Humanities, taught on a four-year cycle, is taken by all Fenway students each year. It is an interdisciplinary course which includes both concepts and skills from a number of traditional content areas. It incorporates Language Arts and Social Studies and includes music, math, multicultural literature, computer skills, health and art, along with the skills of teachers from these content areas, in ways that help students to make connections and maximize their potential as learners and citizens.
To achieve a less fragmented education, and to help in nurturing a well-roundedness of Fenway students, integration is required on three levels. The first is the integration of students from many levels or tracks and many backgrounds. The second is the integration of teachers from different disciplines to share their expertise and creativity. The third is the integration of the fine arts and sciences with language arts and social studies in the curriculum so that students have the opportunity:
- To express themselves in a variety of forms
- To see patterns and inter-relationships of history, culture, the arts, and self
- To learn about the individual and society through many perspectives of cultures, classmates, and teachers.
Rather than a linear or chronological approach to cultural/historical issues, literature, the arts, Humanities emphasizes the cyclical nature of human experience and focuses on four seemingly repetitive states of human organization that they encompass. The Humanities curriculum breaks with the traditional linear or chronological format of instruction. Teachers and students seek to identify themes and patterns in human history using a case study method.
Each year is based on an essential question that frames the year’s inquiry. The current questions are:
- Who built America?
- How do we govern ourselves?
- What does it mean to be human?
- How do you do right in the face of injustice?