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Australian Journal of Teacher Education

Australian Journal of Teacher Education

DOI

10.14221/ajte.2019v44n8.1

Abstract

This article examines Australians at War: Primary Schools Education Resource and what it teaches students. This resource, for grades 4-6 students, has as its learning outcomes: knowledge of Australia’s involvement in various conflicts; students’ empathising with the experiences of war; the use of a variety of sources about war; engaging with people about war and their experiences of war; and reflecting on Australia’s wartime involvement in the development of identity and heritage. The article first locates the teaching approaches used in the resource within the research on history teaching and the political and public debates on what we should teach students about war. It then proceeds to examine Australians at War and its use of photographs, paintings and diaries to determine what is taught to students about war. The article exposes the difficulties and tensions inherent in teaching primary school students about armed conflict and the interest groups who want to shape what is taught. The article illustrates how Australians at War often presents a sanitised version of the horrors of war when compared to the realities portrayed on television and the internet.


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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.2019v44n8.1