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History and Geography


Introduction for History Department


      Shanghai High School has a rich historical legacy, being founded in 1865 and establishing itself as the top school in Shanghai and one of the best in China. Shanghai High School International Division’s History Department is dedicated to continuing this tradition of educational excellence by extending its programs to the international community in Shanghai, creating a world class learning community and providing an enriching educational experience founded on the values, principles, and vision that has guided Shanghai High School for the past 150 years.


1、 Course Description
      SHSID history courses educate learners to develop a critical perspective of the world and to understand how their own identities and cultures relate to a larger global and historical context. The History Department provides students with both a broad, comprehensive knowledge of the historical forces that have shaped the world’s civilizations, as well as detailed, focused courses that examine particular societies and time periods. Our curriculum encourages students to be critically aware of the multi-cultural, religious, social, ethnic, and global concerns that are necessary for global citizenship and develops the critical thinking skills necessary for active and informed participation as 21st century learners. SHSID History facilitates an appreciation among our students for cultures different from their own and creates the understanding that the world is a “global community.”
The Department particularly prides itself on the diversity of its course offerings. SHSID offers studies in World History, Western Civilization, US History, American Government and Politics, and Chinese History at the Honors and the Standard levels. Our curriculum encourages each student to challenge themselves, develop their abilities, and to reach their potential by offering Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in AP World History, AP US History and IB History.


2、 Teaching Methodology
      The history faculty is committed to supporting each individual student’s learning. By applying diverse pedagogical approaches and dynamic instruction, SHSID history engages all learners. Through research projects, historical writing, class discussions, filmmaking, guided discussion, lectures, and historical analysis, students are able to not only learn history, but to apply its principles to their overall education. History education at SHSID is designed around providing 21st century skills-based knowledge, emphasizing critical evaluation, analysis, and application of history. The History Department strives for students to become active, discerning, responsible, lifelong learners and global citizens.
      In addition to our formal curriculum, there are many opportunities for students to practice and experience history outside of the classroom. Shanghai High School is the former site of the WWII Lunghwa Civil Assembly Center. For the past three years Betty Barr, the 83 year old lone remaining survivor of the Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre still living in Shanghai, has come to our campus to speak to students about her life here as an internee from 1943-1945. Thanks to Ms. Barr, the history of SHSID has come to life, helping students understand the significance and historical impact of the camp, the role of the school during WWII, and how that history impacts the campus today.


3、 Student Achievement
      SHSID History Department prepares each learner with valuable knowledge, skills, and values necessary for success beyond the classroom. Regardless of the academic discipline or career path students pursue after high school, history builds a solid foundation for further study in all academic areas, enhancing their critical thinking, research, writing, and presentation skills. SHSID IB/AP history students’ scores consistently outrank the global average. In addition to the academic opportunities, our students also show great enthusiasm in social studies programs after school, such as Debate Club, World Scholars Cup, and History Club.

4、Teaching Staff
      There are approximately 35 history teachers in history department, all reflecting the rich educational and multicultural elements representative of SHSID. History teachers in SHSID represent China, the United States, Canada and the UK. Nearly half of SHSID history teachers have a master’s degree of history, and the other half hold bachelor degrees of history or social studies. History Department staff members also hold bachelor degrees of education, and a few have bachelor degrees of English literature. Our history teachers bring a variety of educational experiences, with members having taught in universities or high schools in the US, Japan, and Korea before coming to SHSID, contributing valuable teaching experiences and knowledge to the department.




Geography Subject Description

A. Introduction
      Geography is a compulsory subject for all students in Grade 4, 5, 7, and 8 at SHSID. There are THREE different levels from Grade 4 to Grade 8: Honors Level (H Level), Standard+ Level (S+ Level), and Standard Level (S Level). High school Geography department provides four types of Geography courses at two different levels – Honors and Standard. These four courses consist of Physical Geography in 9th grade, Human Geography in 10th grade, and both Geographic Concepts & AP Human Geography in 11th grade. The subject introduces students to the physical and cultural geography of each continent in the world, as well as to the peoples of those regions. The goal of the subject is to produce a geographically informed student who sees meaning in the arrangement of things in space and applies a spatial perspective to life situations.

