Transcript of Unpacking the new Stage 6 history syllabuses

Presenter: Alex Glasgow

Good afternoon and thank you for joining me for this afternoon's Adobe Connect. This one this afternoon is based on simply unpacking the new syllabus and just going through some basic information from the new syllabus and getting some information from NESA. My name is Alex Glasgow and I'm the mEsh project officer working out of the Oxford Street office. My job primarily is to assist teachers with the implementation of Stage 6 history. For the rest of the broadcast, I'll turn the camera off. Thank you for joining us this afternoon for today's Adobe Connect on unpacking the new Stage 6 history syllabuses. The history syllabuses took sort of two years for NESA to write, and have been an update to the previous old one. I'd first like to start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which we all meet this afternoon. I'd like to pay my respects to elders past, present and those of the future for they hold the memories, traditions, the culture and the hopes of Aboriginal people. I'd also like to extend my respect to all who are taking part today sharing our common homeland.

Where to begin? Well, the HSC has been unchanged for over 15 years. In that time, the rise of the internet, smartphones, Google, social media, has seen how students learn and how they get their information and how teaching occurs change dramatically. As a result, the HSC needed to have changes made to it as well. The actual exam questions that will be created will be created to reduce the chance of pre-planned responses. And a reduction in the number of assessment tasks to take the stress and pressure off of students is contained within the supporting documents. Strong and comprehensive planning will be needed to create teaching and learning programs to meet all of the new documentation and support the varied level of students that are to be found in every classroom. It will be vital that as...as teachers that these documents are read, read thoroughly, and understood. The common assessment reform is to take the pressure off of students. Three assessment tasks for modern and ancient history in Year 11, four in Year 12. You think about the number of times...or the number of students who may have had five assessment tasks in Year 12. Times that over 30 subjects... Sorry, times that over their six subjects gets you to 30 assessment tasks. Put in a couple of weeks for the trial, put in a couple of weeks for half-yearlies, and they've virtually got an assessment task every single week of their Year 12. So careful and thoughtful planning will be needed. There is ability to use Year 11 subjects to provide background knowledge and skills to give your students the best possible chance of success for the HSC. They need to ensure that geographical rules are maintained in both modern history and ancient history. That is, studies come from multiple places around the world and in various time periods. The new syllabus contains spirit and vigour with which students should approach their studies.

Simply converting old syllabus units of work into the new syllabus goes against the spirit and values of the syllabus. When teachers spend their time mapping out the subjects they're gonna teach, it is best to start from Year 12 and work backwards. But make sure that the courses that are chosen and the topics chosen, there's a...that there actually is content that can be built upon. Don't just pick topics because it's got the same name or sounds similar. Within ancient and modern history, there is integrated concepts and skills now put into our syllabuses. There's increased opportunity for inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. There are now new topics in ancient and modern history to reflect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. There's renewed chance to engage with Asia. There's, again, new topics into ancient history and modern history, the focus purely on the Asia and the world that Australia lives in.

In Year 12, each topic consists of a survey and a focus of study. At this point in time, it should be pointed out this Adobe Connect is taken at a...at a point in time we're waiting for in-information from NESA onto HSC exam specifications. Indeed, the...the consultation for the new HSC exam spec...specs closed the other day. At present, we can't say whether this survey option will be included in HSC exams or will it won't be. So that information to do with HSC exam specs...specifications will come out during Term 3. We've an increased... now, sorry, a Life Skills syllabus for ancient and modern history, making the studies of ancient history and modern history more readily available to students who take that option. It's really important to map out the Stage 6 program before you commence teaching Year 11 in 2018 to ensure there's continuity and depth of knowledge. There are links that can be drawn between Year 11 and Year 12 topics and this can be done to enhance student learning. However, we must be careful about retrofitting. While teaching some...or some of the...the topics or pieces of the topics that you have taught previously may fit into new topics in the new syllabus, teachers will need to be very careful that they plan their units of work to make sure that historical enquiry, analysis, skills, methodology, are all given due diligence. In some cases, retrofitting may be possible. Other cases, in most cases, it's not. There may be some common content, but units will have to be taught and planned from the beginning. So when we're planning our doc... When we're planning our units of work, we also need to take into account the increasing levels of historical enquiry. That is the basis of our pedagogy.

