English Department to modify curriculum due to new situations posed by virtual, hybrid learning environments

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The English Department will make changes to the curriculum to better address the issues virtual learning poses, such as limited contact with teachers, according to English teacher Christine Ellis. Ellis said she will work with other teachers in the department to include portions of the curriculum that they feel will best prepare students for future classes.

Archit Kalra

English teachers will collaborate to modify the curriculum covered in each class this year, as per English teacher Christine Ellis.

“The new school policies have made it more difficult to form relationships with my students since I see them about once a week. This is what I love about my job, so it is difficult not having as close relationships with my students that I have had in the past,” she said via email. “I think it is difficult to teach everything that I want to teach my students, so this year has challenged my colleagues and I to evaluate the curriculum to decide what’s important to assess my students on and what skills they need next year in order to be successful in whatever English course they decide to pursue.”

Sophomore Jordan Seigel, who is taking AP Seminar this year, said via email he agreed there were some unique challenges this year for both students and teachers in terms of handling the curriculum.

“There’s a lot more virtual stuff now so it’s harder to ask my Seminar teacher questions, and there’s less group work than there would usually be,” he said. “Obviously they have had to make changes from last year since they have half the time in person. Seminar is supposed to be a largely collaborative class, but it has become more individualized due to the new scheduling.”

Ellis said the most significant obstacles that warranted the decision to change the curriculum arose in the “virtualization” of much of this year’s work.

“I teach both virtually and in-person, and I think it is most difficult to meet all of my students’ needs online,” she said. “I cannot gauge their misunderstandings as well as I could in the classroom, so it makes it more difficult to tailor my lessons to their needs.”

“I do think that (the change in curriculum) is a positive change that the pandemic has caused, and I hope that the conversation of curriculum changes continues into the following year,” Ellis said.

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