DR FIONA RADFORD
SENIOR SCHOOL

 

"I believe that it is important for all people to have a sense of where human kind has been and what we are capable of doing - good, bad and in between."

 
History teacher Dr Fiona Radford is famous across the Queenwood campus for her historical costumes, with students eagerly awaiting an Ancient Egypt workshop with Cleopatra or an Early Modern European History lecture from Marie Antoinette. Dr Radford has published work in A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen and regularly shares her views on Ancient Rome on her podcast The Partial Historians with Dr Peta Greenfield. When she’s not teaching, lecturing or writing, Dr Radford likes to read historical and biographical books alongside classic fiction, and is currently enjoying Stephen Fry’s Mythos.

I like to think that history helps to produce decent, thinking human beings, that it encourages students to be curious and ask good questions.

I had a very dynamic history teacher in Year 11 and 12. We studied Tacitus’ Annals and I was hooked! No one writes history like Tacitus. I took some ancient history units at Macquarie University and found the lecturers there very inspiring. One of the courses that I took at university was called ‘History on Film’ and was given the opportunity to tutor and lecture a little for the course with Dr Bruce Dennett. I fell in love with teaching – there is nothing more enjoyable than discussing interesting subjects with people who are just as passionate as you are and introducing students to all of the stories and concepts.

History is full of fascinating stories, but my favourite subject to teach is Extension History. Extension focuses on the construction and representation of history – everything from Herodotus to film, art, museums and apps. It’s challenging, but it is never the same. I believe that it is important for all people to have a sense of where human kind has been and what we are capable of doing - good, bad and in between. History shapes the world that we inhabit in many ways and people still use history to explain current events, or as a weapon to further their own agenda. Studying any history at school allows students to develop key skills that they can use throughout their lives, such as framing an argument, learning to provide reasoned judgments (not just opinion), critical thinking, ethics - which are all very important in the current political climate.

At the end of the day, I like to think that history helps to produce decent, thinking human beings; after all, history (or historiai) originally meant something like ‘to inquire’, so if taught the right way it encourages students to be curious and ask good questions.