Humanities & Social Sciences

Year 7

In Year 7, Humanities and Social Sciences consist of Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Geography and History.

Students develop increasing independence in critical thinking and skill application which includes questioning, researching, analysing, evaluating, communicating and reflecting. Students apply these skills to investigate events, developments, issues and phenomena, both historical and contemporary.

Students continue to build their understanding of the key features of Australia’s democracy, how it is shaped by the Australian constitution, and how the rights of individuals are protected through the justice system.

An understanding of the interdependence of consumers and producers in the market is further developed. Work and work futures are introduced.

The concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection and sustainability are continuing themes and provide students with the opportunity to enquire into how the environment supports human life and understand that people value the environment in different ways.

Students develop their historical understanding through key concepts, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability. These concepts are investigated within the historical context of: How do we know about the ancient past and why and where did the earliest societies develop?

Year 8 

In Year 8, Humanities and Social Sciences consist of Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Geography and History.

Students develop increasing independence in critical thinking and skill application which includes questioning, researching, analysing, evaluating, communicating and reflecting. Students apply these skills to investigate events, developments, issues and phenomena, both historical and contemporary.

Students continue to build their understanding of the responsibilities and freedoms of citizens and how Australians can actively participate in their democracy. Students consider how laws are made and the types of laws used in Australia.

Students further develop their understanding of economics and business concepts by considering the ways markets work and the rights, responsibilities and opportunities that arise for businesses, consumers and governments. Work and work futures are further developed as students consider the influences on the way people work now and in the future.

The concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection and sustainability are continuing themes and provide students with the opportunity to enquire into the significance of landscapes to people and the spatial change in the distribution of population.

Students develop their historical understanding through key concepts, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability. These concepts are investigated within the historical context from the end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern period, c. 650 AD (CE) – 1750 and consider how societies changed from the end of the ancient period to the beginning of the modern age, what key beliefs and values emerged and how did they influence societies, and what were the causes and effects of contact between societies in this period.

Year 9

Humanities and Social Sciences consist of Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Geography and History.

Students develop increasing independence in critical thinking and skill application, which includes questioning, researching, analysing, evaluating, communicating and reflecting. They apply these skills to investigate events, developments, issues and phenomena, both historical and contemporary.

Students continue to build on their understanding of the concepts of the Westminster system, democracy, democratic values, justice and participation. They examine the role of key players in the political system, the way citizens' decisions are shaped during an election campaign and how a government is formed. Students investigate how Australia's court system works in support of a democratic and just society.

Students are introduced to the concepts of specialisation and trade while continuing to further their understanding of the key concepts of scarcity, making choices, interdependence, and allocation and markets. They examine the connections between consumers, businesses and government, both within Australia and with other countries, through the flow of goods, services and resources in a global economy. The roles and responsibilities of the participants in the changing Australian and global workplace are explored.

Year 10

Humanities and Social Sciences consist of Civics and Citizenship, Economics and Business, Geography and History.

Students develop increasing independence in critical thinking and skill application, which includes questioning, researching, analysing, evaluating, communicating and reflecting. They apply these skills to investigate events, developments, issues and phenomena, both historical and contemporary.

Students continue to build on their understanding of the concepts of democracy, democratic values, justice, and rights and responsibilities by exploring Australia's roles and responsibilities at a global level and its international legal obligations. They inquire in to the values and practices that enable a resilient democracy to be sustained.

Students are introduced to the concept of economic performance and living standards while continuing to further their understanding of the concepts of making choices, interdependence, specialisation, and allocation and markets through examining contemporary issues, events and/or case studies delving into the reasons for variations in the performance of economies. They explore the nature of externalities and investigate the role of governments in managing economic performance to improve living standards. They inquire into the ways businesses can manage their workforces to improve productivity.

Senior School

Accounting and Finance: ATAR

The Accounting and Finance ATAR course focuses on financial literacy and aims to provide students with the knowledge, understandings and a range of skills that enables them to make sound financial judgements. Students develop an understanding that financial decisions have far reaching consequences for individuals and business. The course will provide students with the understanding of the systems and processes through which financial practices and decision making are carried out, as well as the ethical, social and environmental issues involved. Through the preparation, examination and analysis of a variety of financial documents and systems, students develop an understanding of the fundamental principles and practices upon which accounting and financial management are based. An understanding and application of these principles and practices enables students to analyse their own financial data and that of businesses and make informed decisions, forecasts of future performance, and recommendations based on that analysis.

