HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES LEARNING AREA SUMMARY

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1 HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES LEARNING AREA SUMMARY

2 Learning Area Summary - Senior Secondary Learning Areas HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCES A. CURRENT CONTEXT OF TASMANIAN COURSES The Humanities and Social Sciences are the study of human behaviour and interaction in social, cultural, environmental, economic and political contexts. The humanities and social sciences have a historical and contemporary focus, from personal to global contexts, and consider challenges for the future. Through studying humanities and social sciences, learners develop the ability to question, think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, make decisions and adapt to change. Thinking about and responding to issues requires an understanding of the key historical, geographical, political, economic and societal factors involved, and how these different factors interrelate. Courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Area provide a broad understanding of the world in which we live, and how people can participate as active and informed citizens with highlevel skills needed for the 21st century. The learning outcomes in these subjects contribute to achieving the educational goals identified in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008, pp. 8-9). The Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Area comprises four domains: History, Geography, Economics and Business and Civics and Citizenship. In some states, including Tasmania, there is a fifth domain: Behavioural Studies. 1. Existing senior secondary courses In Tasmania, the Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Area comprises a suite of 27 TASC accredited courses across the four domains identified in the Australian Curriculum, and Behavioural Studies. There is a limited number of Humanities courses available at pre level 1 and level 1. These are in the domains of Economics and Business, Civics and Citizenship and Behavioural Studies only. There are foundation courses at level 2 in the areas of History, Business, Legal and Sociology and Psychology and there are level 3 courses in each of the four AC domains and Behavioural Studies, which provide clear pathways through to tertiary studies in the discipline areas. In addition, there is a number of extension options provided by the University of Tasmania through the University College and High Achievers Programs. A full list of Year 11/12 courses is in Appendix Links to Australian Curriculum The Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Area comprises four domains History, Geography, Economics and Business and Civics and Citizenship. The first two have been implemented F to 10 and progressively into senior secondary courses. New Tasmanian 11/12 courses in History and the Environment Level 2, Modern World History Level 3, Ancient Civilisations Level 3, Australia in Asia and the Pacific Level 3 (AAP) and Geography Level 3 have been written to progressively align with the Australian Curriculum. 2

3 Currently no senior secondary Australian Curriculum exists in the other two domains or in Behavioural Studies. As part of the TQA cycle of reaccreditation, a revised Legal Studies Level 3 course was introduced in Tasmania in Pathways There are strong and clear pathways from the four domains of the Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences to Year 11 and 12 subjects and university courses. These pathways are shown on the maps in Appendix 2. Tasmania currently has a broad suite of courses in the Humanities Learning Area that provide a range of pathways to post-schooling destinations including university degree courses and diploma courses at TasTAFE. 4. Enrolment data The data from 2011 to 2014 shows that enrolments have remained steady in the Histories, Economics and Accounting while enrolments in Geography Level 3, Business Studies Levels 2 and 3 and Legal Studies Level 2 have increased. There has been a slight decline in enrolments over this period in the level 3 subjects of Legal Studies, Studies of Religion, Sociology and Psychology. There has been a significant decline in Australia in Asia and the Pacific (AAP) from 216 enrolments to 130 in this period. The introduction of a new subject - Philosophy Level 3 - in 2013 may have had an impact on the enrolment patterns in other Humanities subjects. There has been a steady enrolment of students in Philosophy since its introduction and more schools and colleges are offering it in Enrolment patterns in many Humanities subjects show a gender balance but more males (62%) take Economics and more females take Legal Studies (63%) and Studies of Religion (73%). Significantly more females enrol in the Behavioural Studies subjects 72% in Sociology, 75% in Psychology, 78% in Intro to Sociology and Psychology and 94% in Working with Children. B. APPROACHES IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS National Across Australia, the states are at various stages of implementation of the senior secondary Australian Curriculum courses in History and Geography. The Australian Curriculum domains of History and Geography employ a skills and inquirybased model of teaching and learning. Although History remains a contested area of the curriculum politically, there is a need for content that provides deeper understandings of our own history, our location in the Pacific and our international relations. All states offer a range of subjects in Humanities but each has a slightly different approach to this learning area: - Victoria, like Tasmania, has a broad range of Humanities courses when compared to other states - History, Geography, Economics and Business subjects are common across all states 3

