding of religion, its influence on human behaviour and interaction within culture. The aim of the Stage 6 Studies of Religion syllabus is to promote an understanding and critical awareness of the nature and significance of religion and the influence of belief systems and religious traditions on individuals and within society. Studies of Religion emphasises the development of skills of analysis, independent research, collaboration and effective communication. These skills empower students to become critically reflective life-long learners, whilst the course content enables students to become more socially and culturally aware citizens and participants in society.
Year 11 Psychology – Preliminary Study
The study of psychology is the study of the mental processes and behaviour of people. All areas of the human life can be studied. Psychology looks into why people act and think the way they do, who and what they are and the relationships that bind people together. In today’s complex urban, humanly disconnected, media driven societies, finding meaningful connections are becoming increasingly difficult. All the different branches of psychology are important in helping individuals navigate these complexities. Students will learn about the meaning and development of functional psychology from its first development under Wilhelm Wundt to current theories and practices of the humanist school. Students will also learn about the physiology, structure and function, model-medical diagnosis and states of consciousness. Students learn about what constitutes the 'normal' and 'abnormal' psychology. A range of psychological disorders, their causes, characteristics and treatments are covered. These include: mood disorders such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder; anxiety disorders, eating disorders and schizophrenia. Students learn about the theory and practice of research design and methodology in the social sciences and particularly psychology. Students then design and conduct their own independent research in an area of psychology that interests them.