Agora 2022-1 Knowledge v Skills

Non-members can purchase print and digital issues from the HTAV Shop.

Knowledge v Skills | Agora vol. 57 no. 1 (2022)

Knowledge v Skills

Agora vol. 57 no. 1 (2022)

Download complete issue


Reflection Bianca Crawford

Editorial Guy Nolch

Reflections on the theme
Four Approaches to the Knowledge Versus Skills Problem in the Teaching of History
Robert John Parkes, School of Education, The University of Newcastle
The degree of focus on knowledge or skills in History teaching can lead students to accept or question a single account of the past, or even leave multiple accounts in contention.
Reflections on The Big Six
Tom Morton, Co-author, The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts
Reflecting on the influence of The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts on History teaching, its co-author believes they can be made more powerful by connecting them to narratives that support the teaching of three controversial issues.
Skills v Content: A False Dichotomy?
Ben Lawless, Lawless Learning and Matilda Education
Knowledge lacks significant meaning without the accompanying skill base to interpret it.
The Power of Knowledge
Ashley Keith Pratt, Melbourne Girls Grammar
The argument that knowledge is merely a delivery mechanism for skills misunderstands the crucial role that knowledge plays in developing student understanding of their world, and in creating a coherent and sequenced curriculum.
From Historical Thinking Concepts to Historical Thinking Skills
Elisa A. Litvin, Assumption College Kilmore
The historical thinking concepts that underpin Victoria’s History Curriculum teach students to use the same habits of mind that historians use in their own practice.
Focusing on Knowledge or Skills Is a Question of Cognitive Load
James Sach, Goulburn Valley Grammar School
Knowledge committed to long-term memory frees up the working memory available to apply that knowledge.
Curriculum Choice and Planning for Student Agency
Tom Hopwood, Lalor Secondary College
Student agency is the measurement of how much student learning is ‘theirs’ rather than ‘given to them’. This demands careful, thoughtful and controlled deployment of subject content.
Historical Knowledge and Skills Underpin Democratic Citizenship in a Diverse Classroom
Nyree Wilson, Dandenong High School
The Victorian History Curriculum can provide students with the skills and knowledge required to support a thriving democracy by considering multiple points of view.
Gathering Knowledge and Interpreting Sources to Write Historical Fiction
Alli Sinclair, Author, The Codebreakers
Like historians, writers of historical fiction apply historical thinking and research skills to delve into the past before packaging their knowledge for a broad readership.
Careers in History resources
These resources highlight the key skills that students develop when they study History, as well as the career pathways they can pursue.

HTAV acknowledges the support of the Victoria Government and the Department of Education and Training.

Teaching ideas
How to Hook Students Who Are Hostile to History
Ralph Jackman, Parkville College
By focusing on the many ways we use historical skills, disengaged students can see how history touches everything from their daily interactions to their highest aspirations.
The Writing Revolution in the History Classroom
Gordon Brown, University High School
Some simple writing tasks can enable students to express complex historical thinking.
Acronyms that Build Confidence with Source Analysis
Katrina Davey, St Catherine’s School
The use of acronyms can reduce student concerns about analysing sources and bring a uniform approach to teaching historical skills.
Juggling Historical Knowledge and Skills in the Primary Classroom
Karen Rogers, Ringwood Heights Primary School
The curriculum directs primary teachers of History to incorporate knowledge, skills, capabilities and cross-curricular priorities in their classroom practice. Four exercises that elicit different types of thinking can help you implement these requirements.
Applying the Skills and Knowledge of the Museum to the History Classroom
Jodie Smith, John Monash Science School
Sharing how history is practised in museums can help students understand how historical knowledge is shaped and changes, see the complexity of primary sources, and establish significance.

Research and analysis
Breaking through the Dichotomy between Historical Knowledge and Skills
Paul Kiem, University of Sydney
We are overdue for an evaluation of what has been achieved by an unbalanced focus on skills.

Events Calendar

Sponsors & partners

  • National History Challenge - Sponsor Logo
  • web2_adobe_corporate_horizontal_lockup_black_hex.png
  • Education Victoria - Sponsor Logo

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians and Traditional Custodians of the lands where we live, learn and work. The HTAV Office is located on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. These lands were never ceded. We pay our respect to their ancestors and Elders, past and present.

Please note: Members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities should be aware that the HTAV website may include images or names of people now deceased.