By Dora Betts
Students rush through the halls, scuttling past an isolated poster hung on a math teacher’s door. The poster boldly asks, “When will I ever use this in real life?” It answers with a long list of jobs printed below: lawyers, doctors, and more.
The commonality of this question has been ingrained into the very fabric of the American high school curriculum. Emphasis is placed on creating well-rounded students; however, this method of teaching is executed extremely poorly. Although some of the current material is beneficial, much of it is simply not necessary for societal growth. Students must regurgitate useless facts on an exam to never again encounter them in real life. This issue is specifically due to the lack of global studies in the Common Core curriculum that Manheim Township High School is centered on.
Global studies are essentially focused on the interaction between countries’ citizens and societies. Its importance is rooted in the necessary obligations that the current youth will have to face in the years to come. This subject concerns not just local issues, but international ones as well. Combating issues like climate change and economic crises will be done most effectively with an underlying knowledge of global studies. Understanding issues with a global perspective allows citizens to make informed decisions about the communities in which they live.
“I think that one of the primary jobs that we need to do, particularly in the modern world, is to make sure that [students] understand global studies and the world that [they] live in,” said Mrs. Sweeney, an AP World History teacher.
While global studies are somewhat incorporated into the International Baccalaureate curriculum through courses like theory of knowledge, very few students embark on the full IB Diploma. Advanced Placement, the more popular rigorous course program, provides little to no insight into global studies. However, there are some options.
Manheim Township High School does have a global perspectives course for seniors, but it is optional and unattractive to many students as it is not an AP course that can provide college credit. The High School also offers a virtual social problems course; however, it is unknown to most students and is not as valuable as a physical course provided within the school itself.
Although global studies are somewhat present in the High School, they hold very little sway in students’ education. Since they are not a mandatory aspect of the curriculum, global studies are not viewed as valuable as other aspects. Teachers, required to supply students with specific information, simply do not have the time to effectively incorporate global studies into their lesson plans. The lack of time in most students’ schedules also does not allow for at-home research to be done.
Despite these obstacles, global studies can still be incorporated into the American high school curriculum. Teachers can assign small, encouraging tasks, such as watching the news on television. In-class debates can also be held to allow students to gain new perspectives on current issues. Incorporation of global studies, however, is challenging if there is no change to the overall curriculum. In order to make change, informing those who hold the highest positions in the education system—even at the school level—can be an effective method. Nonetheless, the key to resolving this issue lies within the curriculum itself and, therefore, must be resolved within it. In doing so, students will be prepared to encounter and combat real-life issues that affect the world as a whole.