Social Studies 1 – Focusing on Norway and the Middle East 30SF1

Course Objectives

Subject skills

Students shall have:

  • Knowledge of the distinctive qualities and concepts of history, geography and civics and associated interdisciplinary challenges within social studies.
  • Knowledge in collateing, processing, appraiseing and presenting information from written sources (including ICT), and oral sources, images, statistics, models and maps – cf. The Knowledge Promotion Reform (LK06): basic skills in social studies.
  • Basic knowledge of the themes who are mentioned in the "contents" ("innhold"), and with that be able to value events and connections in the present time and in the past.

Subject didactics’ competence

The students shall have:

  • Knowledge of the subject’s content at lower secondary level and its validation/aims and plans.
  • Insight into, and be capable of, planning, executing and assessing teaching in social studies in an independent and thoroughly professional way – for pupils with different backgrounds.
  • Ablility to plan and organise teaching which includes local aspects, for instance by using the local community and the local area’s landscape as a basis for examples and assignments.
  • Knowledge and skills in the use of digital tools/ICT in schools as an important means of finding information for the presentation of material about society; practice critical attitudes towards sources; and be familiar with problems related to privacy protection and copyright regulations.
  • An understanding of how events in the past and present may be described differently by different sources, and how this may be used in schools, in order to develop awareness of the historical context in which people live.
  • Knowledge and skills in being able to “read” and “calculate” in social studies, and be able to plan and organise teaching so that the pupils can use information related to social studies from images, film, graphs, tables and maps.
  • Ability to reflect upon aspects of subject didactics and carry out assessments related to subject topics which are examined in the course.

Social competence

Students shall have:

  • An understanding of, and skills in, working in a multicultural school.
  • Skills that will enable them to work in a teaching team.
  • Skills in leading group processes.

Change and development competence

Students shall have:

  • Knowledge of change in society and schools.
  • Skills in meeting continual changes in the teacher’s role.

Professional-ethical competence

Students shall have:

  • Knowledge and understanding of basic values related to practising the teaching profession.
  • An understanding of the relation pupil-teacher, as well as cooperation with parents in a multicultural society.

Course Description

Subject content


The study programme is built on the following themes:

  • Norway’s natural landscape
  • Norway’s cultural landscape and industry
  • The geography of the Middle East with a focus on Israel/Palestine and the study trip country.
  • Maps and image analysis

An important part of the geography component is the study of natural and cultural landscapes. In this context, the earth’s inner and external forces play an important role, and how the physical environment affects people’s living conditions will be examined. The Ice Age and its importance regarding the formation of the landscape and the occurrence of resources will be a particular area of focus. Historical, economic and political factors will also be considered when studying the cultural landscape, together with patterns of settlement, the structure of industry and changes in the latter. Images and maps of various kinds are important aids when studying landscape. Use of these aids will be evaluated in relation to teaching pupils of various ages.

In addition to Norway, the Middle East region will also be studied in order to exemplify general landscape processes – together with supporting topics from both history and social studies. A study trip to the Middle East/North Africa is an obligatory part of the programme.


The programme builds on the following areas:

  • The Viking Age and the High Middle Ages
  • Norwegian history 1814-1905
  • Middle East history

The study of the Viking Age will focus on Viking society, Viking expeditions, the unification of Norway and the emergence of Christianity.

At the beginning of 1814, Norway was in a union with Denmark, and the King’s power was based on what we call sovereignty of the prince. By the end of the year, Norway had entered into a personal union with Sweden, but had established a constitution based on the sovereignty of the people. What actually happened during the course of that year?

In the account of the political development from 1814 to 1884 we will study the emergence of a system of government by state officials from 1814 to 1840, this governing form’s ‘period of greatness’ from 1840 to 1870, and its decline from 1870 to 1884. During the period from 1884 to 1905 we will follow the Norwegian state-building process and developments up until the dissolution of the union in 1905.

