Cynthia is involved with high school placement counseling and Humanities curriculum development, and teaches Humanities.
What are you currently teaching and doing at Nueva?
This year, our first semester curriculum for seventh and eighth grade included something called from “Space to Place.” It asks, “How does a place like Manhattan go from an overgrown, swampy, hilly place with relatively few inhabitants to Manhattan as we know it?” There are now eleven identified megacities (for example, Mexico City, Shanghai, and Tokyo) and we ask, “Why are these the megacities?”
I developed a curriculum called “The Cultural Identity of a City.” Students first learn what “cultural identity” means — that it’s anthropological, it’s sociological, and there’s a lot of geography involved. We ask, “How does geography affect history?” Then students do a research project based on a place of their choice. If studying Japanese, they might focus on Kyoto in the tenth century, or Granada in the twelfth century for Spanish, or fifthteenth-century Beijing for Mandarin.