Illusions of consensus: The development of the 1998 New South Wales mandatory secondary history syllabus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

This article analyses the relationship between the perspectives of stakeholders involved in the development of the 1998 New South Wales Stages 4-5 History syllabus. It examined four key issues that emerged in the debates about history education during the review and found that stakeholders’ views diverged significantly on three of these issues. While loose coalitions formed around particular issues, stakeholders provided different rationales for their positions, and coalitions re-formed on other debates. The analysis highlights the divergence between stakeholders, and between the Australian Commonwealth and State governments and stakeholders, on the desirable content and goals of history education. The findings indicate that consultation might not produce consensus, and that even the appearance of consensus can be grounded in substantively and philosophically different premises. In practical terms, the findings suggest that if the purpose of consultation is to produce a syllabus that reflects the diverse perspectives held by stakeholders, then the syllabus structure needs to make provision for content options as well as common core areas of study. Copyright © 2006 James Nicholas Publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-19
JournalEducational Practice and Theory
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Citation

Simpon, I., & Halse, C. (2006). Illusions of consensus: The development of the 1998 New South Wales mandatory secondary history syllabus. Educational Practice and Theory, 28(1), 5-19.

Keywords

  • New South Wales
  • History
  • Qualitative research
  • Secondary schooling
  • Syllabus design

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