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Teaching Heritage

Board of Studies NSW

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head Maria Geracitano

History Teacher, St Aloysius College

Firstly heritage means to me the social, the environmental and the cultural way that I’ve been brought up. When I think of heritage, I think of my parents, my grandparents, the suburbs I’ve lived in, the food I eat, the music I like. When I think of heritage I think of Australian History that I teach and love, the exploits of the convicts, the bushrangers, but at the same time I think of the Roman emperors, so that’s that dualistic approach that I think I’ve got to heritage because of my background.
I think of my religion, the burial customs that I’ve been brought up with may be different to an Anglo-Australian way of burial, and I think of dances that I was taught as a child, the gatherings with the families, and some of these I’ve accepted as I have grown and others I’ve let go, so they’re all experiences influenced by the environment. And I also think of heritage as both physical and psychological, because of my Italian-Australian background, the way I look is part of my heritage, my dark hair, my complexion, but also the way I think and my values and my morals may be different. So heritage is virtually to me what’s made me the person I am, by everything around me.

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