Business Management and Enterprise: General

The Business Management and Enterprise General course focuses on establishing and operating a small business in Australia and aims to provide students with an understanding of the knowledge and skills of the processes and procedures required for generating business ideas and turning them into a viable business venture. Factors that impact on business innovation and success, business planning, and legal aspects of running a small business are examined. Students engage in the running of a small business, or participate in business simulations, to develop practical business skills and to develop financial and business literacy. Through the consideration of real businesses and scenarios, students develop knowledge, understanding and skills that enable them to analyse business opportunities, develop proposals and make sound, ethical business decisions. The course equips students to participate proactively in the world of business, behave responsibly and demonstrate integrity in business activities.

Career and Enterprise: General

Career education involves learning to manage and take responsibility for personal career development. The Career and Enterprise General course involves recognising one’s individual skills and talents, and using this understanding to assist in gaining employment and keeping in work. The course develops a range of work skills and an understanding of the nature of work. Key components of the course include: the development of an understanding of different personality types and their link to career choices; entrepreneurial behaviours; learning to learn; and the exploration of social, cultural and environmental issues that affect work, workplaces and careers.

Economics: ATAR

Economics investigates the choices which all people, groups and societies face as they confront the ongoing problem of satisfying their unlimited wants with limited resources. Economics aims to understand and analyse the allocation, utilisation and distribution of scarce resources that determine our wealth and wellbeing. Economics develops the knowledge, reasoning and interpretation skills that form an important component of understanding individual, business and government behaviour at the local, national and global levels.

The Economics ATAR course encompasses the key features which characterise an economist’s approach to a contemporary economic event or issue: the ability to simplify the essence of a problem; to collect economic information and data to assist analysis and reasoning; to think critically about the limits of analysis in a social context; and to draw inferences which assist decision-making, the development of public policy and improvement in economic wellbeing.

The Economics ATAR course develops reasoning, logical thinking and interpretation skills demanded by the world of work, business and government. These skills relate to a variety of qualifications in vocational, technical and university education contexts. The learning experiences available through studying this course explore the knowledge, values and opinions which surround the complex range of economic events and issues facing our community, such as unemployment, income distribution, business strategy and international relations.

Economic literacy developed through this course enables students to actively participate in economic and financial decision-making which promotes individual and societal wealth and wellbeing.

Geography: ATAR

The study of geography draws on students’ curiosity about the diversity of the world’s places and their peoples, cultures and environments. It enables them to appreciate the complexity of our world and the diversity of its environments, economies and cultures and use this knowledge to promote a more sustainable way of life and awareness of social and spatial inequalities.

In the senior secondary years, the Geography ATAR course provides a structured, disciplinary framework to investigate and analyse a range of challenges and associated opportunities facing Australia and the global community. These challenges include rapid change in biophysical environments, the sustainability of places, dealing with environmental risks, and the consequences of international integration.

Geography addresses questions about the interaction of natural and human environments within various natural and social systems. It examines the factors that impact upon decisions about sustainability, the conflicting values between individuals and groups over sustainability and the degree of commitment towards sustainable development.

Geography as a discipline values imagination, creativity and speculation as modes of thought. It provides a systematic, integrative way of exploring, analysing and applying the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change. These principal geographical concepts are applied and explored in depth through unit topics to provide a deeper knowledge and understanding of the complex processes shaping our world. Taken together, the ability of students to apply conceptual knowledge in the context of an inquiry and the application of skills, constitute ‘thinking geographically’ – a uniquely powerful way of viewing the world.

The course builds students’ knowledge and understanding of the uniqueness of places and an appreciation that place matters in explanations of economic, social and environmental phenomena and processes. It also develops students’ knowledge about the interconnections between places. Nothing exists in isolation. Consequently, the subject considers the significance of location, distance and proximity.

