Modern studies has a key role to play in A Curriculum for Excellence, according to an HMIE report.
The document, one of a series aimed at providing a portrait of current practice in various subjects, says modern studies provides a sound context for learners to develop an awareness of the social and political issues they will meet in their lives.
The subject can help them understand the democratic process, why people participate in society, make them aware of their rights and responsibilities, and help them understand conflict resolution.
Teaching modern studies is described in the report as having many strengths, but practitioners are urged to ask themselves whether learning experiences are imaginative, creative, stimulating and challenging enough for pupils.
Inspectors called for ICT to be used more, and for learners to be given more practical opportunities to develop the citizenship they are taught.