Tiwi to Todd

Term 4, 2018

President's Message


Critical Consumers

"I like history but I can teach myself." So sayeth a Year 11 student to me as he withdrew from Stage 1 history. He really liked history, but felt he could learn all he wanted in Wikipedia articles and YouTube videos. I'm not convinced this is an isolated view. I'm frequently impressed with the knowledge some of my students possess on the minutiae of historical events. On International Women's Day this year I threw out the program for a lesson on influential women in history and one student impressed with her extraordinary knowledge of Eleanor of Aquitaine. A look at the Crusades had another tell me intricacies of the Battle of Hattin. How do you know all this, I ask? YouTube is the reply.

And YouTube is awash with great content (no doubt much of it falling afoul of copyright law). I've found documentaries from the BBC and the History Channel that filled a 20 minute slot on a Friday afternoon. But as an experienced educator I am at an advantage when scrolling through the content in YouTube - my background knowledge is good and my critical thinking skills fine-tuned. This cannot be said for everyone, particularly impressionable teens.


While the extensive moderation processes for Wikipedia results in a level of accuracy many print encyclopedia would be proud of, the same cannot be said of YouTube. I've written previously about the pervasiveness of hate speech and historical inaccuracies on the holocaust (you can find a link to this article later in the newsletter) and there are many conspiratorial videos disguised as educational, such as selections from the Strange Mysteries channel. Others are less conspiratorial, but nevertheless can contain a strong political bias, such as Prager University (which isn’t actually a university).

What this means is that the study of history – and the humanities and social sciences more broadly - is more imperative than ever. We need to help students to critically think about the information they are finding and consuming so they are better able to separate genuine education from hidden political or social influence. In our information age with a prevalence of ‘fake news’ and viral echo chambers, our role as educators is as essential as ever.

As the year draws to a quick close I'd like to send everyone all the best for the rest of the term. On behalf of all here at GHTANT, I wish you happy and safe holidays.


Steve Hawkins, GHTANT President.

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New Facebook Page

We have created a new Facebook page for our members.

Please search for Northern Territory Geography and History Teachers and ask to join.

This improved closed group site has more functions for us to share resources and ideas.

Please join soon as the old Facebook page (GHTANT) will soon be defunct.

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National History Challenge Winners

The national judging of the 2018 National History Challenge has been completed and GHTANT is pleased to announce the following Northern Territory winners.

Year 9 and NT Young Historian – Aydar Zarifullin

Aydar’s presentation looked at how the aftermath of WWI was a turning point for many countries. He focused on the Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the destruction of France and the rise of Nazism in Germany.

Adyar’s entry so impressed the judges that he was named NT young Historian of the Year.

Year 8 and the Democracy Special Category - Samuel Oliver

Samuel submitted an individual research essay focusing on the role played by the Magna Carta in limiting the power of the King and introducing the fundamental principles of our political and legal system.

Museum Exhibit Special Category – Francesca Pandini and Matilda Colling

Francesca and Matilda’s model looked at the turning points and advances in medicine and medical care which came about as a result of WWI.

What is the National History Challenge?

The National History Challenge is an inquiry based competition open to all levels of schooling. Entries can be submitted in a number of formats as long as they address the theme. This year’s theme, ”Turning Points”, provided entrants with a lot of scope. It also provided teachers with the opportunity to incorporate the challenge into their programs. Hence the students can use their entry as one of their assessment tasks. The competition is divided into Year Level and Special Categories, with students able to enter in both.

However, despite the flexible and assessment friendly nature of the National History Challenge not many schools in the Northern Territory participate. As a result students miss out on the opportunity to receive prizes for work they are already doing. Of 16 NT schools registered, only two submitted entries. To address this and to encourage teachers to embrace the Challenge as part of their teaching and learning programs, GHTANT will be running some workshops early next year. Once the 2019 theme is announced packages will be developed for each year level suggesting how teachers can combine the competition with their assessment.

More information about the National History Challenge can be found on the website: http://historychallenge.org.au/ or you can email the NT Coordinator, Loraine Caldwell: nt@historychallenge.org.au

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Membership Up-to-date?

