The Humanities Area of Learning and Experience seeks to awaken a sense of wonder, fire the imagination and inspire learners to grow in knowledge, understanding and wisdom. This Area encourages learners to engage with the most important issues facing humanity, including sustainability and social change, and help to develop the skills necessary to interpret and articulate the past and the present.
The Area encompasses geography; history; religion, values and ethics; business studies and social studies. These disciplines share many common themes, concepts and transferable skills, while having their own discrete body of knowledge and skills. Learners may also be introduced to other complementary disciplines, such as classics, economics, law, philosophy, politics, psychology and sociology, if and where appropriate.
What matters in this Area has been expressed in five statements which support and complement one another, and should not be viewed in isolation. Together they contribute to realising the four purposes of the curriculum.
What Matters Statements
- Enquiry, exploration and investigation inspire curiosity about the world, its past, present and future
The learners’ journey through this Area will encourage enquiry and discovery, as they are challenged to be curious and to question, to think critically and to reflect upon evidence. An enquiring mind stimulates new and creative thinking, through which learners can gain a deeper understanding of the concepts underpinning humanities, and their application in local, national and global contexts. Such thinking can help learners to understand human experiences and the natural world better.
Enquiry is more than an academic exercise; it enables reflection, which can help learners understand the human condition. This, in turn, can add meaning to learners’ own lives and contribute to their sense of place and worldview.
- Events and human experiences are complex, and are perceived, interpreted and represented in different ways
We encounter and make sense of the world though a variety of events and experiences. Humanities encourages learners to critically review the ways these events and experiences are perceived, interpreted and represented. As they form their own informed viewpoints and recognise those of others, learners can also develop self-awareness.
Learning how various worldviews and factors can influence their own and others’ perceptions and interpretations will encourage learners to develop an appreciation of how contexts influence the constructions of narratives and representations. By exploring how and why interpretations may differ and by critical understanding of a range of interpretations and representations derived from a variety of evidence, they will be better placed to evaluate their validity.
- Our natural world is diverse and dynamic, influenced by processes and human actions
Experiencing the wonder of the natural world can contribute to learners’ spiritual development and well-being, and can help to cultivate in them a sense of place and sense of belonging, as embodied in the Welsh word cynefin.
Nurturing curiosity can help learners understand and appreciate how and why places, landscapes and environments in their locality and elsewhere in Wales, as well as in the wider world, are changing. This in turn will enable learners to identify what makes places and spaces distinct, and to develop an awareness of the interconnections between humans and their environment in both contemporary and historical contexts. Consequently, learners will be in a better position to make connections between the past and present, and to consider possible futures.
- Human societies are complex and diverse, and shaped by human actions and beliefs.
An appreciation of identity and heritage can influence learners emotionally and spiritually, and help build their sense of self and of belonging. Through an understanding of themselves, learners develop their own identity and an awareness of how they, as individuals, can shape the communities in which they live. Consequently, learners will come to realise that the choices we all make, individually and collectively, can have major impacts on society.
Through consistent exposure to the story of their locality and the story of Wales, as well as to the story of the wider world, learners can develop an understanding of the complex, pluralistic and diverse nature of societies, past and present.
- Informed, self-aware citizens engage with the challenges and opportunities that face humanity, and are able to take considered and ethical action
Experiences in this Area can help learners develop an understanding of their responsibilities as citizens of Wales and the wider interconnected world, and of the importance of creating a just and sustainable future for themselves and their local, national and global communities. Exploration of the humanities encourages learners to be active, informed, and responsible citizens and consumers, who can identify with and contribute to their communities, and who can engage with the past, contemporary and anticipated challenges and opportunities facing them, their communities and Wales, as well as the wider world.