Nowadays, literacy is no longer just about being able to read and write. It is about gaining specialized knowledge in a variety of fields to understand the world’s underlying mechanism and future development, as well as the internal strength needed to tackle challenges. This is why CACS created a foundational curriculum consisting of five modules: Social Awareness, Global Vision, Technology Acumen, Cultural Pluralism, and Mindfulness. Through readings, discussions, and projects, CACS students will be better prepared for not just their applications to elite universities around the world, but also their journey to become well-rounded leaders of the future.
By referencing to elite U.S. boarding schools’ course syllabi and summer reading lists, we put together this foundational curriculum that aims to enrich CACS students’ literacy in the following five fields. Students will also be able to improve their reading, writing, thinking, and public speaking skills throughout the process.
Key Concepts: Race, Gender, Equality, Justice
Students will get not just a historical overview of race and gender in America, but also a closer look at the ongoing issues such as America’s sagging middle class and modern-day segregation. Topics covered in this module include the Civil Rights movement, three waves of feminism, hashtag activism (#BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo), wealth gap, education inequality, poverty and profit, and so on.
Key Concepts: Global Poverty, Peace, Climate Change, Health
Why do people still starve? Why do wars keep happening? What to do with refugees? Who gets most severely impacted by global warming? How do we respond to pandemics? This module will address all these questions and guide students to think more deeply about the implications of an increasingly globalized world.
Key Concepts: Digital Surveillance, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain Technology, Bioethics
Technology is drastically reshaping the way we think, behave, and live; however, it has also raised concerns about privacy, security, and ethics. For instance, how do we program autonomous vehicles to make sure they make the most ethical life-death decisions when an accident occurs? What laws are needed to regulate new biotechnologies such as genetic editing? This module encourages students to think critically about both recent breakthroughs and future technologies.
Key Concepts: Cultural Relativism, Colonialism, Decolonization, 'Asianness'
Culture plays an indispensable role in holding a group of people together—a nation, an ethnicity, a region, a school, and so forth. However, it can also be misused to forge biases and conflicts. For instance, to justify slavery and colonization, Europe and America asserted the superiority of the whites over other races and cultures. This module will guide students through the complex historical interactions between western and non-western civilizations, exploring why it is urgent to replace the existing cultural hierarchy with a new model of pluralism.
Key Concepts: Self-love, Happiness, Respect, Meaning of Life
Besides paying attention to the outside world, it is equally important to focus on our internal well-being. This module will discuss topics relevant to adolescent life: the importance of self-love, happiness, respect, and finding a purpose in life. The ultimate goal is to arm you with the internal strength essential to finding one’s place in the world and tackling the challenges it is facing.