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Mount Annan High School

Mount Annan High School

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HSIE Stage 6

HSIE Stage 6

Subjects Offered include;*

(* Please note subjects only run when a certain minimum number of students choose them as part of their pattern of study in Year 11 and 12. For this reason Economics and Geography have not run regularly in recent years.)


  1. Ancient History
  2. Business Studies
  3. Economics
  4. Geography
  5. Legal Studies
  6. Modern History
  7. Society and Culture

Ancient History Rationale

The study of history is an inquiry into past experience that helps make the present more intelligible. A study of the past is invaluable, for to be unaware of history is to be ignorant of those forces that have shaped our social and physical worlds. Through the study of ancient history, students learn both about the interaction of societies and the impact of individuals and groups on ancient events and ways of life. The study of ancient history gives students an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of comparing past to present and present to past by exposing them to a variety of perspectives on key events and issues. It also gives them opportunities to develop their own perspectives on the origins and influence of ideas, values and behaviours that are still relevant in the modern world.

Ancient History Stage 6 has a unique role in the school curriculum because it allows students to study and analyse past societies with a detachment conferred by the perspectives of at least two millennia. It draws on a variety of disciplines and sources, both written and archaeological, such as literary works, coins, inscriptions, art, architecture, artefacts and human remains, enabling students to piece together an informed and coherent view of the past. Because the amount of surviving evidence is relatively small, students are able to consider it in its entirety and thus weigh their own interpretations alongside those found in published secondary works, while noting how to deal with gaps in the evidence. In addition, it introduces students to scientific methods used in the historian's investigation of archaeological evidence.

Students study ancient history because it provides them with opportunities to satisfy their fascination and interest in the stories of the past and the mysteries of human behaviour. It allows them to develop and apply the research skills and methodologies of the historian and archaeologist. It equips students to question critically and interpret written and archaeological sources for the evidence they provide about the ancient world.

Through the study of ancient history, students develop knowledge and understanding of the similarities and differences between the various societies of the ancient past and the factors affecting change and continuity in human affairs.

A study of ancient history contributes to students' education, introducing them to a wide range of religious beliefs and customs, ideologies and other cultures. This broad knowledge encourages them to develop an appreciation and understanding of different views and makes them aware of how these views contribute to individual and group actions.

The study of ancient history raises significant contemporary ethical issues associated with present and future ownership, administration and presentation of the cultural past. It empowers students with knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes that are useful for their lifelong learning.

The skills, knowledge and understanding that students acquire through studying Ancient History Stage 6 make it a good introduction to the world of work and informed citizenship. This is because Ancient History Stage 6 teaches a critical and intelligent reading of events and documents, as well as the effective and fluent communication of narrative, detail, ideas and judgements.

Business Studies Rationale

Business activity is a feature of everyone's life. Throughout the world people engage in a web of business activities to design, produce, market, deliver and support a range of goods and services. In addition, investors, consumers and employees depend on the business sector for much of their quality of life.

As a course, Business Studies is distinctive in that it encompasses the theoretical and practical aspects of business in contexts which students will encounter throughout their lives. Conceptually, it offers learning from the planning of a small business to the management of operations, marketing, finance and human resources in large businesses. Through the analysis of contemporary business strategies the course also provides rigour and depth and lays an excellent foundation for students either in tertiary study or in future employment.

Contemporary business issues and case studies are embedded in the course to provide a stimulating and relevant framework for students to apply to problems encountered in the business environment. Students also investigate business planning and use a range of information to assess and evaluate business performance. The role of incentives, personal motivation and entrepreneurship, especially in small business, is recognised as a powerful influence in business success.

By completing this course students will develop general and specific skills, including research, analysis, problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking and communication. These skills enhance their confidence and ability to participate effectively, not only as members of the business world, but also as citizens dealing with issues emanating from business activity.

Business Studies fosters intellectual, social and moral development by assisting students to think critically about the role of business and its ethical responsibilities to society. In addition, a significant feature of Business Studies is its relevance to the full range of HSC students, as it provides useful knowledge and competencies for life.

Economics Rationale

Economic decisions have a crucial influence on the quality of life experienced by people throughout the world. The study of economics can help individuals, groups and societies make choices that assist them to improve their quality of life.

