Last week, La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga Politics Lecturer, Dr Ben Habib, held a workshop on the campus for VCE history students from the Victory Lutheran College on Mao Zedong and the Communist Party.
‘This workshop was a supplement to the students’ VCE History studies on the Chinese revolution. Understanding the tragic, epic story of nineteenth and twentieth century China – a period of great violence and upheaval – is vital to understanding the China of today.
‘It has never been more important for Australia’s young people to learn about China,’ says Dr Habib.
‘Mao Zedong’s legacy is a complicated one, due to this contrast between Mao the revolutionary and Mao the national administrator. One of the aims of the workshop was to encourage students to grapple with this legacy.’
La Trobe University Bachelor of Arts students also participated in the event and led small groups for secondary students to discuss some of the questions that arose from the workshop.
These activities engaged the students in critical thinking, moral questioning and consensus decision-making, with a view to enhancing their understanding of Mao’s impact on China and also to give them a taste of university-style learning.
‘The workshop provided a great opportunity for students to sample the university experience and see tertiary study as a meaningful career pathway after high school.
‘It also provided valuable hands-on experience for LTU Bachelor of Arts students in group leadership and facilitation,’ says Dr Habib.
Throughout the workshop the secondary students displayed a lot of enthusiasm on the subject and became excited about the subjects they were studying for their VCE says Dr Habib.
‘The study of history is integral to comprehending the present and glimpsing the future.
‘Australia is integrated into the Asia-Pacific, a region in which China is one of the most important players and one of Australia’s largest trading partners,’ Dr Habib says.
‘Knowing the history of such an important regional neighbour is a key to successful interaction.’
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:
La Trobe University Communications Officer
T: 03 9479 5353 M: 0418 495 941 E: M.Lodwick@latrobe.edu.au