History and Geography
History and Geography offer many benefits to its students, intellectual and as well as practical. Both offer a way for them to find out about themselves and their world by using an holistic and interdisciplinary approach, and this approach is inclusive rather than exclusive. They enjoy finding out about their world; its composition, its structure, its past, its present, its successes, its problems. In this way they soon acquire the knowledge and understanding to make suggestions for its future. Students benefit from the use of a range of teaching techniques and audio-visual aids that cater for a variety of learning styles. Many important skills and techniques that students develop are conducive to independent learning and are transferable to many different fields during their time at school and in later life.
History and Geography are taught as an integrated Humanities course in Grades 6 – 10. Both subjects are taught through to IB Diploma level.
Some of the crucial questions that face the young historian are summed up by E. H. Carr, who once stated that historical facts are “like fish swimming about in a vast ocean…. what the historian catches will depend, partly on chance, but mainly on what part of the ocean he chooses to fish in and what tackle he chooses to use – these two factors being, of course, determined by the kind of fish he wants to catch. By and large the historian will get the kind of facts he wants.”
Carr identifies the central problems of bias and interpretation, and the difficulty of the ‘absence of evidence’; most of the past has not been recorded and, when it has, the historian must question everything that s/he studies. Where does the evidence come from? Who wrote it, and why? What does the evidence tell us? What bias does the historian bring to bear on the evidence? Can the student be objective enough to interpret the evidence without prejudice?
Students at ISBerne work to find solutions to problems posed by analysing evidence, and in doing so develop skills of enquiry and critical analysis; they become independent thinkers, empowered to make their own judgements and build their own view of the world.
The study of geography at ISBerne helps students to grasp the dynamic quality of spatial realities and to understand the changes that have taken place in different environments. It enables the student to study the environment as well as recognizing that, whilst natural forces shape the Earth, humans are important agents of change in their environment and action taken by one society may affect the entire world. Emphasis is placed on students developing an understanding of their immediate natural and social environment through to an appreciation of spatial phenomena on local, regional, national and global scales. They become aware of the challenges to humankind, as well as of our individual and collective responsibilities.
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