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  • Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Area in the Curriculum

Humanities  and social Sciences 

The Australian curriculum is based on two foundation documents:

The Melbourne Declaration of the Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008):
  1. The Shape of the Australian Curriculum (Version 3, May 2012):
  2. The learning areas / subjects
  3. Seven General Capabilities (GCs)
  4. Three Cross-Curriculum Priorities (CCPs)

These documents referred to other recent curriculum developments around the world as well as forecasts for what the future might hold for the students living in the 21st century. The principles they espoused were used by the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to develop the new national curriculum, which will be implemented by each state sequentially to suit its own conditions.

Humanities Learning Area

The new curriculum provides a change of approach for social educators. Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) has been replaced by a learning area called Humanities and Social Sciences (HaSS) which treats each of four disciplines separately - History, Geography, Civics and citizenship and Economics and business. Although the Shape Paper regards cross-disciplinary learning as desirable, there is no intention by ACARA at the moment to integrate these disciplines in any way.

SEAQ regards the title HaSS as rather clumsy (especially as there is only one Humanity - history), and we prefer the term Social Education. This term is also being used by a number of universities and has long been used by the national body, the Social and Citizenship Educators Association of Australia (SCEAA). 

SEAQ intends to focus its attention on the Civics and citizenship curriculum when it is endorsed. Our other areas of attention are the last four listed General capabilities (Critical and creative thinking; Ethical Understanding; Personal and social competence; and Intercultural understanding) and the three Cross-curriculum Priorities. The three CCPs were classed as 'perspectives' in the SOSE curriculum, so we feel that we have some expertise in those areas.

Queensland's approach

The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) will oversee the implementation in Queensland. QCAA's Australian Curriculum Implementation Strategy can be found at . On the same page is an outline of how QCAA intends to support the implementation all new curricula by delivering initial professional development:

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