Clark, Anna: Teaching national narratives

Clark, Anna

Teaching national narratives and values in Australian schools‘, originally published, Agora (History Teachers Association of Victoria), 43, 1, 2008, pp. 4-9

Discusses the Howard Government’s education agenda, attitudes to it and the varying attitudes of students to the Anzac story, ranging from reverence to scepticism. Also notes the efforts of teachers to achieve balance in the treatment of Anzac. There are extensive notes. The author concludes:

The Anzac revival has clearly resonated with many students, and as they flock to honour Australia’s wartime past their growing commemoration of Simpson and other Anzac legends in the classroom needs to be accommodated. But it needs to be done so that their own understandings and values are expanded rather than limited to a simplistic or uncontested national narrative. As long as there is social and political pressure to define our national character, surely the best way for students to deal with contrasting ideas about Australian history and identity is to bring the discussion into the classroom. That way they can actually contribute to the debate itself. (p. 9)


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