Humanities covers subjects ranging from studies of the society and the environment (SOSE), History, Geography and Economics.
SOSE curriculum is still derived from QSA Essential Learnings. Students use their fascination with people and places to make sense of their world. They investigate societies and environments and develop an understanding of their relationships with other people and places. They identify values in everyday situations and local contexts. They see the place of social and environmental inquiry in people’s work and community lives.
Students gain awareness of the history and diversity of lifestyles of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia.
Students use the essential processes of Ways of working to develop and demonstrate their Knowledge and understanding. They develop the ability to use inquiry processes to build understandings and make connections to their world. They communicate and share ideas using texts and terminology associated with social and environmental studies, and they individually and collaboratively use strategies to respond to community issues. They reflect on their learning and on their values in everyday situations.
As an academic discipline, it is a study through which historians investigate, interpret, explain and describe changes and consequences in human affairs over time. History is also a component of learning in other disciplines and fields of study, including literature, media and cultural studies, sociology, the sciences, the arts and languages. In this regard, history is positioned both in the social sciences and the humanities. Historical method is a process that is similar to other social science methodologies in that it uses sources to test hypotheses and develop interpretations. Additionally, the purpose of history is grounded firmly in the humanities, as it seeks to give people the tools to develop their understandings of humanity, and to make sense of cultures, identities and values.
History as a school subject exists as part of the curriculum in its own right and as part of the broader Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) key learning area. The content of school history subjects is a publicly contested area and reflects the nature of history in democratic societies. However, while the important knowledge of the subject can be debatable, there is broad agreement that school History should involve students 'doing history', that is, employing elements of the historical method and developing the processes of 'historical thinking'. School History develops an understanding of chronology and a broad narrative at various scales and in various settings. The value of this school subject lies in the cultural capital this learning gives to the learner, and the capabilities and skills that students can translate to future learning, employment and civic life. History in Australian schools obviously focuses on the significant topics from Australia's past, but also includes topics that span eras from ancient to modern, and involve a wider global context.