4 - WA and Victoria have courses that include politics international and national. These are usually included with studies in law - WA, ACT, Queensland and Tasmania have specific courses in Behavioural Studies - Most states have a course in Religion and Queensland and WA, like Tasmania, have courses that cover ethics and philosophy - Queensland, WA, NSW and NT offer courses in Indigenous cultural studies. International Globally, senior secondary courses in the Humanities provide a strong grounding in the disciplines in readiness for tertiary studies. Common in curriculum development across many jurisdictions globally is a genuine attempt to review and revise curriculum to respond to the needs of current educational, social, cultural and political forces and the changing face of global societies. This is particularly relevant in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In the study of history and other Humanities subjects there is a focus on critical thinking and reasoning which are recognised as important 21 st century skills. Inquiry based learning is an essential component of Year 11/12 courses in the Humanities nationally and internationally. Jurisdictions, such as Finland and Canada, lead the way in terms of recognising the need to promote a sense of identity and knowledge of culture and history, including knowledge of the indigenous people and the promotion of their cultural and linguistic identity. It is recognized in the United States, Britain and Australia, where vigorous national debate has surrounded choice of content in the teaching of history, that there is a need to address the contested nature of history in any course development. The on-line curriculum Big History which integrates disciplines across the three large domains of the physical world, the biological world, and the human world is being considered in some jurisdictions as a means to engage students. C. FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR THE TASMANIAN CONTEXT Students should experience continuous progression in their learning from K-12 and the pathways and progression in Year 11/12 English courses should be clear. The Tasmanian Year 11/12 courses should build on the F-10 Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences and enable the senior secondary Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences subject rationales, aims, standards and content. The standards of the Tasmanian Year 11/12 courses must be comparable to Humanities and Social Sciences courses nationally and the relationship with corresponding courses in other jurisdictions should be obvious. A number of courses are due to be re-developed in These include Modern History Level 3, Ancient Civilisations Level 3, Australia in Asia and the Pacific Level 3, Legal Studies Level 3 and Community Access Level 1. 4

5 A structured review of courses in this learning area is required to ensure the long term viability of some subjects where enrolments have declined. Cross disciplinary links may strengthen the value of the Humanities, as has been done in other jurisdictions. The Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business identifies the importance of four strands resources, financial literacy, and enterprise and business environments which provide a sound basis for future course development in this domain. The Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship domain offers opportunities to develop courses in the fields of Politics and Law. D. FOCUS QUESTIONS 1. Are the pathways from Year 10 through Years 11 and 12 clear for learners and are there appropriate entry points? 2. Does the current suite of courses meet the needs of all learners? 3. Are there gaps and/or duplication in this learning area? 4. With reference to the issues highlighted in section C above, what are the new and emerging areas of learning that need consideration? Appendix 1 Current Tasmanian Year 11 and 12 Courses in the Humanities Learning Area History History and the Environment Level 2 Ancient Civilisations Level 3 Modern History Level 3 Dictators and Cold War History, University College Program Ancient Civilisations 1A: Introduction to the Ancient World, High Achievers Program Ancient Civilisations 1B: Introduction to Classical Literature, High Achievers Program History 1A: Making Modern Europe, High Achievers Program History 1B: Making the Modern World, High Achievers Program Geography Geography Level 3 Australia in the Asia Pacific Level 3 Asia: Enduring Traditions, University College Program Asian Studies, University College Program Economics and Business Financial Literacy Level 1 Business Studies Foundation Level 2 Business Studies Level 3 Accounting Level 3 5

6 Economics Level 3 Enterprise U, University College Program Introduction to Management, High Achievers Program Principles of Marketing, High Achievers Program Accounting and Financial Decision Making, High Achievers Program Principles of Economics 1, High Achievers Program Principles of Economics 2, High Achievers Program Civics and Citizenship Basic Road Safety Level 1 Road Safety Education Level 2 Community and Me Preliminary to Level 1 Community Access Level 1 Community Service Learning Level 2 Legal Studies Foundation Level 2 Legal Studies Level 3 Politics and Law, University College Program Introduction to Law, High Achievers Program Legal Systems, High Achievers Program Making Moral Decision Level 2 Religions in Society Level 2 Studies of Religion Level 3 Philosophy Level 3 Philosophy 1: Ethics and Philosophy, High Achievers Program Philosophy 2: Mind and Metaphysics, High Achievers Program Behavioural Studies You, Your Family and Community Level 1 Focus on Children Level 1 Working with Children Level 2 Introduction to Sociology and Psychology Level 2 Psychology Level 3 Sociology Level 3 6

7 Appendix 2 Pathway Maps 7

8 Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International unless otherwise indicated. State of Tasmania (Department of Education)

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