When students transition from high school, they face a world of bewildering changes, challenges, risks, and opportunities. This two-semester course gives students the tools, concepts, and resources they need to make sense of the major issues of concern in the world today. At the end of the course, they will be able to...
identify and analyze key economic, political, cultural, and environmental issues
stay informed about issues of concern to them
take a position on issues, justify their position, and express their views effectively (for example, by voting, writing letters, and doing volunteer work)
The course has two strands: Themes and News . Strand 1 - Themes The course is organized into units based on the following themes. Students will view each theme both in isolation and in relationship to other themes.
Globalization — Its history, characteristics, and impact, together with the local and nationalist resistance to globalization. Globalization can be defined as a process marked by (1) the expansion of international trade, (2) the movement of people to regions of greater safety and opportunity, and (3) the spread of ideas and information through digital technology. Examples of resistance to globalization range include the rise of populist and nationalist movements in many countries. Analysis of economic events and trends is central to the theme of globalization.
Climate change — The causes, effects, and projected impacts of global warming; proposed methods of mitigating climate change; the debate within and between countries about climate change.
Conflict — This complex theme includes both "great-power" rivalries (e.g., tensions between China and the US) and regional wars (e.g., Iran vs. Saudi Arabia in the Middle East). Specific local conflicts, including civil strife in Yemen, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Syria, will be analyzed in the context of these larger conflicts. Central to this themes is the comparison of types of government and the rise of authoritarian governments in particular.
Human rights — This theme addresses several key questions: What are human rights? How are they being threatened? What organizations protect them? Students will address this theme through case studies on, for example, the treatment of Uighurs in western China and the Rohingya in Burma. The role of authoritarian governments is important in this theme, too.
Migration - Its causes, structure, and human reality, together with the cultural and political opposition to migration in many countries. Students will learn how this aspect of globalization relates to the other themes, including Conflict and Climate Change as causes of migration.
Natural resources — The context of this theme is the pressure of the world's growing population on limited resources. This theme will be approached through case studies focused, for example, on water scarcity, food supply, and the diminishing supply of oil. Students will consider the role of technology in easing resource constraints and creating alternative sources of food and energy.
Students will learn about these themes from a variety of online and print media. Project work will give students the opportunity to master the concepts, vocabulary, and trends underlying these themes.
Strand 2 - News Closely integrated with the Themes strand is the analysis of the events and trends featured in the daily news. Several times a week, students will explore current events as reported by newspapers, TV, radio, social media, and other sources. They will learn to situate current events in a matrix of larger themes such as Conflict, Human Rights, and Climate Change. In the process they will acquire skills for analyzing the news critically. An important part of the News strand is the analysis of global "hot spots" such as Hong Kong, Iran, and Kashmir. Students will revisit stories about these hot-spots throughout the year to deepen their understanding of their world. Skill development. This course is designed to impart and refine many skills, building on the skills that students bring from their history, government, and other social studies courses at KTS. In addition, students will work on the specific skills required to make sense of global issues:
Map skills. Because geography shapes global themes and events,students will refine basic map-reading skills and acquire the skills required to analyze special-purpose maps and other visual representations of global realities such as conflict in the Middle East. They will also have the chance to create maps.
Research skills. Students will have the opportunity to address research questions and refine the skills required to use primary and secondary sources effectively. Students will learn strategies for finding specific information and techniques for taking usable notes. They will use graphic organizers to learn to synthesize information from multiple sources and different media.
Reading skills. Students will have frequent opportunity to read and annotate a variety of online and print text materials. Important objectives in this area include the ability to recognize bias and distinguish reliable from "fake" news. Accommodations for reading and making annotations will be integrated into the reading process.
Communication skills. Students will use traditional and online media to communicate their understand and opinions to a variety of audiences. They will use creative online tools such as Book Creator and FlipGrid. As part of this skill, students will work on the entire writing process, including setting a purpose, understanding the audience, organizing ideas, structuring paragraphs, choosing the most effective words, and writing coherent sentences.
Technology in this course ...
How your quarterly grade is calculated
10% of your grade will measure classroom participation: compliance with the school's positive behavioral program (PBIS); appropriate participation in class activities and discussions; and contribution to a positive classroom environment.
45% will measure performance on work that developslearning, including homework, classroom activities, warm-ups, and discussions
45% will measure performance on work that assessesunderstanding, including projects, posters, presentations, formative assessments (quizzes), and summative assessments (unit tests). There will be a midterm in mid-January worth 10% of the 2nd quarter grade, with Participation, Learning, and Assessment adjusted accordingly