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NSW Syllabuses

Rationale

The study of Modern History engages students in an investigation of the forces that have shaped the world, based on the analysis and interpretation of sources. It offers students the opportunity to investigate the possible motivations and actions of individuals and groups, and how they have shaped the world politically, culturally, economically and socially. Modern History stimulates students’ curiosity and imagination, and enriches their appreciation of humanity by introducing them to a range of historical developments and experiences that have defined the modern world.

Modern History enables students to trace the historical background of contemporary issues and to explore the significance of individuals, events and ideas. It equips students with knowledge, understanding and skills to help them examine and make sense of the world around them.

The study of Modern History requires students to understand and use historical concepts and apply skills in their investigation of people, ideas, movements, events and developments of the modern world within personal, local, national, regional and global contexts. Students are introduced to the complexities associated with the changing nature of sources, their expanding quantity, range and form, and the distinctive characteristics of modern historical representation. Students are encouraged to interpret sources for evidence, establish which evidence is relevant to an inquiry, and use evidence to construct and analyse historical accounts.

Modern History provides students with opportunities to explore their interest and curiosity about people and events that have had a significant impact on the modern world. It provides insight into the possible motivations and role of individuals and groups, as well as the origin and impact of ideas and developments that have transformed societies. It enables students to acquire knowledge and to understand how knowledge is constructed. Modern History provides opportunities for students to explore historical problems, to pose questions and to consider problems of evidence, causation and historical agency as part of the historical inquiry process, using the information technology available to them.

Students develop transferable skills associated with the process of historical inquiry and the interplay of historical evidence and argument. These include critical literacy skills, for example interpreting, analysing and weighing evidence; synthesising evidence from a variety of sources; and developing reasoned and evidence-based arguments. Students develop increasingly sophisticated historiographical skills and historical understanding, from the close study of people and events to the analysis and interpretation of broader developments that have shaped the modern world.

The knowledge, understanding and skills that students acquire through studying Modern History provide a firm foundation for further study, the world of work, active and informed citizenship, and for lifelong learning. It fosters a critical approach to understanding events, issues and interpretations as well as the effective communication of accounts conveying ideas, judgements and evidence.