What’s the Deal with Humanities?



What’s the deal with Humanities?

Many students began this school year with a surprise: without having signed up for it, they were enrolled in the class. Or, more accurately, classes.

Humanities is a combination of both English and History. It requires the students to learn both classes in the same period, taught in unison by two teachers. The two classes are designed to work so that what students learn in History relates to the English curriculum, and vice versa.

“Humanities is an honors level course that combines English and History,” Humanities Teacher and English Department Chair, Mary Mathewson said about the program. “The goal of the humanities course is to deepen student understanding of the relationship between history, culture, and literature.  Through this process students use social context to explore the connections between history, art and literature.”

These classes aim to help students learn both subjects more effectively, but not all students are happy with their placement in Humanities classes.

“I didn’t sign up to take this class,” said Humanities student and junior Kevin Clayton. “It doesn’t help me learn, and is way too long.”

“I love History, but hate English. English being a part of my History education has made me begin to detest History as well,” Clayton says later when asked if humanities allows him to delve deeper into the subjects.

Some students do appreciate the initiative, however.

“I enjoy the way it connects both subjects and enhances the overall learning experience,” Sean Sullivan, another 11th grade student in humanities, said.

Sullivan signed up for the class and had even taken it last school year. He doesn’t agree that students should be made to take a class they didn’t sign up for, but still defends Humanities as a great idea.

“I don’t necessarily like English or history, but when combined, the subjects become a lot more bearable,” he rebutted Clayton’s point with. “I guess the combination just works well for me.”

“[A]lthough it feels very long because both classes are basically in the same room, it holds my interest and I can give a lot in conversation during class,” said Sophomore student Kevin O’Meara. O’Meara signed up for the class and has enjoyed it so far.

“Because you have to class periods together, you get to know your classmates better and that promotes class discussion,” O’Meara added. “It helps I like a lot of the kids in my class.”

Humanities works great for many students, but for others, the class just creates a bigger learning barrier and makes students dislike both classes even more.