Teaching middle-school students to love the humanities

Stanford Humanities Circle
Students in the first Stanford Humanities Circle.

The Stanford Humanities Circle, an after-school academic enrichment program for middle-school and high school students, concluded its first session on March 15, instilling some 50 pre-collegiate students with an appreciation for the humanities.

The students, chosen by lottery, attended weekly sessions on campus, where they received instruction from Stanford faculty and Bay Area humanities experts.

“This program is about exploring ideas and learning about the humanities from multiple and diverse voices,” said CHRISTINE PARKER, director of Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS) programs.

The Humanities Circle is the third and latest installment of SPCS academic-year enrichment initiatives, joining the program’s Math Circle and Science Circle.

The winter quarter’s theme was philosophy, and students learned about the discipline from such teachers as WILLIE COSTELLO, an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy, and IAN ZUCKERMAN, a Thinking Matters teaching fellow in Stanford Introductory Studies.

Christine Parker
Christine Parker

JOHN HUANG of Hillsborough enrolled his daughter, TALIYAH, in the class.

“We wanted to expose her to another academic environment outside of school, to see a different perspective on things,” he said. “This course helps her think about those different perspectives and that there is more than one solution to a single problem. It’s great work that Stanford is doing, and I applaud them for it.”

The spring 2017 Humanities Circle will be open only to high school students (grades 9-12). The program begins April 5, and its theme will be ethics of science and technology.  Applications are currently being accepted.

For more information, visit Stanford Summer Humanities Institute.