Social Studies Didactics PPUSAM15

Course Description


The course will qualify students who have one or more social studies’ subjects in their range of subjects (history, geography, sociology, social anthropology, political science, international politics) to teach social studies in the lower secondary school, and history, geography, and social studies/civics in the upper secondary school.

Social studies subjects encompass a study of people and society in the present, past and future. Students will study topics that, combined with the students’ own knowledge of the subjects, will provide the basis and skills necessary to plan and execute varied and well-thought-out teaching plans based on the current curriculum.

Students taking 30 ECTS in Social Studies will write an individual project assignment in addition to completing the requirements for the 15 ECTS course.

The subjects' distinctive qualities, development, and legitimisation

Students will

  • Acquire knowledge of the various social studies subjects’ distinctive qualities and development, both as academic and school subjects
  • Learn about the importance of social studies as a school subject
  • Become familiar with and be able to analyse various social studies curricula
Analysis and critical reflection concerning subject didactics approaches

Students will

  • Learn about important trends and perspectives in subject didactics in the disciplines within social studies
  • Be able to formulate goals and show subject didactic reflection in connection with the planning of teaching and projects
  • Develop a reflected attitude to interdisciplinary challenges in social studies
  • Be able to evaluate the relationship between the aims of the curriculum and the practical demands of teaching in schools on a day-to-day basis
  • Become aware of social studies’ significance for developing viewpoints concerning, among other things, equality, human rights, democracy, environmental questions, and the multicultural society
  • Be able to assess and contribute ideas for development projects which focus on social studies in school
Teaching and learning methods, ICT and other teaching aids

Students will

  • Be able to recognise and evaluate the use of teaching and learning methods which are in part common to all social studies subjects, and in part subject-specific
  • Be able to plan and prepare teaching and learning based on subject traditions, the curriculum, and using various teaching aids
  • Be able to prepare investigative and problem-oriented teaching and learning methods, in order to develop pupils’ ability to think critically, and to understand causal relations and possible solutions
  • Develop an active and conscious interest to ICT, including the Internet
  • Recognise and be able to evaluate the use of various types of sources: written and oral sources, images, various types of maps, statistics, and diagrams
  • Be able to use the local community as a learning resource, among other things in relation to study trips/field work, museums and exhibitions
  • Be able to reflect on the use of teaching and learning methods and various aids regarding the use of time, and pupils’ backgrounds and interests
Assessment and supervision

Students will

  • Recognise and reflect on the various forms of evaluation used in social studies
  • Be able to evaluate the relationship between goals, teaching and learning methods, learning aids and forms of assessment

Learning Methods

The course includes both integrated social studies, as the subject is taught in the fifth to tenth grades in the lower secondary school, as well as the school subjects: history, geography and social studies and civics as they are taught in the upper secondary school. Consequently, the course focuses on topics that are common to the social studies’ disciplines, and also on the specific topics of the respective disciplines and school subjects.

Teaching and learning methods include lectures, discussions, and group and individual assignments. The course also includes study trips and visits to museums, which will function as examples of important teaching and learning methods that may be employed when teaching social studies.

It is expected that students actively participate in the course. Amongst other things, students will have an opportunity to participate in the “CURRENT NEWS DISCUSSION”, in which students in groups present to the rest of the class a piece of current news related to the curriculum and sourced from the mass media. The students will also submit a four- to five- pages written account on the topic written from a didactics approach, regarding how the topic may be used in school. Both the presentation and the written account will be formally assessed.

Wherever possible, students’ experiences from their periods of teaching practice will be used in the teaching in relation to subject didactics. The teaching plans which students have used during their teaching practice will be submitted for assessment. Each teaching plan should be roughly five pages in length, and should include aims and other didactic aspects.

Mandatory participation and submission of work

Study trips, teaching and work with ICT and student presentations in “CURRENT NEWS DISCUSSION” all require mandatory attendance. The semester plan, which will be distributed at the beginning of the course, specifies the days which this concerns. Students must submit a teaching plan which they have used in their teaching practice and a written account from the presentation “CURRENT NEWS DISCUSSION” for assessment.

30 ECTS in Social Studies

Students who take the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (60 ECTS) must usually have 15 ECTS in subject didactics in two subjects.

Students who only have Social Studies as an approved teaching subject should therefore take 30 ECTS in Social Studies Didactics. This may be achieved by writing an individual specialisation assignment with a subject didactic approach (ca 25 pages, line-space 1.5) that is defended in an oral examination in addition to the ordinary 15 ECTS course.

Students who take 30 ECTS in Social Studies should also prepare an additional syllabus of about 300 pages in connection with the project assignment. The additional syllabus must be approved by the subject teacher, and students will be examined on this in the oral examination.

Students are entitled to up to four hours of supervision in connection with their writing of the project assignment.

Assessment Methods

In order to take the examination students are required to have received approval of their mandatory assignments and met all other course requirements (as described in the semester plan).

Students who take 15 ECTS in Social Studies Didactics

The final grade is awarded on the basis of:

  • A 5-hour written individual examination (60%).
  • Portfolio assessment (40%).

The “CURRENT NEWS DISCUSSION” (20%) and the teaching plan (20%) will be included in the portfolio.

Students who take 30 ECTS in Social Studies Didactics

The final grade is awarded on the basis of:

  • The grade from the 15 ECTS course (55%)
  • The individual in-depth project assignment (25%)
  • The oral examination (20%)

A single final grade is entered on the diploma, graded from A to F, where A represents the highest grade, and E the lowest passing grade. Students must have received a passing grade on each part of the assessment in order to achieve a final passing grade.

Please refer to Telemark University College Examination Regulation for further information.

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

Publisert av / forfatter Svein Sturød <>, last modified Ian Hector Harkness - 01/04/2011