Monday, March 23, 2009

Themes Instead of Subjects—Interesting to Consider

"Rethinking Education," an article by Julian Richardson in Sunday's Jamaica Observer, proposes that Jamaican high schools think about the humanities curriculum in terms of "life themes" that have "obsessed all cultures and all peoples in one way or another." Examples include 'The Origins of the Universe', 'Representations of God', 'Food and Nature', 'The Individual and the Common Good', 'Racial Differences and the Other', 'Gender Identity and Sexual Relations', 'Marriage and Family', 'Civil Life and Political Systems', 'Aging and Death', 'Art and Beauty', and 'Work, Tools and Technology'. (The article expands on each of these.)

Richardson proposes students would be more engaged in these themes than they are in things like "history" or "geography." Examples of arts integrated instruction in books such as Third Space: Where Learning Matters by Lauren Stevenson and Richard Deasy from the Arts Education Partnership, certainly could support that hypothesis.

1 comment:

Tom Kennedy - Plainville said...

What a great article. It is so refreshing to hear someone talking about the distinctions between being literate, job-ready, and educated. Of course thematic approaches to teaching are not new, but to consider organizing the entire curriculum around "life themes" is brilliant. Let's hear it for the humanities and the kind of "education (that) gives life its deeper meaning and allows a fuller participation in civil and political discourse."