Social Studies in grades 6-10 is taught in conjunction with other humanities subjects (e.g. English and German) in order to help students foster a wider understanding of the past as well as the world we live in today. The course is enquiry led, in order to encourage students to think critically whilst simultaneously developing subject-related competencies and skills.
Studying History is not just about learning when things happened, nor is Geography just about learning where things are. They also involve developing critical thinking skills – skills that help us to understand:
- the problems that our society faces today,
- why people from different backgrounds often have different perspectives on important issues and
- how our views are shaped by our community.
These are transferable skills that help us work and live in a multicultural society and build for a better future. Our enquiries are designed to help build these skills. To keep it simple, we have divided these skills into three ‘competency’ areas:
- Source analysis: reading comprehension; understanding the value and limitations of sources; as well as selecting evidence to support arguments
- Historical interpretation and significance: understanding the diversity of experiences; the influence of societal values on our interpretation of events and developments; as well as critically evaluating the reasons why we place importance on some things and not others
- Knowledge and understanding: examining cause and consequence; change and continuity; as well as the role of individuals vs. societal trends
Roughly two-thirds of class time is spent on history and the remaining third on geography, although an interdisciplinary approach is taken whenever appropriate. Depending on students’ language proficiency and future perspective (i.e. IB Diploma or Abitur), students learn in an English or German language stream.
***New as of 2017: exploring local history in grades 6-10***
In grades 11 and 12, these skills are developed further in both our IB Diploma and Abitur History courses. Both courses revisit and expand on previous knowledge as well as explore new subject areas. The aforementioned skills are more rigorously developed, refined and applied to the development of historical arguments. The skills acquired in both courses are especially practical for students considering a career in academic subjects, such as law, economics and sociology.