You are here

Trickle-down effects: How have developments in senior secondary school social studies shaped practice in junior secondary social studies?

Rowena Taylor
Abstract: 

Since the introduction of senior social studies for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA ) in 2002, some progress has been made towards developing a unique identity for the subject. This progress has clarified a number of unresolved tensions relating to the nature and purpose of social studies, which have recurred during its 65-year history in New Zealand. This paper will explore how recent developments in senior social studies can productively influence pedagogy in junior secondary school social studies classes, thus improving the credibility and status of the subject at both levels in the secondary school context.

Trickle-down effects: How have developments in senior secondary school social studies shaped practice in junior secondary social studies?

Rowena Taylor

Abstract

Since the introduction of senior social studies for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in 2002, some progress has been made towards developing a unique identity for the subject. This progress has clarified a number of unresolved tensions relating to the nature and purpose of social studies, which have recurred during its 65-year history in New Zealand. This paper will explore how recent developments in senior social studies can productively influence pedagogy in junior secondary school social studies classes, thus improving the credibility and status of the subject at both levels in the secondary school context.

Introduction

The introduction of senior social studies from 2002 for New Zealand’s new standards-based national credentialling system, NCEA,1 precipitated a closer look at the subject’s “nature and purpose” (Barr, 1998) by lead educators in the social studies community. It also encouraged teachers to adopt more effective pedagogies and has enhanced the academic credibility of the subject. This paper will identify the ways in which developments in senior social studies (Years 11–13) can impact—and reportedly have impacted—on teaching and learning in junior social studies classrooms (Years 9 and 10) in New Zealand secondary schools by examining five “trickle-down effects”:

an increased relevance to students’ lives

the clarification of an internal logic in the subject

an increase in curriculum fidelity

recognition of the need for specialist social studies teachers

recognition of the continued need for professional development.

Together these “flow-on effects” can only serve to clarify the nature and purpose of the subject, thereby enhancing its academic credibility and improving its traditionally low status in our secondary schools.

The data presented in this paper were gathered for my doctoral research, in which I evaluated the first 5 years’ implementation of senior social studies from 2002 to 2006. This research was the first on NCEA in relation to social studies. The data were gained from three sources:

interviews with seven lead educators with responsibilities at a national level

focus group meetings with four teachers of Level 12 social studies held over 4 days during a 12-month period in 2005–6

a postal survey of 45 teachers of Level 1 social studies in 2006.

In the postal survey of schools, Question 3.3 asked, “Do you regard your teaching of your junior social studies classes to be better as a result of teaching senior social studies?” Sixty-one percent of the respondents responded affirmatively to this question, 31 percent negatively and 7 percent did not respond. Twenty-four of the respondents provided voluntary comments to Question 3.3 in the space provided, many of which will be used in this paper, along with data from in-depth interviews with both lead educators and the four focus group teachers. Seventy-five percent of the volunteered responses to Question 3.3 reported that the teaching of senior social studies had improved practice in Years 9 and 10 social studies classrooms (Taylor, 2008). The contemporary focus on students inquiring into social justice issues—with emphases on exploring values, taking social action and developing conceptual understanding—is now common to both senior and junior social studies.

Framework for the paper

The five major trickle-down effects identified in my study are examined with reference to David Layton’s (1972) three-stage framework of progress towards subject maturity. Layton studied the introduction of science as a new subject in the British curriculum in the late 19th century. While his study may appear unrelated to contemporary social studies, the generic descriptors Layton constructed have been used by New Zealand social studies commentators (see, for example, Barr, 2000; Openshaw & Archer, 1992; Taylor, 2005, 2008) as benchmarks against which the progress of the subject’s development towards maturity has been measured.

In Layton’s continuum of a school subject’s development from a “callow intruder” to a mature subject, the first stage considers the subject as it first enters the timetable, the second stage as it develops higher levels of specialisation and credibility and the third stage as it reaches a level of widespread acceptance and maturity. This framework was used to make sense of the data from my study and to examine some of the recurring tensions experienced by the social studies community over the subject’s 65-year history as a compulsory core subject in Years 9 and 10 (formerly Forms 3 and 4) in New Zealand secondary schools (Taylor, 2008, 2009). Descriptors for each of the three stages are summarised below.