Your yearly GHTANT membership entitles you to:


  • a range of national standard Professional Learning opportunities.
  • access an experienced support network of teachers.
  • apply for sponsorship to attend interstate conferences.
  • Reduced entry to The Festival of Teaching.
  • four copies of 'Tiwi To Todd' newsletter
  • support and administration of relevant competitions.
  • a place to seek advice, support and ideas.


To check if your membership is current, email julie.hearnden@ntschools.net .

Membership forms can be found on the front page of the GHTANT website.

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Medieval History in the Senior Years

Back when I first began teaching in the mid-1990s the range of history courses available from SSABSA (now the SACE Board) was extensive. Modern History courses were divided into Europe, Asia, the United States and a Generic World history, along with the exam-free Historical Studies options for Australian, Ancient and Contemporary World History. We also had Australian History as a distinct subject, as well as Ancient History (entirely separate from Classics). The last subject to round out the list was Medieval History, which was soon to move into the historical archives of the SACE Board. Today, Modern History courses allow for topic selection from around the world, and Ancient Studies is still thriving. But Medieval History? There’s nothing for it in the senior curriculum – or at least nothing discreet.

My school – Casuarina Senior College – decided to play around with Medieval History in the senior years, based on student interest. Ancient Studies and Modern were both doing well, so we decided to explore the option of Medieval History. But how? It was clear a look at the flexible SACE subjects was needed, and we ultimately opted for Stage 1 Cross Disciplinary Studies after advice from the SACE Board. Cross-Disciplinary Studies requires us to select the applicable elements from Ancient Studies and Modern History in order to build a new course. We took the emphases of archaeological evidence, values and beliefs and the continuing impacts of the ancient world from Ancient Studies, and tied it in with the emphases of internal and external forces and short and long-term impacts of events from Modern History. The result has been an interesting look at events from the Medieval period that impact on us today, including the Crusades, religious schisms and cultural and technological advancements.

As it’s the first year, the course has not been without teething problems – most medieval resources are pitched to the Australian Curriculum – but it has been a fantastic way for interested students to explore this period of our history in greater depth and detail. At this stage we don’t foresee a Stage 2 pathway – Cross-Disciplinary Studies at Stage 2 is just a bit too uncertain!

For those interested, I have attached a copy of our Learning and Assessment Plan.

Steve Hawkins

Some Serious Geography By the Beach!

AGTA invite you to join us on the Gold Coast between 1st and 4th October 2019 for their biennial conference.The conference theme is 'The Innovative Geographer'.

The conference program will provide opportunities for teachers from across Australia to share and reflect on their own innovations in the Geography classroom. The social activities, including Welcome Drinks, and the Conference Dinner will provide an ideal opportunity to network with fellow geographers from across the country. We are incredibly excited to announce that Anna Rosling Rönnlund, co-founder of Gapminder, founder of Dollar Street and co-author of 'Factfulness' will be one of our keynote speakers at the conference.

Check out the AGTA 2019 website for further details and to sign up for updates.

We look forward to seeing you on the sunny Gold Coast in October 2019.

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Peace in the Pacific Study Tour

Three Territory students will explore the Northern Territory and the United States of America’s shared military history when they embark on the inaugural 2018 Chief Ministers Peace in the Pacific study tour. The students will travel to Hawaii and tour historical World War II military sites before attending the Pearl Harbour Remembrance Day Commemoration on 7 December.

The 2018 Chief Minister’s Peace in the Pacific study tour provides an opportunity for Territory students to learn about our region and our allies and the military connections between the Northern Territory and Hawaii. Students will gain a greater understanding of the shared experience and sacrifice of the people in the Northern Territory and Hawaii from their involvement in the bombing of Darwin and the attack on Pearl Harbour, and the ongoing importance of peacekeeping missions today.

To enter, students in Years 10 and 11 were invited to submit a response to the following question; ‘How did the attacks on Pearl Harbour in 1941 and on Darwin in 1942 affect the relationship between Australia and the United States of America?’ Students answered the question in a number of different formats including essay, poem, and artwork. Fifteen entries were received from students from Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Alice Springs.

