Agora (2023/Issue 1) – Teaching Primary History

Agora (2023/Issue I) – Teaching Primary History

Agora is a journal of curated professional reading for History teachers. This digital download of the latest edition explores some of the strategies involved in teaching History in primary schools, as well as activities you can use with your students. Articles discuss:

  • how to map out specific knowledge in a structured way that allows students to make connections and develop historical concepts
  • visible thinking routines you can use to teach History in the classroom
  • how to focus on historical concepts and skills within an integrated Humanities unit
  • how to avoid tokenism, cultural appropriation and trauma associated with teaching the Stolen Generations
  • inquiry-based approaches to teaching History in primary school
  • teaching strategies that encourage primary students to think like historians
  • how students can make connections between Dreamtime stories and archaeological evidence
  • how students can use the Minecraft Education Edition to explore Melbourne’s history
  • archaeological content as a multidisciplinary teaching tool.

Print copies of Agora are available by annual subscription.



About this item






Reflection | Ashley Keith Pratt
Editorial | Guy Nolch


THEMA | Reflections on the theme

Creating a Knowledge-Rich Curriculum at Primary Level | Dan Oliver and Brad Nguyen, Docklands Primary School
A knowledge-rich approach to the primary curriculum maps out the specific knowledge to be taught in a structured, cumulative way that allows students to make connections and develop an understanding of historical concepts.

What Primary School Teachers Want Secondary School Teachers to Know about Teaching Humanities | Claire Ferguson, Dandenong Primary School
As the primary school curriculum varies not only across the states but within schools, children are entering the high school education system with varying depths of knowledge.

Visible Thinking in Primary History Education | David Boon, Albuera Street Primary School and Department for Education, Children and Young People
Visible thinking routines help students actively process information and documents that thinking across a range of learning areas.

Historical Concepts and Skills in the Primary Curriculum | Greta Caruso, Bialik College
While Integrated units of work in the primary school connect disciplines, the Victorian Curriculum’s Historical Concepts and Skills can be weakened or neglected.

Cultivating Historical Understanding through Place | Clarice Lisle, Independent researcher
The local community offers places that help students make meaningful connections to curriculum content.

Graduate Teacher Perspectives on Authentically Implementing History within the Primary Classroom | Ari Gurr and Estelle Major, Department of Education
Two graduate teachers describe the challenges and successes of their first three years teaching primary History, and identify areas for further professional development.

Teaching the Stolen Generations in the Primary Classroom | Al Fricker, Dja Dja Wurrung, Nikeri Institute, Deakin University
Concerns about tokenism, cultural appropriation and trauma associated with teaching the Stolen Generations can be minimised by paying attention to consistency and authenticity.

INTERVIEW | Talking about teaching

The Power of Inquiry to Teach History in Primary Schools
Educational consultant Kath Murdoch discusses inquiry-based approaches to teaching History in primary school with HTAV’s Executive Officer Deb Hull.

PRAKTIKOS | Teaching Ideas
Primary Teaching Strategies from Pre-service Practice | Selena Prior, Federation University
Pre-service teachers provide twelve strategies that provide engaging and authentic learning experiences, and encourage primary students to think like historians.

A Relatable History: Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Education Act 1872 in Victoria | Robyn Floyd, Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne & Jo Clyne, History Teachers’ Association of Victoria
The history of your primary school is a topic enabling students to interrogate their local history while addressing the requirements of the Victorian Curriculum for History in levels F–6.

High Engagement History in the Upper Primary Classroom | Nick Adeney, Tintern Grammar
Strategies to teach an engaging History curriculum in the upper primary years include role-playing activities and thinking beyond the model of ‘one topic per term’.

Teaching Primary Students about Ancient Australia and the Dreaming | Diana Millar, Author and former teacher
Primary students can have a deeper understanding of Australia’s ancient history by making connections between Dreamtime stories and archaeological evidence.

Ladies in the House: Exploring Historic Trailblazing Women | Kelly Chase, Educator and creator of the History Detective podcast & Stephanie Smith, Learning Manager, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House
A podcast aligned to Victoria’s primary curriculum prompts students to explore the impacts of some extraordinary women throughout Australia’s political history.

Minecraft Brings History to Life in the Primary Curriculum | Bron Stuckey & Stephen Brown, Department of Education, State of Victoria
A ‘Mini Melbourne’ module and an archaeological exploration of the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel are just two ways students can use the Minecraft: Education Edition to explore Melbourne’s history.


SUNGRAPHO | Research and analysis

Archaeological Thinking in Victorian Primary History Programs | Aisling Beale, Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University & Georgia Stannard, National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
A recent study has examined how Victorian primary teachers can be better supported to access archaeological content as a multidisciplinary teaching tool.