Layton’s stages towards subject maturity

Stage 1:

A callow intruder stakes its place in the timetable.

Learners are attracted because of the relevance to them.

Teachers are rarely trained specialists but bring missionary zeal to the task.

Stage 2:

A tradition of scholarly work emerges.

A corps of trained specialists emerges.

Students are attracted by its growing academic status.

The internal logic and discipline of the subject is influencing selection of the subject matter.

Stage 3:

Teachers constitute a professional body with established rules and laws.

The selection of subject matter is determined by specialist scholars.

Students’ attitudes approach passivity and resignation.

The subject acquires university status (added by Openshaw & Archer, 1992).

Source: Taylor (2008), adapted from Layton (1972)

Some of these descriptors are now used to examine the five trickle-down effects, which have the potential to inform teaching and learning in junior social studies.

Trickle-down effect one: An increased relevance to students’ lives

The relevance of the subject to students’ lives, a descriptor regarded by Layton (1972) as occurring during the first stage of a new subject, was the first trickle-down effect identified by the study. One lead educator in the study noted the importance of all learning making some link to students’ lives in New Zealand. Two aspects are considered here: the selection of contexts for study, and the pedagogies the teachers were using.

Contexts for study, such as contemporary social issues at a local, national and global scale (e.g., human rights, civil rights, child labour, competition for scarce resources and the impacts of conflict), were identified by teachers in the study, particularly in the focus group and postal survey. Their responses indicated students’ excitement over issues of substance and concern:

We do some really up-to-date and interesting topics, e.g., conflict, HIV.

… highly motivating topics of contemporary relevance.

... the biggest thing for me was 9/11. The kids came to school after that asking ‘Who is Osama bin Laden?’ ‘What are Al Qaeda?’ ‘Why did they do this?’ ... to me this was the turning point. It got our kids interested in what was happening overseas ... and then I could see the scope for senior social studies.

Social studies does have a social justice agenda and a concern for social cohesion (Mutch, Hunter, Milligan, Openshaw, & Siteine, 2008), which has informed the selection of contexts at the senior level. These concerns stem from the goal of “education for social responsibility” posited by Berman (1990), whereby a major purpose of education is working towards a “democratic, just and sustainable future” (Gilbert, 2004, p. 277), with students developing “a sense of social connectedness and resilience” (Mutch et al., 2008, p. 9). Such goals have been incorporated into The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC, Ministry of Education, 2007c), especially within the principles, values and key competencies. All New Zealand students, for example, are encouraged to become effective citizens through the key competency of participating and contributing in their communities (p. 13). Thus contemporary social studies is justified in taking an inquiry-based approach to social issues at the local, national and global levels. Selecting contemporary issues as contexts for enacting a social justice agenda can easily be adopted in junior classrooms—and frequently is. For example, studies of social issues such as child labour and other human rights abuses are typically studied in Years 9 and 10. An issues- rather than topic-based approach has been advocated in recent curriculum developments (for example, Ministry of Education, 2008a).

Effective pedagogies for exploring contemporary social issues have been encapsulated within four guiding principles or “mechanisms”3 resulting from a survey of international literature reported in Effective Pedagogies in Social Sciences/Tikanga-ā-iwi: Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) (Aitken & Sinnema, 2008). The four mechanisms have been widely adopted in both senior and junior social studies in recent years and support the conclusions of my research. In particular, the mechanisms of connection to students’ lives, the relevance of learning, and building and sustaining a learning community resonate with the findings in this section. For example, findings reported in the study indicate that students generally engage well with human interest stories of injustice and social equity issues.

The collaborative pedagogies employed by many teachers of senior social studies to discuss and debate social issues enable them to “build and sustain a learning community” (Aitken & Sinnema, 2008, p. 133) within their classes. Through strategies such as students dressing up to get into role or creating a talkback show, issues such as the “Irish debate” came alive for students. While conferring on strategies for discussing social issues, focus group teachers indicated that teachers of senior social studies are confident engaging students in debating real issues that interest them because the issues are relevant to their lives. One lead educator articulated this as follows:

I think social studies is a subject that should encompass different opinions and it should allow students to be able to voice them comfortably ... some of my students thrive in social studies because they have strong opinions and it’s the one subject they really do well in because they have an opinion.

