In human society and its environment (HSIE), both subjects of history and geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10.
Students learn specific historical and geographical concepts and skills in history and geography. They also have an opportunity to learn more about people and the societies and environments in which they live through elective subjects in Years 7 to 10 (Stages 4 to 5).
A large number of individual subjects make up the key learning area of HSIE in which students:
- research, gather and analyse information
- question and make judgements
- write for a variety of purposes.
In Year 11 and 12, students can choose from a range of HSIE courses. These include:
- Aboriginal Studies
- Ancient History
- Business Studies
- History Extension
- Legal Studies
- Modern History
- Society and Culture
- Studies of Religion.
The study of Ancient History provides an opportunity for students to inquire into the past and thus understand the forces and personalities who have shaped our world. It equips students with the skills to analyse and challenge accepted theories and interpretations of the ancient world. Ancient History requires students to develop critical literacy and thinking skills to develop reasoned and evidence based arguments. It fosters a critical approach to understanding events, issues and interpretations and the ability to effectively communicate these through sustained and logical writing. Ancient History encourages students to appreciate our responsibility for conserving and preserving our world’s heritage. The Preliminary course allows flexibility to investigate a range of ancient societies and personalities from the Near East, Egypt, Rome, Greece or Celtic Europe. The HSC course is more prescriptive and builds on the skills developed in the Preliminary Course including a focus on one personality (Xerxes), one society (Sparta) and one historical period (The Greek World 500-440 BC). A core compulsory study entitled Cities of Vesuvius: Pompeii & Herculaneum is studied through a range of written and archaeological sources.
The Business Studies syllabus encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of business in ways students will encounter throughout their lives. It offers learning from the planning of a small business to the management of operations, marketing, finance and human resource in large businesses. Contemporary business issues and case studies are embedded in the course to provide a stimulating and relevant framework for students to apply to problems encountered in the business environment. Business Studies fosters intellectual, social and moral development by assisting students to think critically about the role of business and its ethical responsibilities to society. The Preliminary Course allows students to investigate the nature of business, business management and business planning. The HSC Course focuses on the management of operations, marketing, finance and human resources in large businesses, through the analysis of contemporary business strategies. The course also provides rigour and depth and lays an excellent foundation for students either in tertiary study or in future employment. By completing this course students will develop general and specific skills, including research, analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, essay writing, critical thinking and communication.
The study of Economics can help individuals, groups and societies make choices that assist them to improve their quality of life. As a subject, Economics is distinctive because of the range of problems and issues that it investigates and the skills that it develops. A student who has completed the Preliminary and HSC courses should have knowledge and skills enabling them to:
- comprehend the background and implications of contemporary economic issues
- discuss appropriate policies to solve economic problems and issues
- understand what a change in interest rates, share values or the value of the Australian dollar means to individuals and the economy
- identify fluctuations in the global and Australian economies and their likely effects on business
- understand reasons for changes in employment patterns
- identify, using economic thinking, appropriate strategies to protect the natural environment.
In Economics students learn to establish connections between economic theory and models and what happens in the current economic climate. Extended response writing is a key skill and will require students to use economic theory, models and graphs, current statistical evidence and economic problems raised by the media, to analyse and evaluate economic issues and government policy in response to these issues. Students who are thorough in terms of research, capable of writing a logically sequenced and sustained response, and have an aptitude for the analysis of graphs and statistics would be ideal candidates for the study of Economics.
Geography is a continuation and extension of the content explored in the Stage 4 and 5 course. Students will study both physical and human geography, with the use of global and domestic case studies to illustrate human impacts on the natural environment. There is a strong emphasis on the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development and intergenerational equity. Furthermore, geographical skills are studied alongside course content. The Preliminary course investigates biophysical and human geography and develops students’ knowledge and understanding about the spatial and ecological dimensions of geography. Enquiry methodologies are used to investigate the unique characteristics of our world through fieldwork, geographical skills and the study of contemporary geographical issues. The Senior Geography project requires students to develop, plan, investigate and present their own geographical investigation. Students are required to undertake both primary and secondary research to complete this mandatory component. The HSC course enables students to appreciate geographical perspectives about the contemporary world. There are specific studies about biophysical and human processes, interactions and trends. Fieldwork and a variety of case studies combine with an assessment of the geographers’ contribution to understanding our environment and demonstrates the relevance of geographical study. Fieldwork investigations are a mandatory component of the Senior Geography Syllabus, catering to students seeking a wider range of learning opportunities and providing practical experiences. Students who have an interest in the environment and social ethics should consider the study of Geography.
Legal Studies provides students with opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of the nature and functions of law and law-making, the development of Australian and international legal systems, the Australian constitution and law reform. Students investigate the key areas of law, justice and human rights through a variety of focus studies which consider how changes in societies influence law reform. The Year 12 course investigates the core units of crime and human rights, as well as two options, currently consumer law and family law. Each topic's themes and challenges should be integrated into the study of the topic. Legal Studies requires students to undertake considerable research and analysis of findings, and it is imperative that students can write extended responses which integrate statute law, common law cases and international treaties to substantiate discussion. Furthermore, current legal issues/cases in the media must be evaluated and commented upon in the area of law reform. Students with a strong interest in studying Law and who have displayed good skills in written communication are appropriate candidates for this course.
The study of Modern History requires students to understand and use historical concepts to investigate people, ideas, movements, events and developments of the modern world. The Year 12 course provides students with opportunities to apply their understanding of sources and relevant issues in the investigation of the modern world. Through a core study, students investigate the nature of power and authority from 1919 to 1946. They also study key features in the history of one nation (USA 1919-1941), one study in peace and conflict (Conflict in Indochina 1954-1979) and one study of change in the modern world (Civil Rights in the USA 1945–1968). Students are challenged to interpret sources of evidence, provide insight into the motivations of groups and individuals and understand how knowledge is constructed. Students develop increasingly sophisticated historiographical skills and understandings to communicate judgements and convey ideas, explore historical problems and interpret, analyse and develop reasoned arguments. Modern History provides the chance to develop skills in areas such as historical investigation and research, critical analysis, oral communication, essay writing and working independently and in a team environment.
Society and Culture
Society and Culture develops social and cultural literacy and a clear understanding of the interactions of persons, society, culture, environment and time, and how these shape human behaviour. The course draws on cross-disciplinary concepts and social research methods, and students undertake research in an area of particular interest to them. The research findings are presented for external assessment in the Personal Interest Project (PIP). Society and Culture is a conceptually based course that promotes students' awareness of the cultural continuities and changes within societies and cultures. It provides them with skills to critically analyse social theories and complementary and contrasting viewpoints about people, societies and cultures. Society and Culture encourages students to manage their own learning, including opportunities to experience working within teams. In allowing students to study in areas of direct relevance to their lives, Society and Culture contributes greatly to the promotion of lifelong learning. The study of Society and Culture prepares students for adult life by developing knowledge, understanding, skills and other qualities associated with effective citizenship and attaining social and cultural literacy.
The History Extension Course caters for interested and capable students of Ancient and/or Modern History. Extension students:
explore 'what is history' by focusing on historiographical issues through readings and a case study (JFK)
complete a major project in the form of a historical analysis in an area of changing historical interpretation.
This course is a 1 unit course which is run in Year 12 only. Students must be studying a 2 unit History course (Ancient or Modern History) to qualify for entry into the course. History Extension appeals to students who appreciate the intellectual challenge of grappling with an area of debate, and constructing and defending a position through a reasoned and cohesive argument. It offers students the opportunity to work independently and apply the historiographical understanding developed through the course to an individual project of personal interest and develops core skills best suited for further tertiary study.