History is a disciplined process of inquiry into the past that develops students’ curiosity and imagination. Awareness of history is an essential characteristic of any society, and historical knowledge is fundamental to understanding ourselves and others. History promotes the understanding of societies, events, movements and developments that have shaped humanity from earliest times. It helps students appreciate how the world and its people have changed, as well as the significant continuities that exist to the present day. History, as a discipline, has its own methods and procedures which make it different from other ways of understanding human experience. The study of history is based on evidence derived from remains of the past. It is interpretative by nature, promotes debate and encourages thinking about human values, including present and future challenges. The process of historical inquiry develops transferable skills such as the ability to ask relevant questions; critically analyse and interpret sources; consider context; respect and explain different perspectives; develop and substantiate interpretations, and communicate effectively.
The 7–10 curriculum generally takes a world history approach within which the history of Australia is taught. It does this to equip students for the world (local, regional and global) in which they live. An understanding of world history enhances students’ appreciation of Australian history. It enables them to develop an understanding of the past and present experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, their identities and the continuing value of their cultures. It also helps students to appreciate Australia’s distinctive path of social, economic and political development, its position in the Asia and Pacific regions, and its global interrelationships. This knowledge and understanding is essential for informed and active participation in Australia’s diverse society and in creating rewarding personal and collective futures.