March 17, 2023
This article was originally posted on the Miss Porter’s School website.
Have you ever read a novel in which the historical context was of no importance? Do you ever do math that isn’t connected to something you are trying to find out? When you want to truly understand something, do you look at it solely from one perspective? Is there any significant problem in the world that can be solved by approaching it only through the lens of one academic discipline? I am guessing the answer to these questions is almost always “no.”
Why, then, are schools structured around single-discipline academic departments? Probably because that is the way it has always been. Well, it is time for things to change. If we want students to thrive in adulthood and have the skills they need to tackle complex problems, then we must organize their education in a way that helps them approach learning differently.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by focusing classes not on what would typically be considered “school” subjects — biology, algebra, literature, history — but instead on a problem. There are multitudes to choose from: topics as broad as climate…