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.
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.
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. Since 2012, Betty Barr, the 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.
The 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, International History Bee and Bowl, and History Club.
History teachers reflect 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
Geography is a compulsory subject for all students in Grade 4, 5, 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.
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.
Students study the five themes of geography which are: location, place, human / environment interaction, movement, and region. They will study the geography of North America, South America, Central America 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.
Students of Grade 8 study the physical geography and cultural geography of Europe, Sub-saharan Africa, Southeast & South 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
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.
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. 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.