The Barrenjoey Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) Faculty challenges students to develop values of social justice, empathy and informed citizenship.
The HSIE Faculty aspires to develop in its students a culture of personal achievement through effort. Accordingly, the subjects within the Faculty [Geography, Economics, Business Studies, Commerce, Legal Studies, Society & Culture, Studies of Religion and History (Ancient, Modern and Extension)] are dynamic, allowing students to analyse critically their place in this world.
Members of the HSIE Faculty are committed to creating respectful, independent learners so “inquiry-based learning” is employed to enhance technological, communication, literacy and participatory skills. A student mentor model is also utilised where Stage 6 students lead Stage 5 students in fieldwork creating an action research plan in the City. In turn, our Stage 5 students lead our Stage 4 students in an immersion activity on site where students are challenged to build a shelter and carry water.
A number of curriculum initiatives encourage a focus on civics and citizenship and ecologically sustainable development. The Bushlink Project is one such initiative which targets Year 7 – 11 students to develop skills to sustain, improve and influence relationships in our environment and those needed in the wider world. Working in teams with intellectually disabled adults, local council workers and bushcare volunteers our students improve our school environment whilst building cooperative skills and empathy.
Other learning paths in HSIE allow connectivity with the local and regional community, allowing students to maximise the coastal setting of the school within the complex regional and international economic, social and political contexts. Fieldwork in Geography and site studies in History encourage active engagement with local people, places and issues as well as global events, stressing the importance of individual responses and broad analysis and understanding. In particular, access to Careel Bay wetlands, Avalon beach rock platform and sand dunes affords many opportunities for students to take part in the regeneration of bush and riparian environments.
The Faculty has embraced technology as a mode of enhancing learning, particularly through open-ended inquiries, graphic organisers, hotlists, Web Quests, Web Logs and the use of Interactive White Boards in classrooms. Students participate in a wide array of competitions throughout the year.