The seven general capabilities of Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding, and Intercultural understanding are identified where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning. Teachers will find opportunities to incorporate explicit teaching of the capabilities depending on their choice of learning activities.
Literacy is of fundamental importance in the study of Modern History. Students access historical content through a variety of print, oral, visual, spatial and electronic forms, including letters, speeches, biographies, photographs, films, artefacts, sites and archived material. They learn to interpret and extrapolate meaning from a variety of sources to identify evidence. They analyse and evaluate texts for authority, reliability, relevance and accuracy. Students have opportunities to create a wide range of texts to communicate, explore, discuss, explain and argue a point of view, selecting and employing text structure and language knowledge to express their thoughts and ideas logically and fluently, supported by evidence. They learn to monitor their own language use for accuracy in the use of historical terms, clarity of ideas and explanations, conciseness of expression and use language effectively to articulate a position.
Numeracy is useful in the historical inquiry process, which requires students to recognise patterns and relationships chronologically and spatially through the use of scaled timelines and maps. Students have opportunities to support their views with data, some of which is numerical in nature. They develop numeracy capability when they analyse, interpret and draw conclusions from statistical information, for example in relation to change over time.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability is important in the inquiry process, particularly in relation to investigation, analysis and communication. Students use digital tools and strategies to locate, access, process and analyse information. They use ICT skills and understandings to investigate and identify the provenance and credibility of evidence and to communicate historical information. Students have opportunities to scrutinise websites and the interpretations and representations of the past they convey, including how and why such sites are constructed, the audiences they serve and their goals in, for example, commemoration, preservation, education, scholarship. They develop an understanding of the issues involved in the use of ICT when practising ethical scholarship as part of the historical inquiry process.
Critical and creative thinking is integral to the historical inquiry process. There are opportunities for students to delve deeply and broadly into the implications of any missing or questionable information in their investigation of historical topics. The demands of historical inquiry include the ability to pose intelligent questions, interrogate, select and cross-reference sources, and develop interpretations based on an assessment of the evidence and reasoning. Students identify possible weaknesses in their own positions, and analyse, evaluate and synthesise alternative interpretations and representations of the past.
Personal and social capability skills are developed and practiced in Modern History by students enhancing their communication skills and participating in teamwork. Students have opportunities to work both collaboratively in teams and also independently as part of their learning and research in Modern history. Students develop advanced research, and presentation skills to express and justify their views effectively to others.Through the study of individuals and groups in the past and their source work in particular, students develop their ability to appreciate the perspectives and experiences of others through the practise of empathy. Students develop increasing social awareness through the study of relationships between individuals and diverse social groups in the modern world.
Ethical understanding provides opportunities for students to explore and understand the diverse perspectives and circumstances that shaped the actions and possible motivations of people in the past compared with those of today. Students have opportunities both independently and collaboratively to explore the values, beliefs and principles that were the basis for the judgments and actions of people in the past.
Intercultural understanding is a vital part of historical learning in Modern History. Students explore the different beliefs and values of a range of cultural groups and develop an appreciation of the diversity in the modern period. They have opportunities to develop an understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of conflict, dispossession and interdependence. Students develop an understanding of different contemporary perspectives, the historical contexts for those perspectives, their historical influence on the relationships between different groups within society, and how they contribute to individual and group actions in the contemporary world..
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