Humanities and Social Sciences

The humanities are concerned with developing a foundation for exploring and understanding the human experience through exploring, investigating and interpreting. At the SISHK Secondary section, we do this through the subjects of History and Geography. The Humanities Department aims to foster disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning in students through analytical and critical thinking in the humanities and the social sciences. By equipping students to think critically and independently, they are empowered to appreciate multiple perspectives and become principled and reflective global citizens.

Economics at SISHK is available at IGCSE and Diploma level and SISHK adopts a student-centred approach to the subject.

Students have ample opportunities to work in teams to discuss pertinent economic concepts and issues, to participate in class discussions and debates, to carry out research work and to present their ideas in class. The course is further enriched with field trips and workshops.

“Geographical study provides a framework for children, to explore their own and others’ values and the impact of these, particularly in terms of the conflicts of different interests and to understand the potential outcomes of their actions in the environment.”

S Catling, Geography Education (1992)

Geographical education is valuable in deepening and broadening our students’ horizons to enable them to understand about the types and characteristics of the range of physical and human environments. By investigating the physical-human interactions between and within places, our students can become aware of the processes involved in creating and sustaining these environments. In the process, they will develop values and attitudes critical to their roles as global citizens in a rapidly changing world. They will have a deeper appreciation of issues such as the scarcity of resources and the fragility of the physical-human environments. Geographical skills and foundation knowledge are introduced at both Secondary 1 and Secondary 2 (Year 8 & Year 9).

The Lower Secondary Geography syllabuses will enable students to acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills to understand and explain physical and human phenomena; and other contemporary environmental and social issues that occur in different places and cultures. Equipped with the skills of gathering and analysing information, and an inquiring mind to seek answers to issues affecting our lives and the world we live in, geography students will be prepared for their roles as informed citizens in the 21st century. The subject also imbibes in students an awareness of appropriate attitudes and values that promotes a positive geographical future; one that ensures the sustainability of our resources, people, country, and planet. Case studies and examples are used to explicitly highlight the physical-human relationships and to illustrate important concepts and values. Geographical skills like atlas skills, map reading skills and photograph interpretation will also be emphasised.

At the Upper Secondary level (Year 10 & Year 11), the IGCSE Geography syllabus is offered to students. Through the study of Geography, it is hoped that students will develop a ‘sense of place’ by looking at the world around them on a local, regional and global scale. Students will examine a range of natural and man-made environments, and learn about some of the processes which affected their development. They will also look at the ways in which people interact with their environment, and the opportunities and challenges an environment can present, thereby gaining a deeper insight into the different communities and cultures that exist around the world. The full syllabus can be found on the website of Cambridge Assessment International Education.

At the IBDP level (Year 12 & Year 13),  the aims of the geography syllabus at SL and HL are to enable students to develop an understanding of the interrelationships between people, places, spaces and the environment. Through this, students will also  develop a concern for human welfare and the quality of the environment, and an understanding of the need for planning and sustainable management. As such, students will appreciate the relevance of geography in analysing contemporary issues and challenges, and develop a global perspective of diversity and change.

“History teaching…makes things more rather than less complicated and this is one of its greatest strengths. It raises issues of causation, consequence, motivation and interpretation. It challenges children’s views of progress and humanity. It provides a context in which to explore some of the fundamental issues facing society.”

Husbands, Kitson & Pendry, Understanding History Teaching (2003)

History is an inquiry into the past. The study of History helps students to see their place in time, where they come from, and their relationship to other communities, societies and the world at large. It enables students to appreciate human endeavours and achievements of the past. It helps to build national identity and strengthen citizenship values. In this era of globalisation, the study of History enables students to adopt a global perspective and understand the complexity of the world we live in. History@SISHK adopts a thematic and issues-based approach that provides students with a balance of local, regional and international histories spanning from ancient to modern to contemporary times.

Overview of History taught at SISHK

The Lower Secondary History (Year 8 & Year 9) syllabus aims to provide students with an understanding of fundamental historical concepts and skills required in the study of History, and a knowledge of the key developments and forces that shaped the ancient past. Opportunities are provided for students to engage in enquiry-based learning through the use of sources. For Secondary 1, a thematic approach structured along key historical concepts is adopted for the study of Ancient History, providing students with a grounding of fundamental historical concepts and skills for the study of History at the other levels. For Secondary 2, a chronological-thematic approach structured along distinct phases of Singapore’s history is adopted for the study of the History of Singapore (1942 to 1971), providing students with a grounding of fundamental historical concepts and skills for the study of History at the other levels. A 10-weeks depth study on ‘The Holocaust’ is intended to help students use evidence to assess how and why the Holocaust came about and what relevance it has in today’s world.

At the Upper Secondary level (Year 10 & Year 11), students sit for the IGCSE History syllabus which aims not only to cultivate in students an appreciation of the historical events and forces that shaped the world that we live in but an understanding of the nature and use of historical evidence. In the process, it is hope that studying History will stimulate students’ interest in and enthusiasm about the past. The full syllabus can be found on the website of Cambridge Assessment International Education.

In Years 12 & 13, students sit for the IBDP History syllabus which aims to initiate students into the methodology and practice involved in the study of history. Emphasis will be placed on exemplifying the methodology in the discipline of history in the context of 20th century world history and 19th and 20th century East Asian history. This is done through understanding the past by engaging with it through the selection, interpretation and critical evaluation of primary historical sources and through the work of historians. Through the course, students will appreciate the tentative nature of historical knowledge and understanding in the light of new and available historical evidence, and as each generation reflects on the past.