Every year the Humanities I in Action classes visit the Foshan orphanage as a vital experiential dimension of our curriculum. Four classes will visit the orphanage during two different weekends in November. For many students, the Foshan trip is the highlight of the course.
During the first semester our in-class study considers the struggles of the human condition through our novel Lord of the Flies, various psychological and sociological experiments, and the study of genocide. However, as we all know, that’s only part of the picture. Taking the students to an orphanage for a weekend, combined with curricular examples of people making a difference that we draw upon all year, helps students find that there is something very right, too, with human nature. Every year students respond so positively to the plight of children in the orphanage. These powerful impressions are brought to bear on our academic work, and students return to the classroom to write personal narratives of their experience. The Foshan trip becomes an important “text” to add to our intensive in-class work. Our study culminates at the end of the first semester with an essay answering the question how the class materials and experiences in this class have affected, deepened and/or challenged students’ worldview.
I have asked students in my class this semester to respond to the following question: What role has the Foshan trip played in your learning during the first semester in Humanities I in Action? Their responses are recorded below.
To read one of the best narrative essays written about Foshan, click here for Nikki’s piece.
You can read about other blog entries about the Foshan experience – click on the following links for the 2013 trip, 2011 trip, and the 2010 trip as well as a student reflection from 2012 about the Foshan trip in 2003.