Popularising History: Re-igniting pre-service teacher and student interest in history via historical fiction
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Copyright © 2014 Edith Cowan University. Reproduced with permission
This paper seeks to investigate the recent trends in the popularising of history and its impact on teaching and learning. History, as a subject area, has been the object of renewed focus from the media. In recent years there has been a steady increase in the amount of fiction, films, television shows, documentaries and children’s programs situated in or concerned with historical events, eras or historical figures. The use of historical fiction in the history classroom has been well debated and has polarised practitioners of the subject. Regardless of the profession being divided on its use, the number of historical novels published each year has increased. There is a popular groundswell of support amongst the public for historical novels, films and television programs and this requires teachers of history to re-evaluate their use in the classroom. In Australia, due to the implementation of The Australian Curriculum, there is a renewed focus on historical literacy. It is here that the historical novel may make a contribution to the history discipline. This paper seeks to explore these recent trends and situate them within the current climate of curriculum reform occurring in Australia. It also seeks to present the findings of a small pilot concerned with exploring the use of historical fiction in pre-service teacher education programs.
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