Examining social issues encourages the use of social inquiry pedagogies such as the exploration of values and perspectives of people involved in the issues, as well as discussions about and possible participation in social action. Senior social studies developments, including the Guide Notes on Values, Perspectives and Concepts (Ministry of Education 2007a, 2007b, 2008b) and the publication of NZC (Ministry of Education, 2007c) have also helped to clarify components of Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum that were not well understood in past years, such as values exploration and social decision making (Education Review Office, 2001; Keown, 1998; Taylor & Atkins, 2005), but are vital in any robust debate of social justice issues. The use of such pedagogies is now widely accepted in junior social studies, with further validation of these pedagogies through the Best Evidence Synthesis and the Building Conceptual Understandings in the Social Sciences series (Ministry of Education, 2008a, 2009). These publications, which are widely available, are providing these teachers and their colleagues with more confidence to engage in such teaching and learning experiences.

Trickle-down effect two: The clarification of the internal logic of the subject

The second trickle-down effect reflects one of Layton’s (1972) stage two descriptors: “The internal logic and discipline of the subject is influencing selection of the subject matter” (p. 11). Social studies as a subject in New Zealand has struggled to establish an internal logic and sense of coherence due to its lack of a clearly defined body of knowledge:

One of the most persistent challenges the subject has faced is that it does not have a commonly agreed distinctive purpose and an associated knowledge base. (Aitken, 2005, p. 85)

Further, Aitken (2005) and Openshaw (2004) have argued that the lack of identity and unique purpose were not resolved over the course of several periods of curriculum development. Similar tensions have occurred in states in Australia, with Studies of Society and Environment (introduced from 1991) being replaced by history and geography for new entrants to Grade 12 in 2011.4

The following section outlines four ways in which developments in senior social studies have clarified the internal logic of the subject, in addition to the social justice agenda outlined above, by: (i) enabling an explanation of the benefits of the low level of prescription; (ii) enabling criticisms of social studies to be countered; (iii) facilitating and legitimising conceptual learning; and (iv) providing strategies for integration, including the provision of a unifying theme.

For a start, social studies has traditionally been characterised as a “soft” subject because of its low level of prescription (Bernstein, 1971). According to Bernstein, the subject has blurred, permeable boundaries and stands in “open relation” to other subjects. This is in contrast with the “hard” subjects, which are traditionally more highly prescribed and have relatively “closed” boundaries. Also, a subject like social studies deals with the “commonsense everyday community knowledge of the pupil, his family and peer group” (Bernstein, 1971, p. 58) rather than the specialised “uncommonsense educational knowledge” (p. 58) of more highly prescribed, closed, “hard” subjects. The low level of prescription has been a major factor in the subject’s traditional low status in secondary schools (Barr, 1998, 2000; Openshaw & Archer, 1992). Social studies’ low level of prescription was, however, appreciated by the senior social studies teachers interviewed in the focus group, who regarded the openness and choice as refreshing compared to the constraints of their more tightly prescribed parent disciplines, such as geography and history.

Second, social studies has traditionally been derided as “a dash of this and a dash of that” (Meikle, interviewed by Openshaw, 1991, p. 17), “a compendium of clichés” (Education Forum, 1996, p. viii) and a ragbag of vaguely related activities in time and space:

I see no sense of continuity ... no sense of sequence, or perspective, and little awareness of causal relationships ... we see at its worst the disturbing practice of blithely skipping centuries and continents as problems are pursued. (Stone, 1963, p. 28)

The historical derision of social studies as a subject in the junior secondary school—resulting from its contested genesis, lack of a unique identity and lack of commitment from a large group of social studies teachers whose loyalties lie with their university or academic discipline (parent discipline)—has left teachers feeling confused and as if they are teaching a second-tier, low-status subject (Taylor, 2008). The enthusiasm and knowledge engendered by committed senior social studies educators will potentially counter this trend and help teachers of junior classes to advocate for their subject with a more solid foundation. In fact, exactly half of the respondents to my postal survey reported that they were offering Level 1 social studies to Year 10 classes for extension purposes, with the intention that this would encourage success in history and geography in succeeding years, while the other half were offering Level 1 to Year 11 specialist senior social studies classes (Taylor, 2008, p. 74).

