English department adapts to individual novels approach

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By: Vannie Yu <vyu@hilite.org>

The English department’s textbook adoption year comes to a close on April 15 when the committee meets to make final recommendations of curriculum and materials for next year. Although textbooks and literature are all in draft currently, the shift in focus to individual books is clear.

According to English department chairperson Jason Gallman, new curriculum centers on preparing students’ critical reading and thinking skills. Students are not the only people who will benefit. He said that through focusing on an individual novels approach, teachers can better “differentiate” students’ reading abilities by matching up what levels they are on.

Gallman said that the department would like to give students the opportunity to buy their own novels to write in. “Most research talks about the benefits of letting kids choose what they want to read,” he said.

Junior Navya Kumar, who currently takes AP English literature/composition and plans to enroll in IU advanced composition next year, said that she prefers the individual novels approach. “I like (the new approach) better since I don’t have to carry a big textbook home when we only get 20 pages of it assigned.”

Gallman added that there are requirement changes in English. “Basically, teachers choose from a list of possibilities to instruct from,” he said. Certain courses such as Speech 1 will still utilize traditional textbooks. However, the curriculum for English 9 and English 10 will especially move toward novels instead of extensive anthology works.

For students like Kumar, the benefits of an individual novels approach lend more interest to the classroom. “You get the encompassing concept from a novel,” she said. “You feel like you have a better touch with what the novel is about instead of the last few pages.”

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