The teaching of human society and its environment in primary schools in the Hunter region of NSW

Year: 1995

Author: Reynolds, Ruth, Lewis, Ron

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

53 teachers from 27 different schools in the Hunter Region responded to a survey which examined primary school teachers' philosophy of teaching Human Society and Its Environment, as well as gaining information about how this Key Learning Area is taught in our Primary schools. The survey consisted of multiple choice and open ended questions. Follow up interviews were held with volunteers. Although the `social studies' area is seen in the USA as the `citizenship' area, Hunter teachers were not cognisant of this as an aim but rather saw it as area of research skill building. US research also points to the overwhelming influence of the textbook in US Primary schools whereas in the Hunter most teachers used no single textbook and 50% used personally devised units of work for their lessons. These, and other cultural differences, are discussed in the light of almost no research available in the Australian context, most of our information arriving from US sources, to guide implementation of the Studies of Society and Its Environment profiles in primary schools.