Third, new conceptions of knowledge (see, for example, Gilbert, 2005) have legitimated the conceptual focus of the subject. Social studies has had a long history as a conceptual curriculum, with the Social Studies Syllabus Guidelines Forms 14 (Department of Education, 1977) drawing on the ideas of American Hilda Taba. Taba was a developmentalist, who considered that students would achieve self-actualisation through understanding concepts rather than memorising facts and figures (Keen, 1979). More recently, in relation to New Zealand social studies, Barr, Graham, Hunter, Keown and McGee (1997), Milligan and Wood (2010), Mutch et al. (2008) and the Ministry of Education (2007c) have emphasised both the importance and difficulties of a curriculum based on conceptual learning. This has resulted in terms such as conceptual understanding being added to some of the official documentation for NCEA (e.g., AS90217 “Conduct a social studies inquiry to communicate conceptual understandings about society”5). One teacher in the study noted that her teaching was about “understanding and ideas rather than [being] content driven”.

Finally, the integrated nature of the subject needs clarification. The lack of guidance on integration, with few integrating strategies being provided for teachers, has been an ongoing concern (Evison, 1963; Keen, 1979; McGee, 1998). Early pioneer Phoebe Meikle argued that “We must have a unifying coherent philosophy or our work in the classroom will lack direction, conviction and force” (Meikle, 1960, p. 10). The parent discipline of many secondary social studies teachers has tended to strongly influence the way they teach social studies. Examples of senior social studies topics with a distinctively geographic or historical flavour reported by focus group teachers in my study included tourism developments on Kapiti Island and a historical study of Parihaka. Both geography and social studies tend to select the same issues, such as HIV/AIDS and landmines, based on commercial resources produced by organisations such as World Vision. On the other hand, many of the contexts selected were issues based (Taylor, 2008, pp. 115–116). Although some progress appears to have been made in the selection of social issues as integrating contexts for study within junior social studies classes, and in the adoption of a social inquiry process as an integrating strategy, there is still a need to acknowledge the integrative nature of social studies and its uniqueness as a subject in its own right rather than as introductory history or geography.

Trickle-down effect three: An increase in curriculum fidelity

The focus on the internal logic and discipline of the subject (discussed above) leads on to consideration of the third trickle-down effect: the alignment of pedagogy and assessment with curriculum requirements. The original achievement standards for NCEA social studies were based on Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1997), which was a complex document whose various iterations followed the publication of the highly regarded and widely adopted (Murrow & Bennie, 1993; Mutch et al., 2008) Handbook for Social Studies Teachers Form 3 & 4 (Ministry of Education, 1991). Evidence that Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum was not well understood (Cubitt, 2005), nor used in the manner that was intended by the curriculum writers, was articulated by one lead educator:

I was not a good junior social studies teacher … I was not a social-studies-focused teacher. I was an English and history teacher … I hated social studies when I first started having to do it. I mean here you’d get the textbook and you’d work your way through … I could never see where I was going because there was no sort of scheme, unit plan. I had no idea about the curriculum document and I think that happens in lots of schools. So once I got into senior social studies and it was really only then that I got into the curriculum document … now I carry it around 24/7… I began to realise that it’s a damned good subject and I hadn’t been doing it very good. You know, it’s four years ago, it’s embarrassing, isn’t it?

Aspects of curriculum fidelity noted by the teachers who responded affirmatively to Question 3.3 in the postal survey included clarification around the perspectives (seven mentions), the role of the concepts (six mentions) and the processes (four mentions). Comments included, “Working at the senior level helped clarify the curriculum document at junior level; helped with research at junior level.” The importance of constructive alignment to the curriculum was also noted: “Importance of addressing the strand and process achievement objectives”. A lead educator reported:

Senior social studies often throws up gaps in understanding for teachers who for many years taught Year 9 and 10 social studies. So, you know, ‘I can do that because I’ve taught social studies for years’ but having to look closely at the curriculum, and align the assessment with the curriculum … I think for some people that [has been] a new revelation.

