In Human Society and its Environment (HSIE), the subjects of History and Geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10, where students study specific historical and geographical concepts and skills.
History is a disciplined process of inquiry into the past that helps to explain how people, events and forces from the past have shaped our world. It allows students to locate and understand themselves and others in the continuum of human experience up to the present. History provides opportunities for students to explore human actions and achievements in a range of historical contexts. Students become aware that history is all around us and that historical information may be drawn from the physical remains of the past as well as written, visual and oral sources of evidence.
The study of History from Kindergarten to Year 10 investigates the actions, motives and lifestyles of people over time, from individuals and family members, to local communities, expanding to national and world history contexts. It introduces the idea that History contains many stories and that there is never only one uncontested version. There are many differing perspectives within a nation’s history, and historians may interpret events differently depending on their point of view and the sources they have used. The study of History strengthens an appreciation for and an understanding of civics and citizenship. It also provides broader insights into the historical experiences of different cultural groups within our society and how various groups have struggled for civil rights, for example Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, migrants and women. History encourages students to develop an understanding of significant historical concepts such as cause and effect, change and continuity, significance, empathy and contestability.
History as a discipline has its own methods and procedures. It is much more than the simple presentation of facts and dates from the past. History provides the skills for students to answer the question ‘How do we know?’ An investigation of an historical issue through a range of sources can stimulate curiosity and develop problem-solving, research and critical thinking skills. It develops language specific to the discipline of History and provides opportunities to further develop literacy skills. Students learn to critically analyse and interpret sources of evidence in order to construct reasoned explanations and a rational and informed argument based on evidence, drawn from the remains of the past. Students engage in research involving traditional methods and ICT, including evaluating web-based sources and using a range of technologies for historical research and communication.
Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. It is a rich and complex discipline that integrates knowledge from natural sciences, social sciences and humanities to build a holistic understanding of the world. Students learn to question why the world is the way it is, reflect on their relationships with and responsibilities for the world and propose actions designed to shape a socially just and sustainable future. Geography emphasises the role, function and importance of the environment in supporting human life from local to global scales. It also emphasises the important interrelationships between people and environments and the different understandings of these relationships. The wellbeing of societies and environments depends on the quality of interactions between people and the natural world.
Geographical inquiry involves students acquiring, processing and communicating geographical information. Through an inquiry approach students explain patterns, evaluate consequences and contribute to the management of places and environments in an increasingly complex world. This process enables them to apply inquiry skills including: asking distinctively geographical questions; planning an inquiry and evaluating information; processing, analysing and interpreting that information; reaching conclusions based on evidence and logical reasoning; evaluating and communicating their findings; and reflecting on their inquiry and responding, through action, to what they have learned.
Engagement in fieldwork and the use of other tools including mapping and spatial technologies are fundamental to geographical inquiry. The study of Geography enables students to become active, responsible and informed citizens able to evaluate the opinions of others and express their own ideas and arguments. This forms a basis for active participation in community life, a commitment to sustainability, the creation of a just society, and the promotion of intercultural understanding and lifelong learning. The skills and capabilities developed through geographical study can be applied to further education, work and everyday life.