Junior-Senior English Seminars create "a faster paced environment that feels more rigorous."
After much thought and discussion, seminar literature classes were added to the 2023-2024 school year curriculum. This new addition would be offered to juniors and seniors in place of English 3, English 4, and Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition. Designed to specialize in academic discourse, deep literary analysis, and writing, these courses mirror college English seminars and do prepare students to take the Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition exam if they choose to do so.
The English Department designed six semester-long seminar courses that each veered into different areas of content. All of which were made with the goal of stimulating student participation and discussion. As the end of the 2023 first semester nears, students are able to reflect on their experience with their selected seminar courses.
Junior Virginia Kimme-Hea, explains that the school did, in fact, accomplish interactive learning. As she puts it, "focusing on a specific topic for a semester" makes for "a faster paced [environment] that feels more rigorous." Directed attention in seminar courses can also attract people who are already engaged in the issue, leading to much more impassioned discussions.
Senior Maya Fuentes elaborates on that idea, explaining that they really enjoy the in-depth analysis of topics and being able to “really look at it.” Rarely do we get to focus our full attention on a particular area of study and spend months learning all that we can about it. We're able to evaluate beyond the scope and analyze every perspective.
After speaking with many junior and senior students, a large majority endorse the new system. Those proportions, however, looked much different toward the end of last year. Many upperclassmen wanted our last year(s) to follow previous curriculums and maintain the number of APs offered.
However, the execution of the seminars changed many opinions. There is a consistent overarching theme to each day's lessons. The teachers, very visibly, crafted cohesion by presenting unified questions and themes. This effort is shown in all six of the seminar classes.
Critical Exploration of Children’s Literature
“Ghosted”: A Social, Cultural, and Linguistic Phenomenon Across Time and Place
Soundtrack of our Lives: The Role of Music in Fiction
The Call to Adventure: The Hero’s Journey in Myth and Folklore
The Play within the Play: An Exploration of Metatheatre
Writing in the Margins: Rediscovering Queer Histories
Teachers, thank you for challenging us to analyze outside of our conventional viewpoints. We note the thought and consideration put into our bell-work and discussion-group questions and the novels we read. Additionally, thank you, administration, for prioritizing the expansion of our creativity.