As a subject, Economics Stage 6 is distinctive because of the range of problems and issues that it investigates and the skills that it develops. A student who has completed the Preliminary and HSC courses should have knowledge and skills enabling them to:

  • comprehend the background and implications of contemporary economic issues
  • discuss appropriate policies to solve economic problems and issues
  • understand what a change in interest rates, share values or the value of the Australian dollar means to individuals and the economy
  • identify fluctuations in the global and Australian economies and their likely effects on business
  • understand reasons for changes in employment patterns
  • identify, using economic thinking, appropriate strategies to protect the natural environment.

The discipline of economics has a theoretical basis and economists often debate the relative merits of different theories when assessing economic issues and proposing solutions to economic problems, including economic modelling.

Discussion of economic issues dominates the media and politics. By understanding economics, students can make informed judgements about issues and policies and participate responsibly in decision-making.

Students will benefit from the study of economics if they engage in studies that include business, accounting and finance, media, law, marketing, employment relations, tourism, history, geography or environmental studies.

If selected as a specialisation at university, economics can lead to careers in:

  • share, finance or commodities markets
  • business
  • economic forecasting
  • banking
  • insurance
  • tourism
  • resource management
  • property development and management
  • government
  • environmental management
  • town planning
  • foreign affairs or economic policy development.

The study of Economics Stage 6 allows students to develop knowledge and understanding, skills, attitudes and values using subject matter and methodology that suit their interests. The course benefits students when they pursue further education and training, employment and active participation as citizens.

Geography Rationale

Geography is an investigation of the world which provides an accurate description and interpretation of the varied character of the earth and its people. It is a key discipline through which students develop the ability to recognise and understand environmental change and the interactions which take place in our world.

Geography has many dimensions, two of which are emphasised in this syllabus:

  • the ecological dimension considers how humans interact with environments
  • the spatial dimension focuses on where things are, why they are there and how people interact differently with environments in different places.

Geographers investigate the opportunities for human activities, the constraints placed upon them and the impacts of these activities. The study of Geography allows students to perceive the world in a variety of ways and helps them make sense of a complex and changing world.

In this syllabus the term environment describes the ‘total surroundings'. It includes biophysical interactions as well as people in their cultural, social, political and economic contexts. Geographers explore the spatial dimensions of environments examining linkages, flows, associations and patterns. Perceptions of the environment are also influenced by personal experience and information gained from the media and other information technology. These perceptions influence the way people interact with their surroundings affecting our use of resources, environmental management and our attitudes towards sustainability.

Geography is a life-long interest, stimulating a natural curiosity about how and why the world's people and their environments are so varied. There are four primary reasons why students should study the subject of Geography:

  • by definition, Geography provides knowledge of the earth and helps people to plan and make decisions about the spatial dimensions of the world
  • Geography provides an intellectual challenge to reach a deeper understanding of the variable character of life on our planet
  • with a strong grasp of Geography, students are well prepared to explore issues as informed citizens in a changing world
  • students of Geography develop skills and understandings transferable and applicable to the world of work.

Studies in both physical and human geography provide an important information base on which students investigate contemporary geographical issues to explore why spatial and ecological differences exist, the importance of effective management and how they may take an active role in shaping future society. Clarifying, analysing, acquiring and judging values and attitudes allows students to respond to geographical issues, questions and problems. Studying Geography Stage 6 prepares students for post-school studies and future employment, and for active participation as informed citizens.

Legal Studies Rationale

"There is a lot of loose talk in Australia about democracy, the rule of law and basic rights. Yet unless we educate future citizens concerning the broad outline of our laws, they may grow up feeling that law is alien to their experience. I want them to grow up insisting that the law must be just and modern and accepting the citizen's responsibility to ensure that this is so."
Michael Kirby AC CMG
Former Justice of the High Court of Australia

Our society is regulated by a complex set of rules and regulations which both guide and protect individual and community rights. Being well informed about legal issues, including the rights and responsibilities integral to our society, is part of being an active and informed citizen. Students of Legal Studies Stage 6 will develop an understanding of legal concepts and the way the law functions in our society.

The syllabus focuses on the way in which law is generated, how it is structured and how it operates in Australian and international contexts. Learning about our legal system will allow students to investigate the way our society operates and the influences that shape it.

