October 8, 2012

Humanities

Humanities has the potential to consist of a broad range of traditionally separate subjects, such as:

  • geography
  • history
  • economics
  • politics
  • civics
  • sociology
  • anthropology
  • psychology

Schools may choose to teach these subjects as distinct courses or as one integrated course, and may vary the structure for different year groups.

Within the aims and objectives of this subject group, there are concepts that students must address and skills that must be developed over the five years of the programme. These include:

  • the concepts of time, place and space, change, systems and global awareness
  • technical, analytical, problem-solving and investigative skills.

The primary aim of the humanities course is to develop the understanding and application of concepts and skills rather than prescribe and assess content.

Aims

The aims of teaching and learning of Humanities within the MYP are to encourage and enable students to:

  • Appreciate the range of human and environmental commonalities and diversities
  •  Understand the interactions and interdependence of individuals, societies and environments in different contexts
  • Understand how both environmental and human systems operate and evolve over time
  • Identify and develop a concern for human and environmental well-being
  • Act upon opportunities to be a responsible citizen
  • Develop effective inquiry skills to achieve conceptual understanding in humanities

Objectives

Knowing and Understanding

Knowledge and understanding is fundamental to studying humanities and forms the basis from which to explore concepts and develop skills. Knowledge is both factual and conceptual and provides the foundation for thinking critically.

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Use humanities terminology in context
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of subject-specific content and concepts through developed descriptions, explanations and examples

Investigating

The development of investigative skills in humanities is an integral part of the inquiry cycle. It enables students to plan and carry out research and/or fieldwork as individuals or in a group.

Students should be able to demonstrate investigative skills throughout the humanities course to an increasing level of sophistication. The focus is placed on acquiring systematic research skills and processes associated with the craft of each humanities discipline.

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Formulate a clear and focussed research question
  • Formulate and follow an action plan to investigate a research question
  • Use methods accurately to collect and record information consistent with the research question
  • Effectively address the research question

Thinking Critically

The ability to think critically in humanities is vital in developing a deeper understanding of the subject and its concepts. The objectives highlighted in “Thinking Critically” build on the knowledge-base of humanities and are an integral part of the inquiry cycle. Students should be able to demonstrate these objectives throughout the humanities course to an increasing level of sophistication.

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Analyse concepts, events, issues, models and arguments
  • Analyse and evaluate a range of sources in terms of origin and purpose, recognising values and limitations
  • Interpret different perspectives and their implications
  • Synthesize information in order to make valid, well-supported arguments

Communicating

Students should be able to demonstrate the ability to use a variety of media to organise and communicate their factual and conceptual learning. These formats include, but are not limited to: written reports, oral presentations, cartoons, storyboards, maps, diagrams, flow charts PowerPoint presentations, pod-casts, animations and videos.

Students should be able to demonstrate communication throughout the humanities course to an increasing level of sophistication.

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Communicate information and ideas using an appropriate style for the audience and purpose
  • Structure information and ideas in a way that is appropriate to the specified format
  • Document sources of information using a recognised convention