B. Features

I. Themed courses
      Geography at SHSID has been planned to give students an overview of world geography and basic ways of studying geography. Students will systematically study world geography in different courses from Grade 4 to Grade 8.
• Primary school:
      Students study the five themes of geography which are: location, place, human / environment interaction, movement, and region. This is done as an introduction to geographic organization and done during the first two weeks of Grade 4. We try to impress the basic terms and basic methods of geography onto students. Students have continued opportunities to enrich their application of the 5 themes through the remainder of the curriculum, which focuses on regional complexities. They will study the geography of North America, South America, the Pacific world and Europe in Grade 4 and 5. Through each region, student focus will be emphasized through the following topics: physical features, climate, the people, economy and environment of these regions.
• Middle school:
      Students of Grade 7 and 8 study the physical geography and cultural geography of Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia, Australia and Oceania. In the middle school, they study these regions in detail and with greater emphasis on the duality between the physical and human components that portray geography as an interdisciplinary social science. The courses enable students to obtain a strong foundational understanding of basic geographic concepts. As well, skill development becomes a primary focus through these courses; skills which involve map reading, map drawing, graph and statistical analysis. Students are encouraged to learn both cooperatively within group and to foster skills as independent learner. The exploration, inquiry and solution making, and overall understanding of contemporary issues of environmental degradation, climate change, regional wealth disparity, dilemmas and processes surrounding the notion of development, are the underlying pursuit of these courses; and provide the framework for students to become global citizens
• High school:
      Physical Geography studies the physical characteristics of the earth. Students learn about climatic issues, weather patterns, landforms, the rock cycle, soils, vegetation and water usage. This course also examines the formation of each geo-system, their operating mechanism, and the interaction among different systems, as well as the impact of the physical environment upon people and the impact of people upon their physical environment.
      Human Geography is focused on analyzing spatial variations among cultural groups and the unique functions of society, as well as the changing and multifaceted relationships between people and the environments in which they reside. Students learn the basic geographical tools and concepts needed to understand the complexity of spaces and areas and to appreciate the interconnections between their lives and those of people in different parts of the world.  Geographic Concepts is divided into two parts – Economic Geography and Geographic Information System. The Economic component covers the following contents: economic development, food and agriculture, industry and manufacturing, service and settlements, urban patterns, and globalization. Students also learn about history and basic concepts of GIS, current applications and case studies, data collection and mining, and simple spatial analysis. Students need to use computer programs, such as Mapinfo or Arcview, which have been routinely used in preliminary GIS study. Those interested in cultural diffusion and how human beings have affected the planet, with a special emphasis on geographic models and maps, are drawn to the AP Human Geography course. This course integrates the components of society such as population growth, distribution and demographics, culture, urban contexts, political organization of the world, and global economics and development.


II. Special contents
      The goal of the subject is to produce a geographically informed student who sees meaning in the arrangement of things in space and applies a spatial perspective to life situations. The students study not only the location and numbers but also the ways geography can be applied in the real life. The study of world geography will help them to develop an approach to the man-land relationship, direct students to supplementary readings and cooperative learning, and organize a student led instructional program in which competent students teach those who need help.

III. Teaching emphasis
Our emphasis on communication/writing skills, research ability, and critical thinking offer top-notch preparation for students applying to universities and pursuing different careers in the future.

• Communication skills
      Geography is a subject to get knowledge about different places and regions. The subject introduces students to the physical and cultural geography of each continent in the world, as well as to the peoples of those regions. The knowledge is important in developing the literacy and communication skills essential in many jobs. The subject also encourages students from different countries to share their own information in the process of study.

• Research ability
      Geography also asks students to learn how to know and understand the world in spatial terms. As they progress, students will know how to use maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context, and how to analyze questions with a geographic perspective.


• Critical thinking
      During the study of geography, students understand the relationship between physical systems and human systems, and the relationship between environment and society. During their investigations, students extend their thinking and learn how to apply geography to interpret the past, the present, and plan for the future.

C. Aims
• To promote the acquisition of knowledge and understanding of the earth and the people who live on the earth.
• To lead students to become aware of their immediate surrounding which forms the world environment, so that they can understand the relationship of themselves with the environment.
• To help students understand their role in society, and the relationships between society and the natural environment.
• To promote a lifelong interest in the study of Geography.

D. Objectives
Students will know and understand:
• The physical and human characteristics of places and the socially constructed nature of global regions.
• How culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions
• How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on earth's surface.
• How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
• The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations.
• The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of earth's cultural mosaics.
• The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.
• How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of earth's surface.
• How human actions modify the physical environment and how physical systems affect human systems.
• The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
• How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

E. Assessment
Each semester students will be required to complete a minimum of one semester project or essay. The projects are designed to provide an alternative means for a student to express his or her understanding of world geography and his or her skills in knowledge usage.  Projects are both challenging and difficult, as well as contain a creative summative perspective, but nonetheless a test of a student’s ability and understanding.
Home Assignments
Exercises from World Geography

1. Two monthly progress reports and two exams per semester.
2. Monthly progress reports:
                Homework                                          30%
                Quiz                                                    30%
                Project                                                25%
                Class behavior                                   15%
3. Semester Overall:
                      Monthly progress reports            30%
                      Mid-term                                     30%
                      Final                                            40%