History Teaching Masterclass: Every Student Can Analyse Visual Sources! [Access Code]

HTAV’s masterclass series brings you practising teachers and other experts sharing the things they really know about and/or have tested successfully in their setting.

This product is an access code for use on HTAV’s HistoryEDge on-demand content portal to provide access to the video recording.
No account is required for use.

Recording access expires 31 March 2025.


Item Code: 2205MCR Categories: ,

How can we teach students to analyse visual sources and use them effectively as evidence to support an historical argument? That is the premise of this masterclass which will provide teachers with strategies to help improve their students’ source analysis skills.  

HTAV’s masterclass series brings you practising teachers and other experts sharing the things they really know about and/or have tested successfully in their setting.  

Session 1: Caroline Foster, Melbourne Girls Grammar
This session will explore simple stepped-out practices for all types of visual analysis and include: 

  • exploring how to teach students to recognise common symbols and visual choices depending on the history context being taught 
  • writing about visual sources 
  • considering the nature, origin and purpose of visual sources 
  • how to engage students with more challenging sources and instil confidence in them to make judgements 
  • exploring the difference between primary and secondary visual sources. 

Caroline Foster has been teaching History since 2013 and has taught VCE Revolutions: France and America, along with VCE Classical Studies. Her great love is Early Medieval History, having completed a Master’s in Medieval History at the University of Oxford in 2017. She is passionate about the importance of teaching History through primary sources and, in particular, visual sources.

Session 2: Luke Cashman, Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School
Source analysis is the bedrock of History. Without sustained and structured analysis of the trace materials of past human activity, there can be no such thing as History. It is absolutely vital, then, for us to have a clear understanding of what source analysis is, and for us to be able to convey that clearly to our students (whether they are starting Year 7 or preparing for the VCAA examination at the end of Year 12).  

This session will focus on a structured approach to the analysis of historical cartoons and posters. Important skills such as observation, interpretation and contextualisation will be discussed. We will also consider the importance of determining the reliability and usefulness of sources. Finally, ideas will be presented on how our students can use sources as evidence to support their arguments in response to questions about the past. 

While the source material discussed will be relevant to particular studies, the aim is to present ideas and activities that can be applied in any History classroom. 


Luke Cashman is a teacher of VCE History at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School where he teaches Revolutions (France and Russia) and Ancient History (Greece and Rome). He has contributed to textbooks and written many articles for the HTAV journal Agora on a wide range of topics. Luke also speaks frequently at HTAV events for students and teachers. More recently, Luke was the head author for the new HTAV VCE Units 1 and 2 Modern History textbooks and wrote on many different areas of the history of the twentieth century.