Human Society and Its Environment involves the study of people, cultures, societies and environments. It encompasses people and environments, both human and natural, over time.


At Tenterfield High School, students enhance their sense of personal, community, national and global identity. The study of Human Society and its Environment enables them to participate effectively in maintaining and improving the quality of their society and environment, on both a local and global level.


Stage 4 and Stage 5 Human Society and its Environment include History and Geography. These areas provide students with the understanding and knowledge necessary to select Commerce in Stage 5, and Aboriginal Studies, Ancient History, Business Studies, Geography, Legal Studies and Modern History in Stage 6.


History is a process of inquiry into the past that allows students to locate themselves in the broad continuum of human experience. It enables students to appreciate and enjoy the human endeavours and achievements of the past, both for their own interest and for their legacy to later generations. History provides opportunities for students to explore human actions in a range of historical contexts and encourages them to develop understanding of motivation, causation, consequence and empathy.


The study of History enables students to critically analyse and interpret sources of evidence in order to construct reasoned explanations, hypothesise about the past, and develop a rational and informed argument. History also enables students to understand, deconstruct and evaluate differing interpretations of the past. The study of history equips students with the ability to understand and evaluate the political, cultural and social events and issues that have shaped the world around them. The study of history in both mandatory and elective courses provides students with the knowledge and skills essential for their future roles as active, informed citizens, and advocates for a fair and just society.


Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.


At Tenterfield High School, students are able to critically assess the ideas and opinions of others and to form and express their own ideas and arguments. In so doing it establishes a basis for active participation in community life, ecological sustainability, creating a just society, promoting intercultural understanding and lifelong learning. Through the study of civics and citizenship, students develop knowledge of the decision-making processes that exist at a variety of scales, which informs them of ways they can participate as responsible and informed members of society.


Students develop a wide range of skills such as gathering, organising and evaluating geographical information from a variety of sources, including fieldwork.  Geography enables students to identify and analyse the physical, social, economic, political, legal and technological factors that influence where things are and why they are there. Students are also taught how to identify and analyse the ways humans interact with environments, and in so doing, develops students’ skills in evaluating arguments and problem-solving.



Commerce provides the knowledge, skills, understanding and values that form the foundation on which young people make sound decisions about consumer, financial, business, legal and employment issues. It develops in students an understanding of commercial and legal processes and competencies for personal financial management. Through the study of Commerce, students develop financial literacy, which enables them to participate in the financial system in an informed way.


Central to the course is the development of an understanding about the relationships between consumers, businesses and governments in the overall economy. Through their investigation of these relationships, students develop the capacity to apply problem-solving strategies which incorporate the skills of analysis and evaluation. Students engage in the learning process which promotes critical thinking, reflective learning and the opportunity to participate in the community.


Commerce provides for a range of learning styles and experiences that suit the interests and needs of all students. It emphasises the potential and use of information and communication technologies. Students gain greater competence in problem-solving and decision-making by evaluating the range of consumer, financial, business, legal and employment strategies. In examining these they also develop attitudes and values that promote ethical behaviour and social responsibility, and a commitment to contribute to a more just and equitable society.

Aboriginal Studies

Aboriginal Studies is designed to foster intellectual, social and moral development by enabling students to think critically about the historical and contemporary experiences of Aboriginal peoples. Through this study students will develop a heightened understanding and appreciation of the concepts of social justice and shared histories, and will critically examine their role as active and informed citizens.


Aboriginal Studies is a unique experience for both Aboriginal students and non-Aboriginal students. Aboriginal students are provided with an opportunity for cultural affirmation and positive educational experiences while non-Aboriginal students are able to ‘learn together’ with Aboriginal peoples and communities. All students are encouraged to take an active role in the process of reconciliation.

Ancient History

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.


The skills, knowledge and understanding that students acquire, through studying Ancient History Stage 6 make it a useful 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

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.

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.


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.


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.


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


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 the legal system will allow students to investigate the way our society operates and the influences that shape it.

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


The study of 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.

© 2018 by Tenterfield High School.

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