English department to offer choices for AP

Benjamin Most

The English department will replace AP Literature and AP Language with six English electives for seniors next year.
“Students still will choose first between AP Lit and AP Lang—distinct studies, the former focusing more on the language of character and experience and the latter more on the language of argument and persuasion,” Upper School English Department Laurence Weber said.
Nine English teachers, all of whom teach seniors, decided on the six new electives after a two-year internal review undergone by each academic department. They changed the senior English system after hearing from a committee of visiting teachers that older students seemed less enthusiastic in English classes.
“It was a true collaborative effort riffing off of a similar model that emphasizes depth of reading, a thematic organization of texts focusing on relevant questions and the idea that the two courses of study are equal in rigor but different in kind, one not lesser than the other,” Weber said.
The department tried to create courses that would retain coherence between senior English classes while still offering variety.
AP Literature students can choose between Same House, Different Worlds, which explores relationships between adults and children; Outsiders and Aliens, a course focusing on communities and people who do not fit into them; and Good Grief, which will cover hardship and suffering and the meaning behind them.
The AP Language choices are The Language of Protest, a course on how individuals can use language to fight injustice; Writing a Life, in which students will read works of literature describing a person’s life; and Imagined Societies: Utopias and Dystopias, which will explore texts describing perfect societies and imperfect societies with troubles that can be related to the world.
Two semesters in a class on Shakespeare will also fulfill senior English requirements.
Students who take an AP course will continue to take the appropriate AP examination at the end of their senior year.
“The department considered how we could retain our particular strengths and the coherence and refinement that close professional collaboration enables while pushing out into several offerings,” Weber said.