Excellence in History

By Dr Rebecca Barlow, Teacher

The history, philosophy, and RaVE (HPR) department is thrilled to announce that Mrs Natasha Davies is a recipient of the ACT History Teachers’ Association (ACT HTA) Hillary Brettell Scholarship 2023. The scholarship is for early career teachers who demonstrate passion and dedication to refining their craft. Mrs Davies' successful application detailed the ways in which she uses methodologies, such as social history, and concepts, such as historical empathy, to make history relevant to the here and now of students’ lives.

Mrs Natasha Davies receiving the Hillary Brettell Scholarship.

On the significance of winning the award, Mrs Davies said, "It’s important at the start of any career to take opportunities that are offered, because that’s when you need the most support. The scholarship seemed like a great opportunity for a first-year teacher to discover the research that goes into the discipline of history, as well as getting to know other teachers and academics in the field."

The scholarship has already allowed Mrs Davies to attend the 2023 Australian History Teachers’ Conference, Contested Histories, which took place during the term break. This three-day event was a vibrant and timely coming together of history teachers, academics, and professional historians from across the country. Delegates explored content relevant to the Year 7-12 history curriculum, including deep time Australia, the Frontier Wars, and Australia’s participation in World War One and Two. They also explored pedagogical practices to support ethical debate in the classroom, as well as the skills to enhance historical thinking around cause and effect, contestability, change and continuity, and significance.

Mrs Davies' key takeaway from the conference was: "The great number of ideas, activities, organisations, and programs that exist for teachers to bring into the classroom. An example of what I’m hoping to incorporate more of are things like excursions to the National Archives, which house all sorts of original artefacts for students to examine. I’ve seen some amazing documents from the 1967 Referendum, when First Nations Australians were counted as part of the Australian population. Great for Year 10!"

The scholarship will support Mrs Davies with participating in other ACT HTA initiatives over the coming year, including networking with other history teachers, academics, and professionals throughout Canberra who share our belief in the transformative power of history education. Natasha is looking forward to: "Being involved in the running of the Association. It’s an ongoing support network and will help me become more embedded in the history community in Canberra, which is a lovely feeling for a graduate teacher."

The flow-on effects of Mrs Davies' professional learning will no doubt benefit others in the Radford community - staff and students alike. The HPR faculty is very proud of Mrs Davies for her achievement. Please join us in congratulating her and celebrating excellence within our school community!