New EHS humanities courses

The 2017-18 school year will include some innovative new course offerings in English and Social Studies for students in grades 10, 11, and 12. These efforts reflect Edgemont's desire to create an engaging and relevant curriculum that meets the evolving needs of our students. Two separate but related projects will expand the range of literature to which students are exposed, offer them "choice and voice" in learning about different literary genres and time periods, and help them to see connections between literature, culture, and history.

Grade 10 "Global Perspectives" course

Global Perspectives is a new tenth grade class that utilizes a flexible unit of time (two adjacent periods with a shared cohort of students) and allows for a more cohesive presentation of the Global Studies and English 10 curricula. The two previously separate subjects, which require an ability to read closely, research judiciously, and articulate and defend positions with clarity and specificity, are a natural pair. By studying the history and geopolitical situations of the world in conjunction with the deep exploration of related texts, students in this team-taught, interdisciplinary class have a rich opportunity to cultivate a well-informed, authentic world-view that is vital both academically and personally.

Grades 11-12 English "Selectives"

Next year the English department will be offering a selection of semester-long courses, instead of offering "regular-level" English courses in grades 11 and 12. (Modified and honors-level courses will still be offered as needed.) In all courses, in addition to exploring thought-provoking texts, students will write about and research a variety of topics and develop presentation skills through rich discussion and public speaking opportunities.

DRAMATIC LITERATURE: Theater is one of the oldest performing arts, with a rich history of styles; it is also a highly collaborative art, in which the playwright generates text that a variety of other artists interpret. This class will explore the literature of the theater by studying the texts of great plays, from the ancient Greeks to contemporary times. Students will study not only the themes and artistry of these texts, but also the technical aspects of playwriting -- structure, dialogue, characterization. Students will perform scenes from existing plays and write scenes of their own, as well as research and write formal essays on plays, playwrights, and theater history. Students will also see at least one professional production each semester.

IMMIGRATION, IDENTITY, and "OTHERNESS": America has long been called a “melting pot” of identities, a place for people from all over the world to seek the elusive “American Dream.” This course will explore literature which focuses on fictional and nonfictional depictions of those who come to this country as outsiders and fight against obstacles to find their way inside America’s culture and societies. Students will define and explore their own cultural identities in relation to those of the characters in the readings. The course will focus on the role that identity plays in decision-making, parent-child relationships, interactions with others, and the characters’ abilities (or inabilities) to achieve the American Dream.

SATIRE and RHETORIC: What is parody? What is satire? Why does there seem to have been an explosion of media that uses these forms of humor? Who “invented” satire and how has it changed? Students will explore readings and film covering centuries of this often entertaining, yet biting, form of humor.

WAR and CONFLICT: Why have people and nations in every time period felt the need to go to war? What things, physical and emotional, do people carry to and from war? Does war ennoble or humiliate us? What are the consequences of war/conflict, and are the costs worth the fight? Are there viable alternatives to war? Such questions will frame the discussion as we explore people’s experiences of war in novels, stories, essays, poems and first-hand accounts.