The price of autonomy: teaching and learning difficult history in a high-autonomy curriculum environment.
Event type: Seminars3 May 2017 from 5.30 pm - 6.30 pm
The Road Ahead Seminar Series
Presenter: Mark Sheehan
Faculty of Education, Victoria University of Wellington
How do young people learn the skills and dispositions of critical citizenship in a high-autonomy curriculum environment that does not prioritise historical knowledge or, require students to engage with difficult features in the past? While controversial issues are an essential feature of citizenship education in democratic societies, the New Zealand Curriculum (2007) does not prescribe historical knowledge. Teachers have the responsibility of choosing to engage young people with difficult history and while a number of innovative and intellectually confident teachers do so, they do not operate, as autonomous entities when it comes to curriculum making. Rather schools are self-managing and have considerable control over what is taught. To teach difficult history teachers need to be in a school community that largely shares their values and attitudes in regards to engaging young people with contested and difficult perspectives on the past. This presentation explores the implications of a high-autonomy curriculum model for addressing difficult history through submissions to the Maori Affairs select committee that heard a recent student-initiated petition that called for the colonial wars of the 19th century to be included in the curriculum and well as commemorated.
Dr Mark Sheehan (Victoria University: Faculty of Education) has been involved in history education matters for almost 40 years as a teacher, lecturer, researcher, museum educator, advisor and textbook writer. He teaches and conducts research on critical/historical thinking, memory/remembrance of the First World War and teacher education.