Interdisciplinary Learning in the Humanities
Louisa Fish-Sadin '08, High School Humanities and Dance/9th Grade Dean

This semester, I have the pleasure of co-teaching two interdisciplinary classes to students at the start and end of their high school careers. These classes are both co-taught, so our students benefit from multiple teachers in the room together, creating curriculum together and bringing their varied expertise to the courses. Because the classes are interdisciplinary, students explore themes from multiple disciplinary perspectives and practice transferring their academic skills across disciplinary contexts.
One of these courses is the 9th grade integrated course, Exploring Global Cultures, where all 9th-grade students get both religious studies and social studies credit. The course is framed around world religions and contemporary global issues. Students encounter 
challenges that face our world today and explore the ways religious and cultural literacy helps us understand global problems and dream up solutions. At the moment, students have just finished a unit on colonization, decolonization and identity. Our case study was the country of Nigeria, and students completed graphic essays analyzing the religious and historical factors that shape the Nigerian identity today. Now, we are focusing on sustainable development and health care. This includes learning about United Nations' sustainable development goals, researching health care systems and challenges in various nations, and conducting a Model United Nations meeting focused on health care topics.
The other interdisciplinary course I am teaching is our Indigenous Peoples elective, open to 11th and 12th-grade students. This is a new course, developed at the students' request, and my co-teacher and I are enjoying the process of building the course and evaluating our work. We are also ensuring that the course centers on Indigenous voices and makes connections to other material students have encountered in their coursework at Forest Ridge. In this course, we have just completed a unit on Spirituality and Contact, where we explored topics including the atrocities of the Residential School Systems in the US and Canada, spiritual appropriation and native Christianity today. Next, we move into a unit on rights and legal Frameworks, where I am excited to use some materials related to Pacific Northwest fishing rights that I developed in graduate school. I'm grateful for the opportunity to engage students in interdisciplinary, thematic explorations across their high school experience.