VELS

Level 2

Strand: Discipline-based learning
Domain: The Humanities
Learning Focus: [Students] begin to grasp the role and importance of the various cultural groups that make up the Australian community, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They explore what their local area might have looked like before European settlement.
Key elements of the standards: No standards at Level 2

Strand: Physical, personal and social learning
Domain: Civics and Citizenship
Learning Focus: [Students] begin to appreciate the similarities and differences between individuals and groups, including the language, cultural and religious groups which make up the Australian nation.
Key elements of the standards: No standards at Level 2

 

Level 3

Strand: Discipline-based learning
Domain: The Humanities
Learning Focus: [Students] examine stories, artefacts and other evidence from the past and present to learn about Australian society and its origins…They examine the histories of the cultural groups represented in their classroom, community and nation. Students consider … features of their local community that have changed over time.
Key elements of the standards: Humanities knowledge and understanding: Students describe and sequence some key events … and key aspects of histories of cultural groups that make up their class, community and nation. They describe how aspects of places in the local area have changed over time.

Strand: Physical, personal and social learning
Domain: Civics and Citizenship
Learning Focus: [Students] build on their understanding of Australian society and investigate some of the different cultural groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that make up the Australian community. They learn about the contributions that people from diverse groups have made to many aspects of the Australian way of life. This includes contributions to the arts, industry, medicine and science, as well as to other aspects of their life including food, festivals and sporting events. They explore symbols and celebrations of Australia’s and Victoria’s past and present; [including] for example, the Indigenous flag.
Key elements of the standards: Civic knowledge and understanding: Students demonstrate understanding of the contribution of people from the many culturally diverse groups that make up the Australian community.

 

Level 4

Strand: Discipline-based learning
Domain: History
Learning Focus:
[Students] learn about the organisation and lifestyle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the past, the impact of European settlement and as enduring cultures today. They learn about the significance of key events [and] people in Australia’s history (for example, William Barak) that have brought about change. Through structured activities they explore links and comparisons with contemporary Australia.
Key elements of the standards:
Historical knowledge and understanding: Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of significant events in Australian history including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history … They make links and appropriate comparisons with contemporary Australia.

(Years 5 & 6)

Strand: Discipline-based learning
Domain: Geography
Learning Focus:
Students explore how humans have affected the Australian environment. Examples could include: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities’ care of the land; clearance by farmers and subsequent problems of land degradation and salinity; and protection of the natural environment through the creation of nature parks, national parks and marine parks.
Key elements of the standards:
Geographical knowledge and understanding [Students] compare the various ways humans have used and affected the Australian environment.

Strand: Physical, personal and social learning
Domain: Civics and Citizenship
Learning Focus:
[Students] consider the effects of Australian federation on the democratic rights of different groups of people such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, women and non-British migrants.
They consider the experiences of diverse cultural groups, including Indigenous communities, and their contributions to Australian identity. They consider the values important in a multicultural society such as respect and tolerance.
Key elements of the standards:
Civic knowledge and understanding: … students describe the nature of Australia’s democracy that developed as a result of Federation … They explain the concept of multiculturalism and describe the contribution of various cultural groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to Australian identity.

 

Level 5

(Years 7& 8)

Strand: Discipline-based learning
Domain: Geography
Learning Focus:
[Students] identify patterns of distribution and occurrence of major physical features and their interrelationship with human activities such as farming, fishing, manufacturing and settlement. Students become aware of contrasts within the regions of Australia and those surrounding it … They develop an appreciation of differences in the culture, living conditions and outlooks of people, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in these areas.
Key elements of the standards:
Geographical knowledge and understanding: [Students] explain, using examples, how the interaction of physical processes and human activities create variations within the regions … Students describe differences in culture, living conditions and outlook, including attitudes to environmental issues, in these regions.

Strand: Physical, Personal and Social Learning
Domain: Civics and Citizenship
Learning Focus:
Students learn about significant milestones in the development of Australian law, governance and rights … They consider examples of the fight for political rights [including] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and the vote for women.
Key elements of the standards:
Civic knowledge and understanding: They identify significant developments in the governance and achievement of political rights in Australia.

 

Level 6

Strand: Discipline-based learning
Domain: History
Learning Focus:
Students examine the impact of European colonisation of Australia, including the representation of that settlement as invasion. They learn about the struggles and successes of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to gain political and social rights, and their campaigns for land rights and self-determination.
They investigate the contribution of significant Australians such as … Charles Perkins.
Students analyse significant events and movements which have resulted in improvements in civil and political rights for groups of Australians and describe the contributions of key participants and leaders in these events.
Key elements of the standards:
Historical knowledge and understanding: Students evaluate the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the fight for civil and political rights and land rights … They compare different perspectives about a significant event and make links between historical and contemporary issues.

Strand: Physical, Personal and Social Learning
Domain: Civics and Citizenship
Learning Focus:
[Students] investigate some historical and contemporary issues, such as … Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recognition in the Australian Constitution.
They explore human rights issues at the national and international level, including an investigation of the human rights of Indigenous communities and other groups within Australia …
Students explore Australia’s multicultural society. They learn about the past and present policies of government in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and immigration.
Key elements of the standards:
Civic knowledge and understanding: [S]tudents describe the origins and nature of Australia’s federal political system and present a considered point of view on an issue about change in the political system and the law. They explain how the Australian Constitution affects their lives, and human rights issues, both national and international.

 

The 1967 Referendum

The 1967 Referendum Sample Unit - Level 6

On May 27 1967, Australians voted overwhelmingly to change the Australian Constitution. Provisions which excluded Aborigines from being counted in the census and which prevented the Federal Government from making laws for Aborigines were removed from the Australian Constitution. The ‘Yes’ vote of 90.77 per cent remains a record in the history of Australian referendums.

The 1967 Referendum is extremely significant to Indigenous Australians. It symbolised the end of formal discrimination against Aborigines and the promise of full and equal citizenship. The overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote also signalled that white Australians were ready to embrace social and political reform and expected that the Federal Government would take the lead.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum the VCAA, with the support of the History Teachers Association of Victoria (HTAV) and Social Education Victoria (SEV), has published an online unit of work on the 1967 Referendum.

The 1967 Referendum sample unit features:

  • a background essay for teachers which provides an historical context as well as civic information on the Australian Constitution and referendum processes
  • a timeline of key events in the achievement of civil and political rights
  • a glossary of key terms
  • teaching and learning activities with downloadable student resources
  • student handouts featuring primary sources from the period
  • a resource list for the 1967 Referendum and a range of other Indigenous topics
  • suggestions for further activities
  • assessment advice

The unit links primarily to the domains of History (Level 6), Civics and Citizenship (Levels 5 and 6), Thinking Processes (Levels 5 and 6) and Communication (Levels 5 and 6).