Social Studies at ISL encourages the systematic and critical study of human experience and behaviour: how people create the world they live in; how the world they live in makes them the people they are. Social Studies at ISL recognises and explicitly acknowledges the human basis of learning experience: it focuses on the human dimension of the curriculum, that area which deals with people and their interaction with their environment, in its historical, geographical, cultural, social, economic and ethical dimensions
The Social Studies programme pursues a number of themes through different historical and cultural contexts. Some of the themes studied are:
- Cultural identity and its link to the environment, a sense of shared history, attitudes and beliefs
- Causes and consequences of change and continuity from ancient to modern times
- Impact of individuals and groups who contribute to change and/or continuity
- Relationship between people and the environment, our need for and use of resources and the implications of such uses
- Social, economic and political systems and patterns in regions and nations
At all levels there is a strong emphasis on skills development and reinforcement. In particular, we emphasise:
- Interpreting and evaluating geographical and historical sources such as maps, graphs, tables, atlases, photographs, statistics, and writings
- Identifying, analysing, evaluating and applying evidence to support hypotheses
- Making meaningful historical and geographical connections spatially and over time.
- Understanding history through the multiple lenses of all the social studies and developing the prerequisite skills to be able to do so
- Using the essential vocabulary and key terms that lead to more sophisticated discussion of social, economic, geographical and historical developments
- Developing critical thinking skills in the context of course studies
In addition, the department fulfils a key role in the students’ broader educational development by focusing on reading comprehension, study skills, organisation, and note taking, writing skills and research skills. The department also encourages and develops active participation: combining group discussions and oral presentations with the more regular participation will be expected in class.