‘Popular culture 1945 – present’: An overview of the program

Heading photo credit: Nic McPhee, 2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) – 30, available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license 


In this series of blog posts I will critique a Stage 5 unit of work developed by the History Teachers’ Association of Australia (HTAA), Popular culture 1945 – present.

The program, Popular culture 1945 – present, is available to download freely from the HTAA website. Its home page can be seen in Figure 1.

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Figure 1 – Home page of the program ‘Popular culture 1945 – present’ on the AC History Units website of the HTAA.


I will investigate this program of work through the application of a range of theories and concepts, and present my analysis and recommendations in three parts, addressing:

  • the inquiry approach of the program
  • the development of inquiry skills within the program
  • the way in which the program responds to the Australian curriculum

The Popular culture 1945 – present program was designed for Year 10 students. It was developed in response to the Australian Curriculum’s History syllabus for Year 10 Depth Study 3 – The Globalising World, Popular Culture (1945-present) and focuses on the role of Rock’n’Roll music after World War II in Australia’s popular culture.

The program is made up of six learning sequences. Through completion of these six sequences, students cover all nominated content for the syllabus unit (ACDSEH027, ACDSEH121, ACDSEH122, ACDSEH123 and ACDSEH149) and exercise all Historical Skills nominated by the Australian Curriculum for Year 10, except “use historical terms and concepts” (ACHHS183). There are no cross-curriculum priorities identified within the program.

The program has been packaged for teachers to use in the classroom and includes a program template (see sample in Figure 2), lesson template (see sample in Figure 3) and an assessment task for the unit (which includes marking guidelines, sample responses and marker comments.) There is a large amount of supporting resource material including information sheets, worksheets and links to websites. There is no differentiation within the activities under each Learning Sequence.

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Figure 2 – Sample from the Year 10 program template provided by the HTAA for the program



Figure 3.jpg
Figure 3- Sample from the Year 10 lesson template provided by the HTAA for the program.


The basic structure of the learning sequences is characterised by a mixture of class discussion and student research (typically research material is provided either as sections of text or as links to website) based on provided discussion questions, worksheets or research questions. Both the content of the students’ conclusions and the way in which they present these conclusions is set by the program.


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