The Importance of Humanities

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As I haven’t been able to log onto the site for a while, my husband created my own website, where I posted the Powerpoint and the links, lesson, and material.  You can access the site here.


Humanities is a required course that many students do not feel is important in their careers.  Coming to Valencia, most students have the basic idea of what they want to study.  Business courses to be a CEO, science and math for health degrees and engineering, or culinary for hospitality.  Few come into my class wanting to be a humanities professor, art critic, or museum curator.  Hence, they do not care about the class whatsoever.  It is a requirement to get a degree, nothing else.  Degrees = jobs = money

They try to do less work in humanities than the other classes; some fail my tests stating they needed to study for “real” courses, like math, instead.  This is especially a problem with Intro students, who seem to think a GPA is flexible, and I’m not really “serious” about their learning.

I have decided to begin Intro to Humanities with a one week program outlining the various benefits to studying the subject, how it can be beneficial for many areas of study.  Many careers can use liberal arts degrees.

About the Students

A typical Intro to Humanities student:—

* Is not prepared for college learning

* —Cannot write to a high college standard

—* Does not know the importance of humanities, either in the workplace or in their personal lives

—* Wants an “easy A” to get a degree

—* Is certain that a math and science degree will get them the lifestyle they want

—* Has no background or interest in the humanities

Because of this, I have seen some unpleasant consequences.  —Humanities students are less prepared for my class than other classes.  Because they see no importance in what they are learning, they study less for it than they do for hard sciences.  —If forced to choose, they will take a lower grade in humanities if it means a higher grade in math or science.

—I have prepared a week-long study of the importance of humanities, followed by a class project worth 20% of their grade.

Lesson 1

—Introduce the concept of humanities, highlighting the major terms and figures.

—Have students read the infographs silently, then discuss.  I have quite a few, but my main one will be this.

The students will then watch the Ted Ed video “How Art Can Help You Analyze” 

—Discuss the students’ intended careers.  Break them into small groups and have them brainstorm ways they can use humanities in their jobs.

—List potential careers and humanities topics on cards.  Have students break into 4 teams, draw 2 cards each, and explain for points how that career can use humanities.

Lesson 2

—For their homework, students are assigned into small groups of 4 people each, using playing cards.

—Groups choose a career in the humanities and begin researching the requirements (degrees, training, etc.) and the salaries.

—Students have half the semester to conduct a video interview of someone in that chosen career, upload it to YouTube, and present it to the class.

Group Project

—Students will interview a person in the humanities profession, after obtaining all the necessary permissions.

—Students will video the interview (about 5 minutes long) and upload to a group blog or YouTube.

—Students will show the interview video in class and be prepared to answer any questions about the chosen profession.

End Results

—Students become aware of the subject and terminology of humanities.

—Students see that many professions use humanities in various ways.

—Students develop interpersonal communication skills as they conduct interviews.

—Students foster a new appreciation of humanities, seeing it as both useful and necessary.

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