What is SSEHU? : connection to “Understanding Society Education”

“Understanding Society Education” (USE) is study for the development of citizenship rooted in a deeper understanding of society. It corresponds to the subject area of Social Studies in elementary and middle school and to history, geography, and civics in high school. However, South Korea and Japan are the only countries in East Asia that have Social Studies as a school subject. Elsewhere, it is hard to find examples of courses teaching about society as a whole, not broken down into separate subjects. Many countries teach students about society using contents and methods that come from each individual social science: history, geography, political science/civics, economics, and so on. Social Studies, in contrast, is a subject for the education of students to have their own way of thinking and their own views based on the methods and insights of social science. The reason we teach Social Studies is that we know that we cannot see a society as a whole when we teach each social science as a separate subject. The US National Council of Social Studies (NCSS), an organization very closely connected with the birth of Social Studies as a field, defines Social Studies as follows.

Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, religion, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.(NCSS Task Force on Standards for Teaching and Learning in the Social Studies, 1993, p. 213)

Social Studies Education at of Hiroshima University (SSEHU) is one of the main programs of Social Studies research in Japan. SSEHU’s goals are not only to train good teachers but also to educate professional researchers in Social Studies. Being a teacher is just one option that students can choose after they graduate from SSEHU, and many alumni take important roles in a variety of fields related to Social Studies. Do you want to be a teacher of teachers or a specialist in Social Studies? Join SSEHU!



Hiroshima University
Graduate School of Education
Department of Social Studies Education
1-1-1 Kagamiyama
Higashi-Hiroshima City
JAPAN 739-8524