Through the study of geography, students develop the ability to investigate the arrangement of biophysical and human phenomena across space in order to understand the interconnections between people, places and environments. As a subject of the humanities and social sciences, geography studies spatial aspects of human culture using inquiry methods that are analytical, critical and speculative. In doing so, it values imagination and creativity. As a science, geography develops an appreciation of the role of the biophysical environment in human life, and an understanding of the effects human activities can have on environments. As a result, it develops students’ ability to identify, evaluate and justify appropriate and sustainable approaches to the future by thinking holistically and spatially in seeking answers to questions. Students are encouraged to investigate geographical issues and phenomena from a range of perspectives, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

In the Geography ATAR course, students investigate geographical issues and phenomena at a variety of scales and contexts. This may include: comparative studies at the same scale; studying the same issue or phenomenon at a range of scales; or seeking explanations at a different scale to the one being studied. The ability to perform multiscale and hierarchical analysis is developed further in this syllabus. The Modern History ATAR course enables students to study the forces that have shaped today’s world and provides them with a broader and deeper comprehension of the world in which they live. While the focus is on the 20th century, the course refers back to formative changes from the late 18th century onwards and encourages students to make connections with the changing world of the 21st century.

Modern History: ATAR

Modern history enhances students’ curiosity and imagination and their appreciation of larger themes, individuals, movements, events and ideas that have shaped the contemporary world. The themes that run through the units include: local, national and global conflicts and their resolution; the rise of nationalism and its consequences; the decline of imperialism and the process of decolonisation; the continuing struggle for the recognition of human rights; the transformation of social and economic life; the regional shifts in power and the rise of Asia; and the changing nature and influence of ideologies.

The Modern History ATAR course begins with a study of key developments that have helped to define the modern world, with special attention given to important ideas and their consequences. This provides a context for a study of movements for change in the 20th century that have challenged the authority of the nation-state, the principal form of political organisation in the modern world. Students then investigate crises that confronted nation-states in the 20th century, the responses to these crises and the different paths nations have taken in the modern world. The course concludes with a study of the distinctive features of world order that have emerged since World War II and that are central to an understanding of the present.

The Modern History ATAR course continues to develop the historical skills and understandings taught in the Year 7–10 History curriculum. Students pose increasingly complex questions about the past and use their historical inquiry skills, analytical skills and interpretation of sources to formulate reasoned answers to those questions. The opportunities to apply these skills are sequential and cumulative so that students develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the different and sometimes conflicting perspectives of the past.

Students are introduced to the complexities associated with the changing nature of evidence, its expanding quantity, range and form; the distinctive characteristics of modern historical representation; and the skills that are required to investigate controversial issues that have a powerful contemporary resonance. Students develop increasingly sophisticated historiographical skills and historical understanding in their analysis of significant events and close study of the nature of modern societies.

Politics and Law: ATAR

Politics and law is a critical study of the processes of decision making concerning society’s collective future. The study of politics examines the structures and processes through which individuals and groups with different interests, beliefs and goals, deliberate and negotiate in order to make choices, respond to changing circumstances and enact laws. The study of law examines the system of laws governing the conduct of the people of a community, society or nation, in response to the need for regularity, consistency and justice based upon collective human experience.

A close relationship exists between politics and law. They relate through the judicial, executive and legislative arms of government; together they constitute how societies are governed. Laws generally embody social and political values that usually have a philosophical foundation.

The Politics and Law ATAR course aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the principles, structures, institutions, processes, and practices of political and legal systems, primarily in Australia and where appropriate, other systems and/or countries. The course challenges students to critically examine the effectiveness of political and legal systems using criteria, such as openness, responsiveness and accountability of those systems. The course provides for both a chronological and contemporary understanding of political and legal issues in society.

The skills and values developed in the Politics and Law ATAR course aim to allow students to become informed, active and effective participants in the political and legal decisions that affect their lives within society.

The study of the Politics and Law ATAR course contributes to students’ intellectual, social, and ethical development. The course aims to support all students in developing a sense of identity, and a sense of political, legal, cultural and social awareness.

The study of the Politics and Law ATAR course can be a valuable background to careers in law, political advocacy, public administration, international relations, foreign affairs, community development, teaching, journalism, human resource management, government and commerce.

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