A number of documents released during and since my study support the notion of curriculum fidelity. For example, The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars: Social Studies (Ministry of Education, 2004) was instrumental in clarifying many components of Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum. The New Zealand Curriculum and Building Conceptual Understandings in the Social Sciences have also incorporated lessons learnt by the senior social studies community to reflect the Best Evidence Synthesis mechanism of “Alignment to important outcomes” (Aitken & Sinnema, 2008, p. 83). Thus there is evidence that the social studies community is gradually trickling down the lessons learnt from senior social studies and other developments about the intent of the curriculum.

Trickle-down effect four: Recognition of the need for specialist social studies teachers

The fourth trickle-down effect considers teacher capacity and reflects Layton’s stage two descriptor “A corps of trained specialists is emerging” (1972, p. 11). The need for subject specialists has been an historical issue in social studies in New Zealand secondary schools. Phoebe Meikle was frustrated by the assumption made in secondary schools in the 1950s and 1960s that “anyone can teach social studies ... providing that they have some spare slots in their timetable” (1994, p. 108). That anyone can teach social studies has been a continual source of tension for heads of social studies departments. As one focus group teacher reported, “I think it is getting harder [in our school] for just ‘anyone’ to teach social studies without significant upskilling.

Thirty years ago, after the publication of the Forms 1–4 syllabus (Department of Education, 1977), Neville Northover (1980) argued:

In every respect the ‘new’ social studies is a very demanding subject, that requires highly trained and skilful teachers of a mature personality and outlook —and they need a school climate that is in keeping with the aims of back-up services. (p. 16)

More recently, an Education Review Office report (2006) noted that only 20 percent of primary school teachers are effective teachers of social studies (p. 1). Further, the National School Sampling Survey (McGee et al., 2002) discovered that 21 percent of secondary school social science teachers of Years 9 to 13 held no formal qualifications in any of the social science subjects at that time; 60 percent held a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and 19 percent a master’s degree or higher in social sciences (p. 23).

The introduction of senior social studies has established a small core of enthusiastic practitioners who define themselves as social studies specialists. In my study, only 22 percent of the respondents to the postal survey had undertaken all of their NCEA induction and professional learning in social studies and 17 percent some of their NCEA induction and professional learning. These teachers represent the core group of social studies specialists. Sixty-one percent of respondents had trained in another subject, such as geography, history or English, or not at all. Of these, geography was the most common university (parent) discipline and teaching subject (Taylor, 2008). The committed social studies specialists were more likely to be teaching the subject through to Level 3 (ages 1718).

Trickle-down effect five: The recognition of the need for professional support

Layton (1972) regarded the establishment of “a professional body with established rules and laws” (p. 11) as the hallmark of a mature subject (stage three). In fact the social studies community in New Zealand has had a professional body since 1986, 4 years earlier than the history teachers. The Aotearoa New Zealand Federation of Social Studies Associations has served as the professional body at both the regional and national level. Evidence from my study of senior social studies teachers seeking guidance from the organisation was limited to 11 percent of the postal survey respondents, who reported that they received ongoing support from their local association. Only one regional association was mentioned (Waikato). No one indicated that they referred to the New Zealand Journal of Social Studies. This journal was initiated in 1992 by staff members at the University of Waikato and held an important role in keeping the community informed, but it has ceased production in recent years due to lack of copy.

The low level of resourcing in social studies has been a consistent theme throughout its history. The role of the Ministry of Education in providing ongoing professional support, both face to face and electronically, and of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) in disseminating information came in for considerable criticism in my study. Meetings of senior social studies leaders held jointly by the ministry and in 2006, and the subsequent publication of the three sets of Guide Notes on the Perspectives, Concepts and Values (Ministry of Education 2007a, 2007b, 2008b), have helped clarify key terms that were not well defined in Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum (Education Forum, 1996). The leaders also grappled with the term perspectives, which is used in different ways among the social sciences. Question 4.3 in the postal survey about the Guide Notes revealed that 74 percent of teachers had accessed these notes, although fewer than 50 percent of these teachers said they had found them helpful. In effect, professional development in the early years of senior social studies development helped clarify both a conceptual and an analytical framework, which had been clearly defined in Social Studies in the New Zealand Curriculum but had not been effectively adopted by social studies teachers (Cubitt, 2005).

