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1009 Social Sciences - 14 September

Curriculum Report – Social Sciences

Focus

  • With the proposed review of the curriculum, Kaikohe East School is in search of a vision statement for the Social sciences.  It is envisaged that this statement will be indicative of the schools philosophy and vision. 
  • One proposed statement currently before staff and the Board of Trustees for their consideration is as follows: 
  • Through the social sciences we are trying to develop student’s knowledge and skills to enable them to better understand, participate in and contribute to the world they live in.  The main focus being on the immediate and surrounding communities of Kaikohe.
  • We believe that this statement sets a direction for our school in this curriculum area.

Programme

  • Over the past 12 months the Social sciences have included a number of school wide, syndicate and individual class topics. Our initial school wide unit, supported by professional development, was titled “Improving Our School Environment”. Classroom teachers tackled this unit in a way that best fitted the needs and strengths of both their students and their own level of confidence. Some work incorporated a theory based inquiry approach using ICT to support the learning. Others worked as a team producing an end of unit outcome with a mural and whole school ceremony to unveil the work followed by a whole school celebration.
  • This year Being proud prepared learners” was another whole school inquiry based unit providing the opportunity for everyone to clarify the expectations for the year.
  • During the course of the coming 4th term most of the school will be covering a unit on “Celebrations”.
  • Generally teachers have adopted the inquiry learning approach in this curriculum area.  The themes selected are engaging and meaningful for children because teachers are finding out what students want to learn and adapting their programmes to meet some of the learner’s expectations.  The new structure allows children the opportunity to pursue questions and take directions that interest them.  For some teachers this student led approach can be challenging while others welcome and adapt to meet this interest.

Assessment Procedures

  • The summative assessment process has not been formalised as much cross-curricular teaching and learning occurs. Therefore the essence of assessment is formative with adaptations being made through in-action reflection.
  • There is great difficulty in analysing the impact of the inquiry approach on the Social Science curriculum as most approaches have become cross-curricular.
  • We are currently in the process of receiving professional development that will only strengthen and support the social sciences programme in our school.  It is envisaged that once our vision statement has been approved then all else will evolve.

Looking Ahead

  •        To my knowledge over the past two years the Social Science curriculum has only received a minimal budget. Because the inquiry approach is dependent on student interest, it is quite difficult to run a programme with no money being specifically allocated to social sciences.  This maybe something that should be considered when budgets are set for 2012.