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Learning programme design

Design learning programmes that challenge students to engage with social issues, explore values, act to improve society, and build a career pathway.

Considerations to guide planning | Approaches to programme design

Planning a programme

A balanced senior social studies programme would incorporate a student-centred approach that will meet the needs and interests of the learners, use appropriate instructional strategies and learning and assessment opportunities.

Planning needs to be flexible to allow for students who are going to study senior social studies right through from level 6 to level 8 of the curriculum, as well as those who begin studying senior social studies at any level and maybe for only one year.

Considerations to guide your planning process

  • What are the interests of the students who are connected, mobile and seeking authentic experiences?
  • What knowledge, understandings and competencies do the students already have?
  • What are the goals and aspirations of the students, including career pathways?
  • What knowledge and understandings do you have of senior social studies? Consider areas of expertise. Personal stories are powerful in engaging learners.
  • What resources are available, including financial and human, such as visiting experts?
  • Consider how much time you and your students have through the school year, how much timetable contact time you have with your students.
  • Consider what commitments students have out of school like sports, employment and extra responsibilities within the school, and social demands.
  • What contexts and content are other learning areas using that could align with a social studies programme?
  • What are the high interest or highly significant current issues at local, national and international level that might engage your students and prompt social action?
  • How can you link with your local community (particularly Māori) and access the rich resources there?
  • What opportunities do your social studies students have to engage with the wider community?

Approaches to programme design

Effective teachers of senior social studies choose planning approaches that best suit their students’ strengths and needs.

Blend of some/all achievement objectives, theme based, and cross-curricula

Each of these approaches could be be used to plan a one-year course, a two-year course, or a module within a one-semester programme as well as a three-year sequential programme.

The challenge is to develop a learning programme that inspires students and equips them to be reflective, informed and active participants in society.

Last updated November 28, 2010