Social Studies is the study of people in relation to each other and to their world. It is an issues focused and inquiry-based interdisciplinary subject that draws upon history, geography, ecology, economics, law, philosophy, political science and other social science disciplines. Social Studies foster students’ understanding of and involvement in practical and ethical issues that face their communities and humankind. Social studies is integral to the process of enabling students to develop an understanding of who they are, what they want to become and the society in which they want to live. Central to the vision of the Alberta social studies program is the recognition of the diversity of experiences and perspectives and the pluralistic nature of Canadian society. Pluralism builds upon Canada’s historical and constitutional foundations, which reflect the country’s Aboriginal heritage, bilingual nature and multicultural realities. A pluralistic view recognizes that citizenship and identity are shaped by multiple factors such as culture, language, environment, gender, ideology, religion, spirituality and philosophy.
Social studies provide opportunities for students to develop the attitudes, skills and knowledge that will enable them to become engaged, active, informed and responsible citizens. Recognition and respect for individual and collective identity is essential in a pluralistic and democratic society. Social studies help students develop their sense of self and community, encouraging them to affirm their place as citizens in an inclusive, democratic society. Social studies foster the development of citizens who are informed and engaged in current affairs. Accordingly, current affairs play a central role in learning and are integrated throughout the program. Ongoing reference to current affairs adds relevance, interest and immediacy to social studies issues. Investigating current affairs from multiple perspectives motivates students to engage in meaningful dialogue on relevant historical and contemporary issues, helping them to make informed and reasoned decisions on local, provincial, national and global issues. An issues-focused approach that incorporates multiple perspectives and current affairs helps students apply problem-solving skills to real-life and controversial issues.