By integrating English, literature, history, and social studies, our humanities approach ensures that students are able to apply their academic skills in diverse contexts. Bosque School’s humanities department prepares our graduates not only for college and career but also for lives of impact in an increasingly complex world.
In their humanities courses, students study themselves and others, both far away and in their own communities, and they learn to lift their own voices in more effective and considered ways. Through reading and responding to literature from around the world, Bosque School students develop a sense of the myriad of human cultures, and they consider whose voices are present in — and whose voices are absent from — the historical and literary record. Through writing, they explore possibilities for their own lives and learn to express themselves with clarity and nuance.
Middle school English classes establish a foundation for the development of clear, correct, and effective writing. Students experience writing as a process through which they explore ideas and gain empathy for the breadth of human experience. As readers, they analyze perspective, coming to understand how literature empowers us to know ourselves in relation to others. Middle school English texts range from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to Gandhi's My Life Is My Message and many other works of poetry, drama, memoir, and creative non-fiction.
Bosque students engage in authentic research from sixth grade through their capstone experience as seniors. A thorough grounding in historical and global knowledge provides context for individual and project-based learning. Carefully sequenced work with primary and secondary sources develops strong critical thinking and an ability to navigate today's information environment with skill and self-awareness.
In their middle school social studies classes, students learn to consider stories in their real-world contexts. They practice analysis of primary sources and evaluation of secondary sources, coming to understand the role of evidence in history and the social sciences. They develop independence and confidence by tackling projects that showcase their knowledge and skill. For example, seventh-grade students research their own heritage using primary and secondary sources. After analyzing mentor authors ranging from Sandra Cisneros and Kwame Alexander to Joy Harjo and Dave Barry, they produce memoirs and other creative non-fiction pieces for the community project Stories Along the Bosque.
In upper school humanities classes, students develop robust independent writing practices and learn to adapt their style to creative and persuasive genres, as well as to evidence-based arguments. They become versatile and confident writers, ready to write and present for authentic audiences beyond the school community. Their horizons as readers expand as well. Literature read in upper school humanities classes may include Gilgamesh, the Ramayana, the Sundiata, Cervantes's Don Quixote, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Stoker's Dracula, Camus' The Plague, Wells' War of the Worlds, Butler's Fledgling, or Adichie's Americanah — among many others. In keeping with the upper school's humanities approach, works of literature are taught alongside and in contrast or relation to historical primary texts.
Upper school students also deepen their understanding of the way that present-day challenges emerge from local, national, and global histories. They learn to use databases and to evaluate and interpret peer-reviewed professional research. Through senior capstone projects across disciplines, they produce original research of their own and write research-based arguments that align with the professional expectations of the discipline they have chosen for their project — whether history, literary study, visual arts, or the sciences.
Students in 10th through 12th grade are given the opportunity to personalize their learning as they choose from an array of advanced special-topics electives. Some recent electives include Shakespeare's Afterlives, Sports and Society, Ancient Philosophy, Gender Studies, and Haiti in the Americas. By senior year, our students are thoughtful readers, careful listeners, and effective communicators in writing and speech. They understand the power of language to shape thinking and forge connections between individuals.
Three-week-long immersive courses (offered each May) provide additional opportunities for students to apply their humanities passions, skills, and knowledge through interdisciplinary coursework. Some recent humanities immersives include: Tell a Tale (middle school), Amazing Race New Mexico (middle school), Voices & Images of New Mexico (upper school), Filmmaking (upper school), Social Justice and Art (upper school).
Seniors have the opportunity to deepen their commitment, knowledge, and expertise in humanities by grounding their year-long senior capstone research in the humanities department. Those whose research question is based in the humanities write a 20+ page paper guided by a primary and secondary reader, honing their argument in a formal thesis defense. The project culminates in a colloquium presentation, where they present their thesis to a public audience as authentic experts in their chosen area. Some recent capstone topics include:
- The End of the World as We Know It: A Comparative Analysis of Norse, Hopi, and Christian Faiths in Search of the Societal Roots and Effects of Apocalyptic Belief
- American Textbooks: How Politics and Economics Dictate What We Learn
- How Can the Etymology of the Word “Nostalgia” Allow Us to Better Understand Nostalgia as a Human Sensation?
Extracurricular opportunities to extend learning across the humanities and language arts include Film Club, Poetry Out Loud, The Oracle (a creative magazine), Spreading Literacy Club, Mock Trial, and Model United Nations.