On April 2 and 3, third year Education students from the University of New England (UNE) visited the local historical site Saumarez homestead. The fieldwork trip was designed to teach Primary Education students how to utilise rich local resources that will help them to teach history under the new Australian Curriculum.
The new Australian curriculum will gradually see each key learning area implement a new syllabus nationwide over the next few years and the social sciences will be taught as separate disciplines in contrast to the current integrated Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) syllabus. UNE is proactively leading the response to the changes by focusing on the relationship between students and local resources and actively looking at how learning at the site will help students meet the outcomes of the new curriculum.
“It is crucial for us to teach students both the current HSIE syllabus and new History and Geography syllabuses to ensure they are ready to implement the new syllabuses after they graduate. Having first-hand experience of fieldwork, the skills needed and how to put these into practice from both a learning and planning perspective should prove invaluable for our social science students in their future careers” commented School of Education lecturer, Madeline Fussell.
The Saumarez site which was established in the 1830s, includes a house, gardens and farming areas all of which remain largely untouched, providing students with an insight into family life, changes in technology and an understanding of the class structure of the time. The fieldwork trip will teach university students how to plan and programme a unit of study as they will simulate the role of primary students and learn firsthand the practicalities involved in leading a local excursion.
“We are extremely grateful to Saumarez for their assistance with this fieldwork and their enthusiasm in setting up an educational program for primary students that meets the requirements of the Australian Curriculum in history and geography” said School of Education lecturer, Kim Porter.
Les Davis, property manager, at Saumarez homestead said; “It is a wonderful opportunity to expose students to Saumarez House – the house, the gardens and farm so they are aware of the richness and diversity the areas offer for studies in history and geography. The partnership with UNE creates awareness that Saumarez exits and this can benefit students both personally and in their future careers.”
The fieldwork trip was also hailed a success by UNE’s education students who noted that the trip would have huge benefits for students, demonstrating clearly how to make teaching history a hands on experience.
For more information about Saumarez homestead please visit: http://www.nationaltrust.org.au/nsw/SaumarezHomestead