The successful students are:

Ianna Lalim, St Joseph's Catholic College, Katherine, Yr 11, Poem

Shawn Bett, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic College, Alice Springs, Yr 10, Essay

Grace Modoh, Casuarina Senior College, Darwin, Yr 11, Artwork


Corporal Stephen Temby has been nominated by the Department of Defence to travel with our students this year as the Study Tour’s Defence chaperone. He is a member of the Royal Australian Army, currently posted to the Headquarters Northern Command, Larrakeyah Barracks as the Information Manager.

Ms Yashodara McCormack has been selected as the teacher chaperone. She has taught English and History at Darwin High School since 1992 and has extensive experience in leading student excursions, both in Australia and overseas.

The Chief Minister will farewell the students on Friday 23 November at Development House, Darwin City. The farewell ceremony will include a presentation of certificates, backpacks and uniforms.

For more information follow this link.

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Crocodylus Park Site Visit – 24 October 2018

As part of GHTANT ongoing commitment to providing members with professional learning opportunities, a site visit to Crocodylus Park was organized for 24 October 2018. The visit consisted of a guided tour of the park, including crocodile feeding and a boat ride on the lagoon. The tour was informative and focused on crocodile safety and management, as well conservation and sustainability of both endangered species and the environment.

Crocodylus Park was founded by the internationally renowned crocodile biologist, Dr. Graham Webb. The museum is informative and full of amazing crocodile facts. The Park is more than a zoo. It is a working crocodile farm and research centre. Additionally, it supports the conservation of threatened animals, native and exotic.

Crocodylus Park offers a variety of programs for students and will work with teachers to develop an itinerary to suit a variety of curriculum areas such as science, geography, tourism and business studies. All stages of schooling can be accommodated from primary through to senior secondary.

GHTANT would like to thank Giovanna Webb and her staff for making us feel so welcome and for such an interesting and educational tour.

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Teaching the Holocaust?

In January this year I was fortunate to attend the Gandel Holocaust Studies Program for Australian Educators, held each year at the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in Israel. 35 educators from across Australia are fully sponsored to attend the seminar, which includes lectures and workshops from some of the most experienced and knowledgeable Holocaust educators in the world. In addition, we were also given the privilege of listening to the testimony of survivors – we are likely the last generation to have the opportunity to hear first hand the experiences of this tragic time. The program also gives participants the chance to explore the ancient city of Jerusalem as well as places further afield, such as the ancient site of Masada, Crusader castles and the Dead Sea.

Some of you have been able to hear of my experiences during workshops in Darwin and Alice Springs, where I shared some of the insight I gained on effective Holocaust educators. For those of you who were unable to make it – and are interested! – I have attached a link to an article I wrote for the Australian Professional Educator which includes a number of strategies for effective Holocaust education.

Applications for the 2019 program have closed, but I have attached a brochure for those of you interested in the 2020 event. Applications usually close in May, and NT applications are strongly encouraged!

If you'd like any info or advice, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me: steve.hawkins@ntschools.net


For more information on this amazing opportunity, visit: https://www.yadvashem.org

HTAA 2018 National History Teachers Conference, Canberra

“People, Power and Perspectives”

During the first week of the October holidays I was lucky enough to travel to Canberra for the National History Teachers Conference. Held at the National Library of Australia and with sessions at the Australian War Memorial, National Archives and Museum of Australian Democracy, it was an amazing experience to attend sessions to really grow and develop you as a history teacher.

I don’t think I can pick a favourite session, each session I attended I was able to take away something that I could either use in my classroom or challenged my perspective on a piece of history.

Thank you GHTANT for making it possible.

The theme for 2019 is “History Matters.”

Save the date! 1-3 October in Adelaide.

It is an opportunity not to be missed!

Charleen Conroy

Who is GHTANT?

GHTANT is here to support you as a History/Geography teacher whether starting out, teaching out-of-subject or a seasoned expert. We strive to offer national standard Professional Learning opportunities and provided networking opportunities for our NT colleagues.


Below is a list of the people who are working hard to enrich our teaching:

President - Steve Hawkins (Casuarina Senior College)

Vice-President - Anna Hind (Ross Park Primary School)

Secretary - Charleen Conroy (Dripstone Middle School)

Treasurer - Julie Hearnden (Good Shepherd Lutheran College)

Public Officer - Meg Davis (Darwin High School)


You are encouraged to contact GHTANT through our Facebook page for advice, resources and ideas.