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                                                Every humanities student a citizen of tomorrow



Department Mission:

The humanities department seeks to instil in our students a deeper appreciation for the world they live in, and to equip them with the disciplinary skills and competencies, that will enable them to be future-ready. 

Department Vision:  

Every humanities student a citizen of tomorrow; reflective, concerned and participative.

Key Pedagogical Approach:

The use of inquiry is at the heart of our humanities instruction and learning. The inquiry approach seeks to empower students in their own learning and excite interest in the humanities subject.


Students undergo the four stages of the inquiry process, which are Sparking Curiosity, Gathering Data, Exercising Reasoning and Reflective Thinking.

By igniting students’ curiosity, students take the lead to explore, examine and evaluate information to derive their own learning conclusions. This motivates them to think critically, and be self-directed and reflective learners.


The department aims to develop in our students the values, social-emotional competencies and an intrinsic motivation to learn by equipping them with the enduring mindsets and skillsets necessary for the 21st century.

We do so by adopting the Inquiry-based Approach, Visible Thinking, Intellectual Standards and Concept-based teaching in our curriculum. 


Geographical Investigation (GI)

The Geography unit seeks to develop critical and inventive thinkers through the adoption of the inquiry-based approach, which allows students to critically examine current geographical issues.


During the course of their investigation, students will use geographical skills acquired in the classroom to conduct investigations and analysis of their observations on current issues. This process helps students to understand contemporary environmental issues and gain in-depth knowledge that allows them to have deeper awareness about sustainable development, and their role as active citizens of the community.


a)    Secondary One Geographical Investigation  

Our secondary one students will be collecting data on their household usage of water through the administering of a survey, field sketch and calculation of their water footprint. Based on the data collected, they will critically examine the implications of the urgent need for a sustainable use of water as a nation, and the role they play as stewards of the environment.


b)    Secondary Two Geographical Investigation  

Our secondary two students will be investigating the issue of providing inclusive living spaces for residents in Tampines. Using the inquiry approach, students will learn how to collect and analyse primary data, and make sense of it to examine how inclusive housing is important in building a sense of belonging in local residents.


c)     Upper Secondary Geographical Investigation [Humanities (Geography) and Geography]


Geographical investigation provides students with opportunities to study and apply their learning of Geography to real world phenomena and related issues. Progressing from lower to upper secondary, students will continue to be exposed to the inquiry based approach through GI. They will experience out-of-class geographical investigation that includes the collecting of data at microsites within the school, and visit the East Coast Park for the study of coastal processes. The experience of outdoor fieldwork provides our students an opportunity to apply the knowledge/concepts learned in the classroom to real world context, and through it, acquire new knowledge/concepts.

Historical Investigations (HI)

The History unit seeks to develop students to become critical and inventive thinkers, and to cultivate their interests in History by engaging them in the HI process through the inquiry approach.


Through the inquiry investigation, the secondary one and two students develop a sense of curiosity by learning to ask relevant questions about the past, and have the opportunity to examine sources critically. Students will develop their ability to organise and form logical conclusions about the inquiry question posed. By working in groups, students co-build knowledge together and learn to leverage the different Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools to communicate their ideas effectively.


HI provides students with an opportunity for them to learn beyond their classroom, and to develop a deeper understanding of Singapore’s history and heritage.

Social Studies (Issue Investigation)

The Social Studies unit seeks to adopt the inquiry approach to guide students in exploring current societal issues and preparing them for the

responsibilities they need to exercise as good citizens.


Issue investigation provides a platform for our secondary three students to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and values needed for active citizenship. Students will embark on an investigation on a societal issue of meaning to them, they will then extend their inquiry skills by working with their peers. When students undertake issue investigation, they learn to question unexamined assumptions and develop perspective-taking which will contribute towards helping them arrive at informed conclusions.


Issue investigation thus provides students with the opportunity to practise and demonstrate the 21st Century Competencies to become informed, concerned and participative citizens.


In SHSS, issue investigation is infused in our secondary three integrated programme, in collaboration with the Character & Citizenship Education and the English Language department. 

Humanities Talent Programme

The NMP (Humanities) is specially designed for secondary two students who have demonstrated strong aptitude and keen interest in History.


This stretched programme provides opportunities for students to undertake authentic historical investigation that promotes the development of critical thinking skills and 21st century competencies (21CC). The 10-week programme enables students to embark on a research journey to explore Singapore’s heritage and see history come alive as they learn to explore and interpret historical sources before arriving at a conclusion based on the inquiry question. Students will also be equipped with skills to conduct oral interviews and to develop perspective-taking on historical issues.


Through NMP (Humanities), students will be able to apply evaluative thinking skills as they make connections with the past and present, deepening their appreciation for Singapore’s historical journey since independence. 

Humanities External Competitions

Humanities students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of external programmes and competition platforms to enhance their interest in the humanities. Some of the external platforms include:

1.     Student Archivist Project

2.     History Challenge

3.     Junior Water Challenge

NUS Geography Challenge