Chaminade Aligns English and Social Studies to Promote Interdisciplinary Learning
Michael Byrne ’23
Beginning this year, the humanities curricula at Chaminade High School will be more closely connected. In a phased, two-year plan, the English and social studies programs will complement one another to provide an interdisciplinary learning experience for students.
The changes are designed to grant students insights into different cultures and times in history, as well as to provide students with a more comprehensive worldview. This global perspective speaks to Chaminade’s mission to teach the whole person, helping students acquire the tools they need to look at and think critically about the world in its fullness.
Students will begin their Chaminade experience by looking at English literature from many different world cultures, while also maintaining a majority of the fresh- man curriculum that has already been put in place.
The freshman English course will align with Global Studies I, the freshman social studies class, which examines global cultures from antiquity to the middle ages.
As students enter their sophomore year, they will begin to explore British Literature. However, this does not mean that they will only be looking at writers born in England; rather, since the sun famously “never set” on the British Empire, students will explore the many different cultures that encompassed it.
While sophomores are learning about British Literature, they are also studying about the historical context of these works. This is accomplished through one of two courses that students can choose from: Global Studies II or A.P. World History. This is a departure from prior years, where advanced sophomore students would take A.P. European History. With this restructuring, sophomores can now expand on the material that is studied in Global Studies I, and learn how the societies of ancient times have developed into the modern cultures that are seen today.
To wrap up their sophomore year, students will be completing an extensive research project on a literary and historical topic of their choosing.
Social Studies Department Chair Mr. Brian Anselmo ’89 reflected how these changes “help students see how one course helps the other,” and show students that “what they do in English helps them understand what they are learning in Social Studies.”
The changes continue as students enter their junior and senior years. During junior year, students take A.P. Language and Composition with a focus on American Literature. This correlates with their social studies program, where they have a choice of American History or A.P. American History.
Finally, during senior year, students take either A.P. Literature and Composition or Honors Literature and Composition for their English class, and then A.P. Government and Politics for social studies.
“One of the primary goals of establishing more horizontal alignment within the curricula,” Mr. Andrew Salecker ’12 concluded, “is to provide students with more perspectives and opportunities to make connections across different places and times. The alignment of our humanities courses allows students to explore the universality of the human experience—in literature and in history.”