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Social science

Social science was generally perceived as being relevant. Among the comments indicating this were:

  • "It helps you to learn about the world and other countries."
  • "It's about the people, for the people."
  • "How to deal with different people and their cultures; how history repeats itself and how to prevent this."
  • "Learning more about others."
  • "The human aspect."
  • "To some extent it provides answers to the future, for example, in history."
  • "Makes you realise that other people aren't as lucky as you. Makes you think of poor people. Makes you thankful."
  • "Why something happens; the reasoning behind things."
  • "It makes you think about how dangerous/bad things are/can get."
  • "The way people operate."
  • "How to approach people."
  • "Relevant."
  • "Interesting to learn about our world."
  • "Good to learn what the world is coming to."
  • "Should be the biggest subject in schools."
  • "Helps you learn what you want."

Only two comments were negative: "Complicated" and "Boring".

Several students felt their enjoyment – or otherwise – of the subject reflected the attitudes and approaches of the teacher. One student remarked on her "enthusiastic and passionate teachers – they like to hear what our opinions are". "I like the teachers – their passion is contagious," said another. "The teacher is good at teaching ... he can teach in a way we can relate to," said a third. Conversely: "It has potential, but can be boring and repetitive if teachers teach the wrong stuff. I don't like too many notes." "Can seem superficial when history/social studies is held in a way that is distanced from reality." "The (geology) teacher needs to focus so students can learn."

Topics named as interesting were "war, ancient history"; "volcanoes and rainforests"; and "history when it's relevant." One boy suggested learning about "how the Māoris fight with the Māoris and how the Pākehās teach Māoris stuff like cooking methods, weapons". One student said he preferred subjects with a solution. Another: "I want to do more independent research." A third: "It's hard to provide all parts/viewpoints of an event."

When asked what they learned in social science, a number of skills were put forward:

  • "To investigate."
  • "To justify and back up statements with evidence."
  • "Research skills; how to find data; make data presentations."
  • "Analytical skills."
  • "Evaluation."
  • "Empathy."
  • "Insight."
  • "General knowledge."
  • "Learning from our mistakes."
  • "Essay writing."
  • "Talking to others."

Published on: 20 Sep 2007