Social Sciences

What is Social Science at William Colenso College?

The Social Sciences learning area is about how societies work and how people can participate as critical, active, informed, and responsible citizens. Contexts are drawn from the past, present, and future and from places within and beyond New Zealand. Through the Social Sciences, students develop the knowledge and skills to enable them to;

  • better understand, participate in, and contribute to the local, national, and global communities in which they live and work
  • engage critically with societal issues
  • evaluate the sustainability of alternative social, economic, political, and environmental practices

Students explore the unique bicultural nature of New Zealand society that derives from the Treaty of Waitangi. They learn about people, places, cultures, histories, and the economic world, within and beyond New Zealand. They develop understandings about how societies are organised and function and how the ways in which people and communities respond are shaped by different perspectives, values, and viewpoints. As they explore how others see themselves, students clarify their own identities in relation to their particular heritages and contexts.

Links to the WCC Strategic Plan

To achieve responsive outcomes for all students, the department:

  • Acknowledges the importance of structured writing and the literacy skills of the inquiry process for successful student outcomes. These skills are thus directly taught and developed with appropriate exemplars and meaningful feedback and feed forward.
  • Tries where possible, to weave Tikanga Maori into all programmes whether it be via Maori historical contexts or classroom activities.
  • Integrates the study of New Zealand (Maori and Pakeha) and world literature to contribute to students’ developing sense of identity, their awareness of New Zealand’s bi-cultural heritage, and their understanding of the world.



To achieve responsive systems and processes, the department:

  • Monitors, analyses and evaluates student achievement data to reflect on and review programme delivery. Aims explicitly to improve Maori achievement through deliberate acts of teaching.
  • Annually reviews all programmes to find better outcomes for students (in particular, raise Maori achievement). This review process is used to inform the following year’s goals and action plans

To achieve responsive learning opportunities, the department:

  • Presents students with opportunities to engage with and develop the key competencies in diverse contexts.
  • Attempts to offer real and relevant curriculum challenges by co-construction of research topics and contexts studied. Making connections and links to the lives of students and their prior knowledge  means that learning activities/ contexts are relevance and valued by students.
  • Provide a range of standards and contexts for students to choose to better responsive to their learning needs
  • Offer e-learning opportunities where possible. Classrooms have computers for student use and the ICT, library and students BOYD are activity used.

To achieve responsive relationships, the department:

  • Embraces the school Restorative Justice System and Culturally responsive pedagogy to enable positive relationships and critical dialogue.
  • Develops, where necessary, individualised learning programmes to meet students’ unique requirements/needs. The assessments tasks are negotiated with the students to suit their interests/desires/needs and prior knowledge thus allowing for a more flexible and individually co-constructed curriculum.