Humanities courses in selected Indiana high schools
The problem in this study was to analyze teacher preparation, objectives, organizational designs, instructional methods and practices, and teaching materials for high school courses registered by school officials as Humanities with the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for twenty Indiana public high schools in the fall of 1971-1972.The study consisted of three phases. First, a review of related literature emphasized actual classroom practices within the last decade. Second, a questionnaire, criticized by a panel of educators, was revised by the writer and sent to thirty-two public high schools offering Humanities. Twenty valid returns were used.Third, of the twenty high schools, the writer visited five, observing and interviewing students and professional personnel involved in Humanities. The impressionistic approach was the chief feature of the third phase. Data and opinions were gathered by the use of an eleven-page instrument for interviewing the principal, department head, guidance counselor, librarian, Humanities teacher and Humanities students, and for observing a Humanities class. In addition, the impressions of the writer were recorded to characterize descriptive details and dialogue "personalizing" the Humanities course of each of the five schools. The resulting five folios, or case studies, presented five distinct Humanities courses and the people and places which affected them.In the findings, more women than men taught Humanities. Although the men averaged four years more teaching experience, the women had an average of .7 years more experience in teaching Humanities. Most of the teachers had both undergraduate and graduate majors in language arts. All had received their bachelor's degrees and over one-half, their master's degrees in Indiana colleges and universities.Most teachers had no undergraduate or graduate hours in college humanities courses which combined two or more allied areas in a single course (literature, art, music, etc.). None had undergraduate methods courses, student teaching, or school work-shop experience in humanities. Approximately one-fourth of the teachers had been John Hay Fellows. Fewer than one-half indicated they belonged to professional organizations which espouse the humanities.Regarding Humanities course objectives, more than one-half of the teachers selected first the transmission of the classical heritage, then the European, and American. Most teachers indicated that their courses encouraged independent thinking, intellectual and aesthetic judgment, but a majority of teachers rejected as a course objective, the creation of an art form.Regarding organizational design of the course, most teachers chose the multi-media approach first, the great themes approach second, and the culture-epoch, third.The most frequently used class practice was the issuance of course grades, followed by Socratic questioning and teacher-student planning. About one-half of the teachers engaged in team teaching. Over one-half sometimes assigned library-research papers. Nearly one-fourth of the teachers with their classes visited museums, then art galleries, and last architectural sites.For teaching materials, nearly all teachers used filmstrips, slides, films, records, tapes and paperback books.Titles of study units were broadly thematic (Love, Death, Happiness, etc.), and centered first on the individual and second on his relationship to society.