Social studies in Victorian technical schools, 1938-1974
AuthorEdwards, Kenneth J.
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
Master of Education
This thesis investigates the changes which have occurred in social studies in Victorian Technical Schools from 1938 to 1974. Social studies first appeared in Victoria when it was introduced into Preston Technical School during 1938. By the early 1940s social studies was starting to replace history and geography in most Victorian Technical Schools. Its status was low, and its course of study was usually reserved for those technical students who were labelled as under-achievers who would probably not progress beyond forms 3 or 4. The boys were relegated into the trades, while the girls headed for domestic courses. The teaching of social studies during the 1950s was undertaken by many teachers who had escaped from teaching subjects traditionally associated with an academic discipline, and by teachers who were unqualified. This situation remained virtually unchanged up until 1967. The whole "aura" of social studies and its curriculum went through something of a renaissance, which had its birth in 1967 at Burwood, Victoria, at the U.N.E.S.C.O. Seminar on the "Teaching of the Social Sciences at the Secondary Level". Immediately following the Burwood Seminar, the Victorian Advisory Committee on the Teaching of Social Science in Secondary Schools was established. In 1968 the Technical Schools Division set up a Standing Committee on Technical Schools Social Studies (SCOTSSS), and in the same year curricula autonomy was devolved, and the Director-General of Education in Victoria gave all schools in the state the right to determine their own curriculum. The Victorian Secondary Social Science Project (SSSP) was established in 1971 under the jurisdiction of the Victorian Advisory Committee, while the National Committee on Social Science Teaching (NCSST) held its first meeting in November 1971. In 1972 the Victorian Association of Social Studies Teachers (VASST) created a regular journal, Study of Society. Other key factors which have helped in the development of social studies have been the direct financial assistance from federal sources, overseas influence on social studies/ science teaching, a. rapid upsurge of student teachers completing social studies method courses, and a unique body of curriculum personnel working outside the Education Department. All of the above factors were instrumental in the re-birth of the subject of social studies in Victoria's Technical Schools since 1967.
KeywordsHistory; Social sciences; Study and teaching (Secondary); Technical education; Victoria
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