Learning across the curriculum content, including the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities, assists students to achieve the broad learning outcomes defined in the NESA Statement of Equity Principles, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (December 2008) and in the Australian Government's Core Skills for Work Developmental Framework (2013).
Cross-curriculum priorities enable students to develop understanding about and address the contemporary issues they face.
The cross-curriculum priorities are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
- Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
General capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours to assist students to live and work successfully in the 21st century.
The general capabilities are:
- Critical and creative thinking
- Ethical understanding
- Information and communication technology capability
- Intercultural understanding
- Personal and social capability
NESA syllabuses include other areas identified as important learning for all students:
- Civics and citizenship
- Difference and diversity
- Work and enterprise
Learning across the curriculum content is incorporated, and identified by icons, in the content of the Modern History Life Skills Stage 6 Syllabus in the following ways.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
The study of Modern History includes the investigation of individuals and groups that have influenced movements for change, the progress towards recognition and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and the focus of continued efforts. In the study of Modern History this understanding may be deepened through the study of other Indigenous peoples and through exploration of their interaction with others.
When planning and programming content relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures teachers are encouraged to:
- involve local Aboriginal communities and/or appropriate knowledge holders in determining suitable resources, or to use Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander authored or endorsed publications
- read the Principles and Protocols relating to teaching and learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and the involvement of local Aboriginal communities.
Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
In Modern History, the study of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia can include the paths of development taken by Asian nations (and how they differ from the European experience), the distinctive and changing character of Asia, the growing influence of Asia in the world and how Australia’s engagement with Asia in the modern period has changed over time – culturally, economically and politically.
In Modern History, sustainability provides opportunities to study the effects of developments such as the Industrial Revolution on the environment, the anti-nuclear movement and movements for environmental sustainability in the modern period.
Critical and creative thinking
Critical and creative thinking is integral to the historical inquiry process. There are opportunities for students to consider the implications of any missing or questionable information in their investigation of historical topics. The process of historical inquiry provides opportunities for students to pose questions, select and cross-reference sources, and develop interpretations based on an assessment of the evidence available. Students can consider and reflect on alternative interpretations of the past.
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. In Modern History, students have opportunities both independently and collaboratively to explore the values, beliefs and principles that were the basis for the judgements and actions of people in the past.
Information and communication technology capability
Information and communication technology (ICT) capability is important in the study of Modern History, particularly in relation to historical investigation, analysis and communication. In Modern History, students use digital tools and strategies to locate, access and process information. They use ICT skills and understanding to engage with evidence and to communicate historical information. Students have opportunities to evaluate websites and online communication, and the interpretations and representations of the past they convey. This includes how and why such sites are constructed (for example, for ideological or political purposes, commemoration, preservation, education and scholarship), the audiences they serve, and the techniques they use. They can develop an understanding of the issues involved in the use of ICT when practising ethical scholarship as part of the historical inquiry process.
Intercultural understanding is an important part of historical learning in Modern History. Students explore the different beliefs and values of a range of cultural groups and can develop an appreciation of diversity in the modern period. They have opportunities to develop an understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of conflict, dispossession and interdependence. Students also have opportunities to 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.
Literacy is of fundamental importance in the study of Modern History. Students access historical content through a variety of print, oral, visual, spatial, aural and electronic forms, including letters, speeches, biographies, photographs, films, artefacts, sites and archived material. They learn about interpreting and extrapolating meaning from a variety of sources to identify evidence. They reflect on texts for authority, reliability, relevance and accuracy. Students have opportunities to create a wide range of texts to communicate, explore, discuss, explain and express their thoughts and ideas, supported by evidence. They are provided with opportunities to learn to monitor their own language for accuracy in the use of historical terms, clarity of ideas and explanations, conciseness of expression, and to articulate a position on an historical problem or issue.
Numeracy is valuable in the historical inquiry process, such as recognising patterns and relationships chronologically and spatially through the use of timelines and maps. Students have opportunities to investigate data, some of which is numerical in nature. They have opportunities to develop numeracy capability when they analyse and interpret statistical information to draw conclusions, for example in relation to change over time.
Personal and social capability
Personal and social capability is developed 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 can develop research and presentation skills to express and justify their views effectively to others. Through the study of individuals and groups in the past, students have opportunities to develop their ability to appreciate the perspectives and experiences of others. Students can develop social awareness through the study of relationships between individuals and groups in the modern world.
Civics and citizenship
In Modern History, students have the opportunity to study the development of political institutions across the world as part of their learning and research. They can learn about contested power and authority within and between nations, and develop increasing social and political awareness. This promotes students’ participation in Australia’s democracy by equipping them with the knowledge, understanding, skills, values and dispositions of active and informed citizenship.
Difference and diversity
Modern History is well placed to develop students' knowledge and understanding about the difference of various groups in the modern world. Students can learn to identify and appreciate the varying perspectives of individuals and groups over time and attempt to understand the actions, values, attitudes and motives of people from the past. This focus on difference and diversity provides students with the opportunity to explore similarities and differences between the past and the contemporary world. Such an approach enables students to investigate the circumstances of those whom society has marginalised because of their beliefs, gender, race and socioeconomic status.
Work and enterprise
In Modern History, there are opportunities to investigate living and working conditions in the past and how people's experiences were shaped by changing social, economic and technological developments. Students are provided with opportunities to learn about earlier generations' struggles for rights and freedoms to understand how their own rights and responsibilities in the contemporary workplace have been achieved.