ISD - The International School of Dakar

Social Studies


The International School of Dakar Social Studies curriculum aims to instill an understanding of the origins and nature of societies and the individual’s role as an active participant. The program strives to cultivate critical thinking so that students can make informed decisions in a variety of social and cultural settings. It includes the study of geography, history, economics, psychology, culture, government and technology that together promote the development of global citizens who can live responsibly in today’s rapidly changing world.

Guiding Principles:

We believe that effective social studies education is:

  • relevant, connecting students’ lives with their pasts and their futures,
  • challenging and creative, providing students with active and engaging methods for learning,
  • coherent and standards-based across the K-12 grades,
  • interpretive and integrative, using literature, art and film to explore trans-disciplinary connections,
  • inquiry-driven and project-based, allowing students to construct their own learning,
  • research-based, incorporating technology and a wide range of digital resources,
  • collaborative, providing opportunities for students to anchor personal learning with one another through critical thinking and problem-solving activities,
  • analytical, focusing on synthesis and development of ideas,
  • multicultural in content and approach,
  • purposefully linked to service learning, both locally and globally.
  • performance-based, allowing students to demonstrate the understanding of key concepts through a broad choice of assessment methods,
  • age-appropriate, incorporating developmentally suitable themes, learning activities and teaching methods.

Essential Questions

  • What is history?
  • Is history the truth? Whose truth is it?
  • How does the past affect the present?
  • How do people organize themselves?
  • Why is “where” important?
  • How do societies change?
  • How and why do we make choices?
  • What are our responsibilities?
  • How does technology affect the way we live?
  • How does history get communicated?
  • How do our experiences affect our perspective of past and present?