History and Citizenship Education (Cycle One)

Print section

A new vision of humanity

Humanism deeply changed the culture of European societies during the Renaissance. Critical thinking gradually replaced adherence to traditions transmitted by the Church. The study of the Renaissance allows students to understand the main characteristics of humanism and to identify some of the foundations of Western culture.

The concepts prescribed by the program are not described using specific statements. It is by using all of the knowledge related to a social phenomenon that students develop their understanding of the following concepts: art, criticism, humanism, individual, freedom, philosophy, Reformation, Renaissance, responsibility and science.

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.


Student reinvests knowledge.

1 2
  1. Concept of human beings in society and their place in the universe today
    1. Indicates different concepts of human beings in society (e.g. environmentalism views human beings as one of many elements in the natural balance; liberalism views human beings as competing individuals guided by personal interests)
    1. Names scientific theories that may influence our concept of human beings and their place in the universe (e.g. theory of evolution, theory of relativity)
  1. New vision of humanity and contribution of humanist ideas to the development of Western culture
  • 2.1.   Location in space and time
    1. Locates on a map the major European states and cities of the Renaissance
    1. Locates on a map the territories where the various Protestant churches prevailed
    1. Locates on a time line the Renaissance and facts related to it
  • 2.2.   Impact of humanism
    1. Explains the concept of human beings in medieval Christian thought (e.g. God created human beings, God is the centre of the universe)
    1. Indicates sources of the changes in thinking and the arts in the 15th and16th centuries (e.g. texts and works from Antiquity)
    1. Names some of the great humanists of the Renaissance (e.g. Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci, Montaigne)
    1. Indicates elements of humanist thought about the world and the universe (e.g. reason, observation, experimentation)
    1. Indicates innovations that characterize Renaissance art (e.g. realism through use of perspective)
    1. Indicates subjects often depicted by Renaissance painters and sculptors (e.g. human beings, nature)
    1. Indicates elements that characterize Renaissance architecture (e.g. domes, triangular pediments, revival of architectural features from Antiquity)
    1. Indicates the impact of new scientific theories on certain fields in the Renaissance (e.g. in astronomy, the geocentric model was replaced by the heliocentric model; in medicine, dissections on cadavers made it possible to understand how the human body works)
    1. Explains the reaction of the Church to new astronomical theories (e.g. the reaction was generally negative since heliocentrism seemed to trivialize the place of human beings in the universe;  human beings were no longer the centre of divine creation)
    1. Indicates the impact of the printing press (e.g. decrease in the cost of books, spreading of knowledge and humanist ideas, publication of the Bible in many languages)
  • 2.3.   Reformation and Counter-Reformation
    1. Indicates factors that led individuals to challenge the authority of the Pope and the Catholic Church in the Renaissance (e.g. selling of indulgences, refusal of the Pope to annul the marriage of King Henry VIII of England)
    1. Names Protestant churches: Anglican, Calvinist, Lutheran
    1. Indicates actions taken by the Catholic Church to fight against the Reformation (e.g. refounding of the Inquisition, foundation of the Society of Jesus)
    1. Lists characteristics shared by different Protestant churches (e.g. repudiation of the pope’s authority, importance of individual interpretation of the gospel)
  1. Humanist values in Western society today
    1. Indicates elements of continuity between the Renaissance and present-day society with respect to humanist thought (e.g. society values scientific and critical thought; society places importance on individual and collective responsibility)
    1. Indicates some of the values of humanitarian organizations (e.g. Red Cross promotes tolerance; Doctors Without Borders, which promotes the right to humanitarian aid, provides urgent medical care to populations in need and to victims of war and natural disaster)
    1. States some of the principles of the Geneva Conventions (e.g. to protect civilian populations in armed conflicts; to outlaw military operations that do not distinguish between combatants and civilians and that cause serious lasting damage to the environment)

Haut de page