Senior School News

Humanities Curriculum

This week our Senior School article has been put together by the Humanities Curriculum Area.

A variety of definitions exist for the Humanities and the subjects encompassed in this area, but they all have an essential component; the Humanities focus on the consideration of human nature and the human condition, in other words what makes us who we are and how that is manifested in our behaviour towards ourselves, others and our shared world.

At the British School Manila the Humanities curriculum area comprises the subjects of Business Studies, Economics, Geography, History and Psychology. In addition, we also have a bespoke course for Years 7 and 8 in which we explore a number of ‘essential questions’ allowing students to learn about the Humanities in a more integrated and multi faceted way. Aside from contributing to a students balanced education at BSM, the Humanities curriculum area teacher’s feel proud that their subjects facilitate many opportunities for deep and sustained explorations of areas that the school is particularly motivated to develop in our students, namely internationalism through global citizenship and learning through ‘thinking’, ‘feeling’ and ‘acting’.

In Business Studies we strive to foster, develop and nurture entrepreneurs, managers, and employees of the future who have a deep and considered awareness and understanding of the critical role ‘Business’ plays in shaping an ethically sustainable future for all of us. In all year groups, we strive to provide experiential learning; we have been taking Year 11 to the Toyota factory in Laguna for a number of years now and Year 12 have been invited for a tour and Q&A session at the newly established Grand Hyatt hotel, this is an exciting opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at how the business operates. Year 12 have also been on a feld trip to Tim Hortons, a famous Canadian Coffee House, to ascertain how well at frst hand it has managed to penetrate its foray into the BGC market.

In Economics we offer exciting opportunities to explore the global citizenship concepts that are so central to our school vision and mission. Issues of sustainability are central to the discipline. Similarly, the question of ethics and morals underpin so many of the decisions we make as consumers and resource users. We hope to provide our students with a framework for analysing their decision making that will serve them well long into the future, as the global leaders of the future.

Geography has changed its emphasis over the last decade. We now focus on global and local issues that have multiple causes and consequences. We look at issues such as Neo-colonialism in Africa, climate change and the rise of Populism across Europe. The subject challenges students to be critical of their own role in the world and develop an ethical perspective in relation to issues such as the interdependence of people in the modern world and living sustainably. We get students to think beyond the easy answers and look at how positive intentions can result in negative impacts. For example, when discussing water scarcity, it is easy to say that less should be used for industry and agriculture. However, by reducing water use we would then endanger the livelihoods of the local people
whose economy relies on the growth in industry and the unintended consequences of this on their lives could be dire.

Central to History at BSM is enabling students to better understand the contemporary world around them using a critical window on the past. Students are also taught to make more informed personal decisions about their own future actions and views, and how these can have important short and long term consequences for society and our personal safety and security.

By focusing on the forces that shape how we develop as individuals, Psychology aims to give students an appreciation of the diversity of people and societies, and of the importance of accepting and celebrating this through respect for human rights and dignity. This is hopefully achieved through exploration of some meaningful examples in which humans have experienced psychological struggles such as depression, as well as the consequences of stigmatisation and the dangers of ‘blind obedience’ to authority.

Finally, our broad curriculum for Years 7 and 8 explores a range of challenging questions such as ‘Is a shrinking world a more equal one?’ and ‘Can the world ever achieve peace?’. Through classroom activities, performance tasks and curriculum enhancement days students are encouraged to challenge their own views by considering the ideas and beliefs of others.

Although we represent a broad range of disciplines the Humanities curriculum area hopes that we collectively foster in students a deeper understanding of what it is to be human and cultivate informed students with an appreciation of the complexity and variety of human and societal experiences, and of the need to be curious and respectful. The Humanities Team

The week after half term break is Week A.

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