International Issues of the 21st Century– What’s it Really About?

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Hopkinton High School history teacher Shannon Allberry poses after being interviewed about her newest class, honors International Issues of the 21st Century. Photo by Cassie Bullock

By Cassie Bullock
Among the many new classes Hopkinton High School has to offer for the school year of 2012-2013, a new history class taught at the honors level, International Issues of the 21st Century taught by Shannon Allberry, is the talk of the school among both students and teachers wondering what specifically the class is about.

The class came about when Allberry, a history teacher at HHS, adopted the class from fellow teacher Christine Carr.

“Ms. Carr taught a class called Global Issues, and I was very interested in that. So, I asked her if I could teach it, and she said yes, but I changed it a little to fit my personality,” Allberry said.

International Issues of the 21st Century seems like a self explanatory class based on the title, but there is more to the class than there seems.

“It’s a course about international issues… and we start off with the most basic relations between countries, which is trade. We learn about the different ways countries trade and what they trade with each other. Then we look at human rights issues and how to protect them,” said Allberry. “Currently, we are in a unit on the development of nuclear weapons and what the world could do about controlling the spread of nuclear weapons. But, it is essentially just looking at really important issues of the 21st century that you guys will have to vote on and make decisions about later on in life,” she added.

Senior Jillian Katz is currently taking the course this semester.

“We watched a video about inequality…and we researched the [presidential] debate and information about that and certain candidates’ views on immigration. We don’t take many notes. It’s more of class discussion,” said Katz.

Allberry confirmed that the class is mostly discussion based.

“I do a lot of group discussion and hands on activities as much as possible. We do a lot of discussions and simulations,” stated Allberry.

Katz states that it is generally an enjoyable class.

“I really like it. Ms. Allberry is very lenient with her teaching style, so it’s a very laid back class and we still get to learn all of the information that she intended for us to learn. It’s a fun class,” Katz explained.

Allberry believes that although many students did not have the class as their first choice, they still enjoy the class.

“When I asked them at the beginning of the year, a lot of them said they were put into the class by guidance, and they didn’t really have any idea of what it would be. But, they seem to be really liking it so far,” Allberry said.

“It’s a fun atmosphere with a great learning environment,” said senior Allison Clifford.

Overall, International Issues of the 21st Century has been a hit amongst students taking the class and will continue to grow as a class over the next few years.

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