Within these topics the focus will be on principal historical concepts such as historical turning points, continuity and change, and causes and effects considered in a time-frame that connects past, present and future. In the study of the various topics the study of sources will be important, but we will also consider the material in a didactic and methodological context.

Social Studies

The programme builds on the following areas:

  • Models of peoples and society – introduction to concepts and approaches used in social studies.
  • The multicultural society – ethnicity, group conflicts and indigenous populations.
  • Democracy and human rights in the information society – ICT / mass media.
  • The Middle East conflict and political Islam.

In examining the first topic we will focus on what is meant by social studies, and ask how we observe the world that we live in. In this context we will examine some models that show how society may be analysed. The relationship between the individual and society constitutes an important part of the subject.

What does it mean to say that Norway is a multicultural society? We will examine various dilemmas in multicultural societies, such as the so-called ‘ethnocentric syndrome’, the Sámis – an indigenous population, the relation between majorities and minorities (“us” against “them”), and the consequences this can have.

We will consider the conditions under which democracy and human rights may exist in the age of information technology. How should we relate to a continually more complex society in which a steadily increasing amount of information is available? We will relate this to the use of ICT in schools, cf.: The Knowledge Promotion Reform (LK06).

The study of the Middle East will, in addition to the modern history of that region (after 1967), also include political, religious and cultural conditions. In other words, the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians will be an important part of the course. The following topics will be important in this context: nationalism/Zionism, the emergence of ‘national identity’ in Israel and Palestine, the Oslo Agreement (1993), ‘The Road Map to Peace’ (2003), the refugee problem, human rights and religious conflicts. We will examine local, regional and international dimensions of the conflict, as well as Norway’s role in developments in the region. The emergence of political Islam also constitutes an important part of the course.

Subject didactic content

The study programme is organised so that subject didactic aspects, use of sources, assessment of material and presentation/methods to a great extent will be considered in connection with the work on the subject themes.

Students will be able to use various parts of social studies subject in combination with other subjects in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary thematic and project work.

Learning Methods

The programme is designed to facilitate the use of varied and active teaching and learning methods, such as class discussions, lectures, seminars, work with sources (individually and in groups), use of information and communications technology (ICT), development of projects and participation in study trips and fieldwork.

Work with sources

Sources of various types are important in social studies. They may take the form of written sources, statistics, images, maps, diagrams and oral sources. The use of ICT is important in work on project and seminar assignments and in the illumination of subject topics.


Students must submit a group project with a theme/question related to the study trip to the Middle East/North Africa. One aim of the project is to collect information during the course of the study trip; this will involve preparation by students in the period before the study trip.


Students will work in groups with assignments/ questions which will be presented to the rest of the class. In Social Studies I this will involve preparation for the study trip. Attendance at seminars where student work is presented is obligatory.

Study trips

Social Studies I includes a one-week study trip to the Middle East or North Africa. The study trip has an interdisciplinary basis and parts of the subject material are presented in a more specific manner. In the autumn, students will also participate in a study trip to the Skien area where the main emphasis will be on geography. The study trips are obligatory.

Practical training

Third year general teacher education students will have a period of practical training at the beginning of the spring semester.

Obligatory attendance

In addition to study trips and seminars with presentations of student work, the courses in “ICT and Social Studies” and “Maps and Image Analysis” are also obligatory. Information concerning which classes are obligatory will be made clear in the semester plan at the start of the programme.

Assessment Methods

The final grade will be based upon:

  • Individual written exam (6 hours), which counts for 50% of the final grade/ 15 ECTS.
  • Individual oral examination, which counts for 25%/7.5 ECTS
  • Group assignment, which counts for 25%/ 7.5 ECTS.

The group project (7.5 ECTS) must be submitted at the end of the autumn semester.

The oral examination (7.5 ECTS) and the written examination (15 ECTS) will be held in the spring semester.

A grade will be awarded, A-F, where A is the highest and E the lowest passing grade. Each course unit must achieve a passing grade in order to achieve a final passing grade. For more detailed information, please refer to Telemark University College’s Examination Regulations.

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Ian Harkness <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 10/10/2009