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Course: Social inquiry: beliefs, actions and rights (Senior Social Studies)

Sam Wakelin —

We now live in a globalised world, in a time where it is incredibly easy to communicate and interact with people from all different walks of life. There are many benefits to this increasing globalisation, however, there is also the potential for some challenges to arise.


Semester One

Subject Area(s)

Social Studies 

NCEA L!/2/3

Through studying Social Studies, students will be able to develop an understanding of the way that people of different backgrounds and understandings interact with one another in the world around them and how these interactions can shape the world that we live in.

Social Studies is a subject that fosters students’ understanding of the ideologies and values that cause different groups and individuals in society to act the way that they do. Students will learn about social issues and recognise that there are always different points of view on every issue. Students will also deepen their understanding of human rights.

Students will be able to develop critical inquiry skills and investigate topics that they feel strongly about.

This course explores the concept of values – and on a deeper level, ideologies – and how values affect groups’/individuals’ actions. Students will research social issues related to human rights, exploring different points of view, especially considering why different groups/individuals hold these points of view. Students will also explore what actions certain groups/individuals undertake to address social issues. Students will then research cultural change – how social values change over time, and the consequences of these changes. Level 2 students will explore how conflict can arise from different cultural beliefs and ideas, while Level 3 students will explore how ideologies shape society.


Students are expected to engage in contribution to collaboration spaces and to discussion during the live class time, and be open to considering different perspectives and points of view on social issues. Students are expected to be aware of contemporary social issues so they can complete their research in an informed manner. Students will have a basis of research and source analysis skills; they will refine these skills over the duration of the course.


This is a multi-level course in which all students learn together. Students will be assessed at either Level 1, 2 or 3 depending on what best meets their needs. This course consists of internal and external standards. The following Social Studies standards are used to assess this course:

AS91040 (1.2) Conduct a social inquiry (4 credits, internal)

AS91041 (1.3) Describe the consequences of cultural change(s) (4 credits, external)

AS91279 (2.1) Demonstrate understanding of conflict(s) arising from different cultural beliefs and ideas (4 credits, external)

AS91280 (2.2) Conduct a reflective social inquiry (5 credits, internal)

AS91597 (3.2) Conduct a critical social inquiry (6 credits, internal)

AS91598 (3.3) Demonstrate an understanding of how ideologies shape society (4 credits, external)

About the teacher

Mr. Sam Wakelin taught Classics and Social Studies at Christchurch Rudolf Steiner School in 2017–2018. In his current position he teaches Technology and Social Studies at Ellesmere College.

Mr Wakelin is passionate about Social Studies, especially facilitating senior students to develop a critical awareness of contemporary social issues, so they develop a sense of personal agency to address social issues.

Career highlights for Mr. Wakelin include taking a Social Studies class on a field trip to Gloriavale Christian Community, and also inviting various guest speakers on to the online conference call to inspire the students such as School Strike 4 Climate national coordinator Sophie Handford, and prominent New Zealand activist, Simon Oosterman​.

Mr Wakelin has an MA in Classics focusing on theology in Herodotus. His other passions include oil painting, strength training, tramping, listening to podcasts, and learning bass guitar.

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