Grade 9 Humanities is dedicated to examining the reasons why people take up violent struggle to "reform society". From day one students analyze the human condition by engaging questions like: Have you ever lied to get something you want? Have you ever used physical power over somebody weaker (perhaps a sibling?) to make a point or get your way? Under what circumstances might you be more likely to act aggressively: when hungry, when threatened, when people don't agree, when you hold great physical power over somebody?"
From there students look specifically at how altruistic Enlightenment philosophy led to the catastrophe of the Reign of Terror in France and the Red Terror in Russia. Basically the teacher helps students analyze Pascal's words: "The sad irony is that the one who set out to act the Angel oftentimes ends up acting the Brute."
In addition, students are constantly asked to consider the ideologies used to justify violent revolutionary actions. A discussion of what is Truth and who designs it is also with us from day one as students think about the role that being a True Believer has in causing chaos and destruction. Accordingly, Napoleon's quote about Truth: "Truth is NOT important. What people believe to be the Truth IS important" is referred at each step of our study to as we look at Lenin (Russian Revolution), Castro/Che (Cuban Revolution), Ataturk (Turkish Revolution), and Ayatollah Khomeini (Iranian Revolution). These questions are then turned on current world leaders and, ultimately, ourselves.
Skills wise Humanities 9 is one long conversation and debate. Students begin the process of critically reading, discussing and writing in order to somebody perhaps become a thoughtful international citizen. Tasks include frequent HW quizzes (unannounced), graded discussion, debate, student led discussion and Essay writing.