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New English classes create flexibility

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New English classes create flexibility

Photo via Public Domain Picture under Creative Common License.

Photo via Public Domain Picture under Creative Common License.

Photo via Public Domain Picture under Creative Common License.

Photo via Public Domain Picture under Creative Common License.

Anamarie Martinez and Rachel Stofanak

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The new senior-level semester English courses were designed to give students like junior Gianna Teter more of a voice when it comes to choosing their English classes.
Teter said she hopes to explore topics relevant to her life as a high school student in Literature of Self-Discovery, one of the new English courses, which she plans to take next year.
“I am excited. It sounds like an important thing to learn about,” Teter said.
This is the first time that rising seniors will be able to take two semester English courses of their choosing, rather than take a year-long English 12 course. The changes will not affect students who choose to take AP English Literature as their senior English class.
All other students, though, will pick one semester course out of three that are offered during the first semester, and then one semester course out of a second set of three offered during second semester.
For the fall semester, the choices are:
Shakespeare and Film: reading and analyzing textual and film versions of Shakespeare’s plays.
Philosophy and Humanities: exploring the unanswerable questions of life.
Common Themes in British and Sports Literature: comparing and analyzing the similarities of classic British literature and history to sports history.
For the spring semester, the choices will be:
Literature of Self-Discovery: exploring the purpose of life and allowing students to figure out who they are.

Science Fiction/Fantasy: analyzing popular novels that present dystopian societies and show connections to modern society.
Divergent Literature: exploring teenage troubles and societal issues.
Each course was designed to meet the state standard for an English class. They all include one research paper or project per course.
Each course focuses on a different type of literature, but all the courses combine classic and contemporary literature, as well as both fiction and nonfiction writings.
“I’m glad we’re focusing on more specific subjects instead of doing one big thing and throwing it all together,” Teter said.
Department chair Dr. Lisa Klein first presented the idea to administration eight to 10 years ago, and since then she said she has done extensive research on the topic.
While helping craft the plan, Klein found out about the curriculum designs of other schools in the area and conducted a survey of the student body to see interest levels in this new curriculum, she said.
The school board approved the new classes in January.
“Administration has been very supportive and encouraging for this program,” Klein said.
Klein has been working with senior English teachers Steve Sinning and Dr. Daniel Harrold to design the curriculum of each individual class, as well as preparing to teach the classes.
“Hopefully, by allowing students to choose two courses based on their interests, students’ buy-in will increase, which will lead to a more productive class for everyone,” Sinning said. “Sometimes when you don’t enjoy a specific type of genre, English class can become challenging. These selections will be more appealing to the student body.”
Harrold agrees that the change will be beneficial to students.
“Because the classes are one semester, students aren’t stuck with just one class or teacher all year,” Harrold said.
Despite the new courses, students who had planned to take AP English should still do so, Klein said.
“My recommendation is that students who have an A or a B in AP English 11 should take AP English 12,” she said.

About the Writers
Anamarie Martinez, News Editor

News Editor Anamarie Martinez is a senior and this is her third year on the Purbalite. She can be found binge-watching Netflix instead of doing her...

Rachel Stofanak, Features Editor

Rachel is a senior Features Editor for the Purbalite. She spends her summers living in the woods and going by the nickname Echo and her school years doing...

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New English classes create flexibility