Saving the best for last-Humanities at Harbord

humanities

Written by: Simone Blais

There are many courses that have expanded my thinking, but it’s a shame that I couldn’t take them until grade 12. Some of our school’s most interesting courses include World Issues, Philosophy/Gender Studies, Challenge and Change, and Politics. However, it’s not u until the 4th year that they’re offered. This begs the question why Humanities courses like this are not offered to younger students.

Contrary to popular thought, young people are not too fragile and simple for these courses. The brain must be exposed so that it can expand. As teenagers are trying to find their place in life, Humanities can help them along. For example, Gender Studies teaches us to challenge gender roles at a time when many teens are trying to figure them out. While I may have been young and naive in grade 9, Gender Studies class would have been more provocative than Math or BTT.

As Humanities are not traditionally taught (In the Canadian schools) to youth, these courses can be deemed hard to teach. A subject such as philosophy can seem abstract in comparison to math.  After all, if it is hard to teach, it is the assumption that it will be hard to learn. Yet there have been strides to change this thought. In the year 2000, a group of philosophers from across Canada founded The Philosophy in the Schools Project .The aim was to implement Philosophy into Canadian high schools by convincing the nation it was a “Teachable subject.” A subject such as philosophy can seem abstract compared to math. Although ambitious, their success rates are debatable.

Like English and Math, Humanities should be offered all the way through high school. Because learning how to read and write is just as important as learning about the meanings, values and ways of the world.

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