The widespread availability of content material on the World Wide Web has been embraced by many senior social studies teachers, but guidance in terms of planning and pedagogical content knowledge was reported to be still needed. Teachers of senior social studies have had to be very resourceful due to the absence of textbooks for their subject, creating their own teaching resources from the Internet: “As with most of the social studies course it is a requirement to use very up-to-date material that is both costly and time-consuming”; “We don’t use textbooks any more, we create our own resources.”

This level of resourcefulness at the senior level can also trickle down to junior social studies to supplement the textbooks and other resources in existence. The failure to maintain the Social Studies Online site after 2004 has been difficult for teachers of senior social studies, with 40 percent of responses to the postal survey revealing a strong reliance on this Ministry of Education site. The replacement, Social Sciences Online,6 was not launched until September 2009, creating a 5-year hiatus during a time of considerable change and a need for support at both levels.

Thus the major trickle-down effects for junior social studies have enabled progress to be made in developing the subject discourse; that is, the ways of knowing and doing things that are already well developed in the parent disciplines, especially geography and history. This deep epistemological knowledge is frequently gained by teachers during their intense university study in one or two disciplines, but there is no equivalent social studies programme in universities. The lack of a linked university discipline was also reported by focus group teachers to be a reason for the low status of the subject and reflects the fact that it has not reached stage three of Layton’s model. No doubt concerns about the lack of a clear explication of the “nature and purpose” of social studies raised by Barr (1998) stems from this absence of a university subject in social studies.

Trickle effects can go up as well as down. Teachers in the study agreed that having a strong junior social studies department provided a good basis for implementing senior social studies. This trickle-up was expressed in responses from the postal survey, such as:

We have specifically chosen more ‘inspirational’ teachers in Year 10 social studies to encourage students into senior social studies

and from a lead educator:

I think if social studies is being done well in the junior school of a secondary school there is more potential for it to grow in the senior school because there’s the passion and there’s the enthusiasm and there’s somebody there who understands the curriculum and can make it dynamic. But if social studies is flat in the junior school, it won’t grow.

One teacher reported that the introduction of senior social studies enabled students to specialise in the social sciences (“Students can become complete social scientists”), while two teachers out of the four in the focus group were offering Level 1 social studies to their more able Year 10 students to keep them in the social sciences.

Conclusion

This paper has identified five (potential or actual) trickle-down effects of social studies pedagogy at a junior level in the secondary school as the result of the introduction of senior social studies. These productive links have been examined with reference to Layton’s (1972) continuum of stages towards subject maturity. Social studies commentators (e.g., Barr, 2000; Openshaw & Archer, 1992) have doubted that the subject would get beyond stage two, while Taylor (2005, 2008) was optimistic that the implementation of senior social studies would be the defining factor in the subject reaching stage three maturity and establishing a greater level of credibility in secondary schools. A number of unresolved historical tensions (Taylor, 2008), discussed within the five trickle-down effects, have been addressed during the developments in senior social studies. These developments have had various levels of success in terms of clarifying practice in junior social studies classrooms and would benefit from further research. Clearly, level three of Layton’s model has not been reached, as was anticipated by the introduction of senior social studies (Taylor, 2005).

It is hoped that the lessons learnt by the community and associated developments during the first decade of NCEA implementation will continue to trickle down to improve pedagogy in junior social studies classrooms. The number of schools offering senior social studies remains modest (30 percent of secondary schools offered one or more social studies achievement standards to students in 2005; this grew to 36 percent in 20107) but sufficient to have an impact on junior social studies.

The development of senior social studies has clarified the nature of the discipline as an integrated social sciences subject, but this has not always been enacted by teachers whose major priority has been their academic or parent discipline (history and/or geography). Contemporary social issues arguably serve as a relevant integrating theme, with social inquiry a relevant integrating strategy. The purpose of social studies has also been strongly reinforced as “educating for social responsibility” (Berman, 1990): engaging students in debating contemporary social issues at the local, national and global scale, with goals of equity, social cohesion and social justice being paramount. The clarified nature and purpose of social studies align with the overall goals of NZC (Ministry of Education, 2007c) and deserve academic credibility within a 21st century educational context.

