The study of humanities is a way to value the stories we tell and remember. Disciplines such as history and geography function as part of our collective memory. Philosophy addresses the structure of thinking and argument, and studies in religion can provide us with an ethical framework as well as a spiritual base for wellbeing.
At Melbourne Grammar School we approach these disciplines with an appreciation for the ways in which they are linked and how the knowledge and approach of each area supports further learning.
The shape of our environment
In their primary years, our students begin their study of humanities by exploring the stories that resonate within Australian history and culture, from Indigenous traditions to ANZAC Day. At this stage, we are interested in giving students time to learn and understand their own histories and cultures, and shape of the world around them.
Once they join Wadhurst, Melbourne Grammar students begin to study more as historiographers. They are now learning about how history is made, including the most effective ways to collect primary and secondary sources, how bias impacts the collection of material, the use and influence of language, and the power structures that shape history as a whole.
As geographers, Wadhurst and Senior School students more closely consider how the environment and space shape communities, and how people shape their own environment. They explore environs firsthand with field trips forming an important part of many subjects.
Once they move into their senior years, the skills students have acquired to question received knowledge and pursue their own learning goals support them as they move into the advanced tasks and examinations of the VCE.
Religion, spirituality, ethics and philosophy
Religious studies at Melbourne Grammar School considers three broad areas – religious faith and practice, spiritual development and ethics. Philosophy is a natural companion to religious studies and we treat it as such in the classroom until VCE separates the two into different subjects.
The School is inclusive and recognises that not all students in the classroom subscribe to the Anglican faith. Nevertheless, as the Anglican religion is questioning by nature, it does provide a useful basis on which to explore other religions and the other elements of our religious studies programme.
Over the years students consider how faith underpins the temper of the world. They learn about the historical journey of religion over time and its impact today.
Spirituality is a core Melbourne Grammar School value. In religious studies, it is about building a capacity to reflect, to contemplate and to connect with others and with a spiritual force some people call God.
Ethical and philosophical thinking is interwoven into religious studies at the School. In Year 9, for example, students consider ‘conflict’ from a religious, ethical and philosophical framework.