Students will develop an understanding of the implications that legal decisions can have for Australian society and the ways in which the legal system can affect the lives of Australian citizens. A critical understanding of the processes of reform and change will help students to contribute to making our society more equitable for all.

The Legal Studies Stage 6 course offers excellent preparation for life through a study of the legal system, its principles, structures, institutions and processes. The course fosters respect for cultural diversity. It allows students to question and evaluate legal institutional structures in the domestic and international environments and to undertake a comparative analysis of other political and institutional structures.

Legal Studies enables students to have confidence in approaching and accessing the legal system and provides them with a better appreciation of the relationship between social and legal structures. The course will assist in the development of students' knowledge of their basic legal rights and responsibilities in a broad selection of contexts which appeal to their interests.

Legal Studies is situated in the key learning area (KLA) of Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE). The skills developed in the HSIE KLA empower students to become critical learners and thinkers.

The Legal Studies Stage 6 course also provides learning that prepares students for further education and training, employment and full and active participation as citizens in Australia and in the global society. Students gain the skills of critical analysis, independent research, collaboration, and effective communication.

Modern History Rationale

The study of Modern History is an inquiry into past human experience that helps make the present more intelligible. History has been described as a contested dialogue between past and present, where the concerns of the present illuminate a consideration of the past, while the experiences of the past contribute to an understanding of the present. The study of history allows students to perceive the world in a variety of ways as they develop powers of deduction and reasoning and learn to make sense of an increasingly complex global society.

The study of Modern History Stage 6 has a distinctive role in the school curriculum as it challenges students to consider the great social, technological, economic, political and moral transformations from the late eighteenth century to the present. It requires students to analyse the causes, progress and effects of these transformations and, finally, to make judgements about them. Modern History Stage 6 is especially relevant to the lives of students, as the events and issues that form its content are, in many cases, still current.

The study of Modern History Stage 6 also contributes to the development of skills that are of great importance in today's workforce. The fluent communication of thoughts and ideas gleaned from the critical analysis of primary and secondary sources is a sought after skill. The ability to deconstruct texts and narratives, pose intelligent questions, test hypotheses and make critical use of information technologies is essential to living and working in the twenty-first century.

Within the Australian context, the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes acquired through a study of Modern History Stage 6 are essential ingredients in the promotion of a democratic, harmonious, progressive and tolerant society. Modern History Stage 6 helps empower students to become responsible and active citizens who will recognise the factors affecting change and continuity in human affairs. This broad understanding encourages students to develop an appreciation of different views and to be aware of how such views contribute to individual and group actions in various local, national and international contexts.

Society and Culture Rationale

The central goal of Society and Culture Stage 6 is the development of social and cultural literacy and a clear understanding of the interaction of persons, societies, cultures, environments and time. The influence of other aspects of societies and cultures – including power, authority, identity, gender, technologies and globalisation – is also central to the course.

Society and Culture draws on cross-disciplinary concepts and social research methods from anthropology; communication; cultural and media studies; philosophy; social psychology; and sociology.

Society and Culture has direct relevance to the immediate needs of students and to their future lives by enabling them to develop understanding of:

  • themselves
  • their own society and culture
  • the societies and cultures of others.

Students are provided with essential concepts, skills, competencies and knowledge to encourage a process of independent thinking that can be used to explain patterns of behaviour, solve problems, and engage in and actively contribute to all levels of society.

Society and Culture is a conceptually based course that promotes students' awareness of the cultural continuities and changes within societies and cultures. It provides them with skills to critically analyse social theories and complementary and contrasting viewpoints about people, societies and cultures. Society and Culture promotes an awareness of individuals, groups and institutions and facilitates intercultural understanding and communication.

Society and Culture encourages students to manage their own learning, including opportunities to experience working within teams. In allowing students to study in areas of direct relevance to their lives, Society and Culture contributes greatly to the promotion of lifelong learning, providing opportunities for students to acquire a range of skills to support such learning.

The study of Society and Culture prepares students for adult life by developing knowledge, understanding, skills and other qualities associated with effective citizenship at local, national, regional and global levels. In so doing, it forms a basis for moving towards a more just society through positive participation in community life and attaining social and cultural literacy.