References

Aitken, G. (2005). The purpose and substance of social studies: Citizenship education possibilities. In P. Benson & R. Openshaw (Eds.), Towards effective social studies (pp. 85–112). Palmerston North: Kanuka Grove Press.

Aitken, G., & Sinnema, C. (2008). Effective pedagogy in social sciences/Tikanga-ā-iwi: Best evidence synthesis iteration [BES]. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Barr, H. (1998). The nature of social studies. In P. Benson & R. Openshaw (Eds.), New horizons in New Zealand social studies. Palmerston North: ERDC Press.

Barr, H. (2000). Social studies: Real subject or politically correct nonsense? New Zealand Journal of Social Studies, 9(1), 6–11.

Barr, H., Graham, J., Hunter, P., Keown, P., & McGee, J. (1997). A position paper: Social studies in the New Zealand school curriculum. Hamilton: School of Education, University of Waikato.

Berman, S. (1990). Educating for social responsibility. Educational Leadership, 48(3), 75–80.

Bernstein, B. (1971). On the classification and framing of educational knowledge. In M. F. D. Young (Ed.), Knowledge and control: New directions for the sociology of education (pp. 47–69). London: Collier-Macmillan.

Cubitt, S. (2005). Understanding social studies: Addressing the challenges posed by recent reviews of the curriculum statement. In P. Benson & R. Openshaw (Eds.), Towards effective social studies (pp. 5–18). Palmerston North: Kanuka Grove Press.

Department of Education. (1977). Social studies syllabus guidelines: Forms 1–4. Wellington: Government Printer.

Education Forum. (1996). Social studies in the New Zealand curriculum. Auckland: Education Forum.

Education Review Office. (2001). The New Zealand curriculum: An ERO perspective: Part 4. Wellington: Author.

Education Review Office. (2006). The quality of teaching in Years 4 and 8: Social studies. Wellington: Author.

Evison, H. C. (1963). History or social studies? Difficulties of integration. NZPPTA Journal, VI(4), 23–25.

Gilbert, J. (2005). Catching the knowledge wave? The knowledge society and the future of education. Wellington: NZCER Press.

Gilbert, R. (2004). Resources, work and enterprise. In R. Gilbert (Ed.), Studying society and environment: A guide for teachers (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Thomson Press.

Keen, D. (1979). A study of the relationship between the history and social studies curricula in New Zealand secondary schools. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Waikato.

Keown, P. (1998). Values and social action: Doing the hard bits. In P. Benson & R. Openshaw (Eds.), New horizons in New Zealand social studies (pp. 137–160). Palmerston North: ERDC Press.

Layton, D. (1972). Science as general education. Trends in Education, 7, 11–15.

McGee, C., Jones, A., Cowie, B., Hill, M., Miller, T., Harlow, A., et al. (2002).  Curriculum Stocktake: National School Sampling Survey. Teachers’ experiences in curriculum implementation in social studies. Report to the Ministry of Education. Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved 18 October 2011, from http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/curriculum/13939

McGee, J. (1998). Curriculum in conflict: Historical development of citizenship in social studies. In P. Benson & R. Openshaw (Eds.), New horizons for New Zealand social studies (pp. 43–62). Palmerston North: ERDC Press.

Meikle, P. (1960). What is social studies? Opening address at South Island refresher course, August 1959. NZPPTA Journal, IV(4), 9–11.

Meikle, P. (1994). Accidental life. Auckland: Auckland University Press.

Milligan, A., & Wood, B. (2010). Conceptual understandings as transition points: Making sense of a complex world. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 42(4), 487–501.

Ministry of Education. (1991). Handbook for social studies teachers Form 3 & 4. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (1997). Social studies in the New Zealand curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (2004). The New Zealand curriculum exemplars: Social studies. Wellington: Learning Media/The Learning Centre Trust.

