Perspectives on welfare for the unemployed

SubjectHistory YearYear 10 CurriculumAC v8.4 Time60

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Students analyse a range of primary sources to explore the various perspectives on the unemployed that existed during the Great Depression and World War II. They examine how and why views about the role of the State in providing welfare changed during this period. 

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 10, students refer to key events, the actions of individuals and groups, and beliefs and values to explain patterns of change and continuity over time. They analyse the causes and effects of events and developments and explain their relative importance. They explain the context for people’s actions in the past. Students explain the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives. They explain different interpretations of the past and recognise the evidence used to support these interpretations.

Students sequence events and developments within a chronological framework, and identify relationships between events across different places and periods of time. When researching, students develop, evaluate and modify questions to frame a historical inquiry. They process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students analyse sources to identify motivations, values and attitudes. When evaluating these sources, they analyse and draw conclusions about their usefulness, taking into account their origin, purpose and context. They develop and justify their own interpretations about the past. Students develop texts, particularly explanations and discussions, incorporating historical argument. In developing these texts and organising and presenting their arguments, they use historical terms and concepts, evidence identified in sources, and they reference these sources.

Content descriptions

Historical Knowledge and Understanding

the inter-war years between World War I and World War II, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression (ACOKFH018).

The impact of World War II, with a particular emphasis on the Australian home front, including the changing roles of women and use of wartime government controls (conscription, manpower controls, rationing and censorship) (ACDSEH109).

Historical Skills

Use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS183).

Identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past (ACHHS190).

Identify and analyse different historical interpretations (including their own) (ACHHS191).

Student learning resources

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The making of a welfare state


Perspectives on welfare for the unemployed

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group.

  1. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into groups of 4.
  2. Students read sources A-E.
  3. Groups discuss:
    • the extent of unemployment during the Great Depression
    • methods the government used to support the unemployed during this period.
  4. Individually, students:
    • read sources F-G and Q-R
    • complete the worksheet.
  5. Discuss (in groups then as a class):
    • What were the arguments against the way those who were unemployed were provided for during the Great Depression?
    • What were the arguments in favour of the state providing welfare?
    • Why do you think people held different views about how to provide for the unemployed?
    • Why do you think views about unemployment benefits changed over time?