Intermediate Phase Social Sciences

The subject Social Sciences consists of History and Geography. Both History and Geography should be taught and assessed during every term of the school year. Although the two disciplines are kept separate, this curriculum is designed to complement the knowledge (content, skills and concepts) outlined in each.

Assessment marks for each subject should be shown separately on school reports – a score for History and another for Geography. They should then be added together and divided by two to give an average score for Social Sciences.

This Social Sciences curriculum aims to provide opportunities for learners to look at their own worlds with fresh, critical eyes and perhaps more importantly, it aims to introduce learners to a world beyond their everyday realities. Schools should be special places that provide learners with knowledge to which they would otherwise not have access.

The importance of depth of knowledge is recognised. Real knowledge demands that learners develop expertise and confidence as a result of in-depth learning. The topics in this curriculum specify pace through hours allocated. Times indicate the depth required.

Learners are trained to speculate, to debate, to make connections, to select, to prioritise and to persist, in tackling real issues and important questions.

It is essential in the teaching of both History and Geography that learners are encouraged to ask questions: Who? Where? What? Why? When? How? Should? Could? Is/Are? And, by the time they reach the Senior Phase: If? The questions learners ask give teachers a good indication of prior knowledge, perceptions, interests, insights and concerns.

Language is an important element of both History and Geography. Different forms of text (oral, written and visual) are central to both disciplines. Learning takes place through interaction with these texts. It is important to remember that every teacher is a language teacher.

Similarly, writing is a skill that is developed through these two subjects. Learners should write regularly, with a clear progression in length and complexity through the grades. The CAPS language documents specify levels of requirement for writing and should be consulted throughout. Evidence of learner’s work, including assessments, should be kept in the learner’s notebook.

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  • Each learner should have a quality textbook and a neatly kept notebook. Textbooks must be suitable for the grade, context and language level of the learner. They should provide accurate content that is aimed at the development of the appropriate skills, concepts and values. Textbooks must include appropriate and adequate assessment activities. It should be noted that the order in which the content in the sub-topics is listed is a guideline only. LTSM writers need not cover these sub-topics in the exact order in which they appear in this document.
  • Every Social Sciences classroom should have wall maps, a globe, access to a set of atlases and adictionary, as well as access to a variety of reading books and visual material suitable for the grade.
  • Every teacher of Social Sciences should be familiar with the content to be taught, read widely on the contentof the topics for the term and prepare lessons carefully.

It is important to bring the world into the Social Sciences classroom. Visual resources can make information more accessible to many learners. Teachers should therefore:

  • have magazines and newspapers available in the classroom for learners to use in their activities and acquiresets of pictures for classroom activities;
  • try to obtain access to a TV/DVD and/or CD player to present appropriate audio and audio-visual material tolearners; and
  • try to use the Internet wherever possible. Many organisations and projects provide useful information through the Internet. Google Earth, for example, provides extensive aerial photographs. You-tube provides videos of many historical events.
  • Maps for map skills: It is important that learners work with maps of their own local area. The MapPack Project is part of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. It provides five free maps to every school on request. These include local maps – 1:10 000 orthophoto map (if available) and 1:50 000 topographic map, and then ‘zoom out’ to a 1:250 000 map (covering two-degree squares which include the local area), a provincial map (scale varies) and a national map (1:2 000 000).

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