Ministry of Education. (2007a). Guide notes: Assessment of concepts in senior social studies. Retrieved 13 October 2011, from http://www.tki.org.nz/r/ncea/socstud-conceptguidenotes_28feb07.pdf

Ministry of Education. (2007b). Guide notes: Assessment of the perspectives in senior social studies. Retrieved 13 October 2011, from http://www.tki.org.nz/r/ncea/socstud-perspectiveguidenotes_28feb07.pdf

Ministry of Education. (2007c). The New Zealand curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (2008a). Approaches to social inquiry. Wellington: Learning Media.

Ministry of Education. (2008b). Guide notes: Social studies values achievement standards. Retrieved 13 October 2011, from http://www.tki.org.nz/r/ncea/socstud_valuesresource_12jun08.pdf

Ministry of Education. (2009). Approaches to building conceptual understandings. Retrieved from http://ssol.tki.org.nz/

Murrow, K., & Bennie, N. (1993). Social studies, 14 years on: An evaluation of the Handbook for Teachers of Form 3 and 4 Social Studies. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Mutch, C., Hunter, P., Milligan, A., Openshaw, R., & Siteine, A. (2008). Understanding the social sciences as a learning area. Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from http://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/Media/Files/UV-files/Understanding-the-social-sciences-as-a-learning-area-A-position-paper-February-2008

Northover, N. (1980). What happened to social studies? Social Studies Observer, 13(1), 13–17.

Openshaw, R. (1991). Schooling in the 40’s and 50’s: An oral history: Social studies, reading, mathematics. Palmerston North: Massey University Educational Research and Development Centre.

Openshaw, R. (2004). Able to take their part? Social studies and the curriculum framework. In A. M. O’Neill, J. Clark, & R. Openshaw (Eds.), Reshaping culture, knowledge and learning: Policy and content in the New Zealand curriculum framework (pp. 265–282). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Openshaw, R., & Archer, E. (1992). The battle for social studies in the New Zealand secondary school 1942–1964. In R. Openshaw (Ed.), New Zealand social studies: Past, present and future (pp. 49–64). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Stone, R. C. J. (1963). Humane studies are not enough. NZPPTA Journal, X(6), 27–29.

Taylor, R. (2005). Credible subject or callow intruder? Social studies in the secondary school. New Zealand Annual Review of Education, 15, 169–186.

Taylor, R. (2008). Teachers’ conflicting responses to change: An evaluation of the implementation of senior social studies for the NCEA, 20022006. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Massey University.

Taylor, R. (2009, September). How can lessons learned from senior social studies developments inform teaching and learning in Year 9 and 10 social studies classrooms? Unpublished paper presented to SocCon09 Connecting Communities: Social Sciences on the Local and Global Stage conference, Christchurch.

Taylor, R., & Atkins, R. (2005). Putting the “values” back into the values exploration process. In P. Benson & R. Openshaw (Eds.), Towards effective social studies (pp. 131–146). Palmerston North: Kanuka Grove Press.

The author

Rowena Taylor is a senior lecturer in social sciences education at Massey University College of Education. After a career in primary and secondary school teaching she has been involved in initial teacher education for 11 years. She has had a long involvement with subject associations, especially the Aotearoa New Zealand Federation of Social Studies Associations, and was the conference director of the inaugural combined social sciences conference, SocCon, in 2005. Her research interests are in social studies education, especially in the secondary school sector.

Email: R.M.Taylor@massey.ac.nz

Notes

1For further details on NCEA, see: http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/qualifications/ncea

2Level 1 is the first step, offered in Years 10 and 11, ages 15–16.

3The four Best Evidence Synthesis mechanisms are: (i) making connections to students’ lives; (ii) aligning experiences to important outcomes; (iii) building and sustaining a learning community; (iv) designing experiences that interest learners.

4Australia Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, see: http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum.html

5From the NCEA Level 1 Social Studies Achievement Standards, see: http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/ncea/assessment/search.do?query=Social+Studies+&view=achievements&level=01

6Social Sciences Online, see: http://ssol.tki.org.nz

7Bill Shortis, Team Leader, Psychometrics, Statistics & Reporting Team, Qualifications Division, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, personal communication, 12 August 2011.