Conceptual Thinking in the Humanities Classroom

By: Malcolm Mc Inerney  

This workshop explores the distinction between the so called "vocabulary" of subjects such as history, geography, economics, and civics and the "grammar" of these humanities subjects. A conversation is required to explore the idea that the most important aspect of humanities education is the development of conceptual thinking rather than just learning content and skills. The concepts developed in the Humanities curriculum in the new Australian Curriculum provide a conceptual lens for teachers and students to make sense of their world and to think in a particular way in the Humanities classroom. The workshop will initially demonstrate the nature of the concepts in the Australian Humanities Curriculum and provide practical illustrations that can be used in the classroom. The majority of the workshop will involve participants in a simulation activity developed to demonstrate how student conceptual thinking can be encouraged and developed when studying the myriad of topics encountered in the humanities curriculum. Considerable professional learning is being conducted in Australia using this workshop simulation to move teachers beyond the "vocabulary" of humanities and to use conceptual thinking to develop a high degree of "meaning making" when studying humanities in the classroom.

"Concepts", " Humanities", " Classroom", " Curriculum"
Humanities Education
Workshop Presentation

Malcolm Mc Inerney

Teaching Academic, Education, University of South Australia , Australia
-, Australia

Malcolm McInerney has worked as a teacher, coordinator, jurisdiction curriculum manager in the South Australian education scene since 1976 and worked at all levels of education in Australia. He was a member of the ACARA Advisory Panel for the development of the Australian Curriculum: Geography and has supported teachers through the development of resources and the provision of professional learning as Curriculum Manager in the South Australian Department for Education. Malcolm has made a major contribution to the teaching profession through his leadership roles in professional associations. He has been the President of the Australian Geography Teachers Association and the founding President of the Australian Alliance of Associations in Education ( Malcolm is presently working as the Humanities and Social Sciences Teaching Academic at the University of South Australia.