Historiography is now well and truly entrenched in the syllabuses. If you look at your outcomes, 11.7 and 12.7 clearly give us the information that we need about historiography. There is a move to a less Western, Eurocentric view of history. Students now have to mix geographic rules in modern history. There has to be one Asian topic and that list there is provided on page 14 for Year 12. And similarly in ancient history, there are rules relating and... relating to which topics can be studied. There must be a broad sub... broad... range of subjects chosen. OK, here we see a whole lot of documentation and information that's been produced by NESA. The Stronger HSC Standards Blueprint is the document that gives us our information about our assessment tasks. With the reduction in assessment tasks contained in this blueprint, there's now a need to relook at the assessment and ensure the tasks we're setting comply with these documents. Assessment tasks need to cater to the various learning styles to ensure that all students have the ability to show their strengths.

Assessment can enhance student engagement and motivation, particularly when it incorporates interactions with teachers, other students, and a range of resources. And that comes straight out of the Principles of Assessment for Stage 6 produced by NESA. Now, if that is what good assessment can do, the opposite is true for poorly constructed assessment. I want you to make sure that when you're planning your assessment, that assessment is not the driver of the learning. You'll see virtually in the middle of your screen the assessment and certification... sorry, Assessment Certification Examination (ACE) manual. That document will need and will be updated to reflect current practice. So if you're going to there as a reference, you'll need to also include lots of the other documentation. NESA is now going about updating all of its documents but it is a massive job.

To start with, for teachers planning Year 11 and Year 12 units of work, Principles of 'Assessment'... Assessment for Stage 6, the changes to Stage 6 assessment for 2018 and the Stronger HSC Standards Blueprint as well as the individual assessment reporting in modern history, ancient history or extension history, will be needed to be read before we can actually plan our units of work and our assessment. What's...what's changed, what's different? Well, Ancient history, there's seen a fair bit of... topics of some chain have gone from Year 12 back to Year 11, such as Mycenae - that's now taught in Year 11 only. We've seen Cleopatra being taken out of ancient history and put into Extension. There was a belief that ancient history had...had seen very little change. That's not necessarily the case. We've seen the inclusion of new case studies or areas to be studied in Asia, China, into ancient history. In Year 11, you have to pick one case study from the Near East, the Americas or Australia and one case study from the traditional Greece, Rome or Egypt. And there's an emphasis on the features of ancient society.

In modern history. modern history's seen a fair bit of change to it. Year 11, the shaping the modern world additions is looking at the nature, methods and issues that... of modern history as the focus. Year 12 sees a new core, Power and Authority in the Modern World 1919-1916. There is a requirement to study one non-European/Western topic throughout the Year 12. So they have to look at one Asian or Amer... South American or African option in Year 12. And really, for Year 12, that's an Asian topic. And real emphasis on post-World War II history, that change in the modern world. History extension. Key questions and case studies organised under constructing history. Areas of debate have reduced from five to three. Indicative hours have changed slightly for components. And the Source Book of Readings has been replaced with historiographical references. I said earlier HSC examination specifications are still to be released. Consultation closed on the 12 June.

Now, the mEsh project. Throughout mathematics, English, science and history, Department of Education has employed four project officers, of which I'm the one for history. Our role is to provide staff with assistance for teaching these subjects. Presently I have got 10 teams of writers producing a range of resources across ancient and modern history across Year 11 and across Year 12. The aim would be to have these released by the end of Term 3. Additionally, I'm in the office to answer questions relating to the implementation of the Stage 6 syllabus and the... guidelines reforms that go with it, the very NESA information. There'll be additional support provided through a rural and remote directorate for isolated rural and remote schools. That involves an additional project officer based out of the Tamworth directorate and one based out of the Wagga directorate to assist schools in those two areas with the planning, resourcing of their units. So, again, my name is Alex Glasgow. You can see there my email address. And together with Jenny Curtis, the HSIE advisor for 7-12. And Jenny's can be found in the directorate, or her email address is jennifer.m.curtis - that's C-U-R-T-I-S -@det.nsw.edu.au. And we're there to answer any of your questions and give you as much help as we can. And just before I go, the recording of today's Adobe Connect will be placed on the education.nsw.gov.au/curriculum website in the near future. And we do have three upcoming Adobe Connects on 15, 22 and 29 June, as you can see there. 15 June will be primarily scoping the ancient history course, 22 June will be modern history, followed by 29 June, and that will be the extension history. I look forward to... spending time with you guys then. And again, if you need any help, please email me or Jenny. Thank you for your time this afternoon.

End of transcript

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