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PM urges history teaching overhaul -

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(generated from captions) The PM's call for an overhaul history is taught in schools of the way in which by leading historians, has been conditionally welcomed have to teach it in the classroom. but questioned by some of those who

John Howard wants school children of the events, to have a better grasp which shaped this country, the people and the dates arguing that students are at risk intellectual inheritance of missing out on their of themes and issues". by what he calls a "fragmented stew more traditional methods But will a return to rekindle interest among students? will be taught? And whose view of history Mick Bunworth reports.

I believe the time has also come

root and branch renewal of the I believe the time has also come for

teaching of Australian history in

our schools. Part of preparing

young Australians to be informed

active citizens is to teach them young Australians to be informed and

central currents of our nation's active citizens is to teach them the

development. In the end, young

people are at risk of being

disinherited from their community.

If that community lacks the courage

and confidence to teach its history.

Do you learn Australian history at

school? Not really, but anyway.

I never studied a great deal of school? Not really, but anyway...

history in primary school. We

learned about the Southern Cross,

the gold rush and all that, when

they fought. No-one can be in any

doubt about how seriously the PM

views the decline of Australian

history in schools. He affords the

problem the same language that took

Australia to war in Iraq. On the

question of history, look I would

like to enlist a coalition of the

willing, if I can use a phrase, a

coalition of the willing to bring

about a change in attitudes. I

he's saying that there are a lot of about a change in attitudes. I think

important events in Australian

history which should be taught.

Professor Ian Frazer is a potential

member of the PM's coalition of the

willing -- Professor Blainey.

A person who has reached 16 should

know how this country was settled

the British in 1788, should know know how this country was settled by

this became close to the most the British in 1788, should know how

democratic country in the world in

1901. There are basic things

students should have. Many of us

would agree we need to do more to

restore history, but we need to

sure that that is open to diverse restore history, but we need to make

viewpoints and it is not simply an

exercise in indoctrination.

Professor Stuart Macintyre is one

Australia's leading historians and Professor Stuart Macintyre is one of

dean of Melbourne University's fact

faculty of arts. He supports the

PM's call for a renaissance of

Australian history in schools, as

long as young minds are encouraged

to question the story of their

nation. I think the problem arises

in his assumption that that story

clear and accepted by everybody and in his assumption that that story is

all you have to do is make sure

young Australians learn it. The all you have to do is make sure that

learning of history is a discovery

of history. There is no fixed and

final version to be taught. Too

often, history has fallen victim in

an ever more crowded curriculum to

subjects deemed more relevant to

today. Too often it is taught

without any sense of structured

narrative, replaced by a fragmented

stew of themes and issues. I think

he really has underestimated

teachers in this respect. Like,

he's really sort of set toward this

very clear agenda in the way

should be taught and ultimately, I very clear agenda in the way history

think it reveals that he has really

no idea of what's going on in the

classroom. Victoria's history

teachers are also history of the PM

's criticism of rote learning

specific dates. It's fairly

inward-looking. It's almost

back to a time when you know, inward-looking. It's almost harking

learning in schools was about rote

learning and memorising dates and

that was the sort of the beginning

and the end of history teaching.

When I was taught history at

it was all about textbooks. There When I was taught history at schools

was one conclusion. Now database

history won't survive if we take

that kind of approach. Tim Gurry is

a former history teacher. He now

runs a production company with one

mission - to get kids interested in

history, and that's achieved by

replacing dusty old books with

slick, interactive multimedia

pregnancies. Scientists await

perfect -- presentations.

Well, if that's the case, why are

these signs here? History is like

being a detective. You develop a

range of skills in your study of

history, identifying a topic,

researching the information,

conclusions, going into the researching the information, drawing

community, finding more information,

opening the draws in your home,

investigating family memorabilia.

All of these skills are life skills

and if we're going to get kids to

passionate about history - and many and if we're going to get kids to be

of them are - we have to I think

take that particular approach.

Personalise it, help them to

investigate contentious issues

by investigating the history of investigate contentious issues today

their own lives and the history of

people overseas. And who knows, if

the PM continues to champion

Australian history, students may

day be better able to recall his Australian history, students may one

legacy. Do you know who