Student discusses how new English courses help diversify curriculum

Archit Kalra

As the fast-approaching 2021-2022 school year brings with it six new English courses for rising juniors and seniors to try, students are discussing some of the ways in which the classes diversify an English curriculum whose canon has often been limited to classic literature and popular nonfiction. From sophomore Jordan Seigel’s perspective, the classes serve as a way for students to explore newer options and goals.

“I think that the new English classes are a good addition to the current curriculum. These classes sound interesting and would probably be pretty fun. They help to diversify the English department by going beyond standard literature and into other topics such as linguistics and more specific areas of interest,” Seigel said via email.

The new courses are Ethnic Literature, Linguistics, Genres of Literature: Psychological Thriller, Genres of Literature: Short Stories, Themes in Literature: Heroes & Villains and Themes in Literature: Humor.

The purpose of the new courses is partially to reflect students’ interests, as per English department chairperson Kim Walker. After polling large numbers of students and teachers regarding what they would like to learn in their English classes over the next few years, Walker said she worked with the school administration to develop the new options.

“We didn’t want this decision to be made by me and me alone, or even just by teachers; we actually started by creating a list first, looking at other high schools and their programs of studies, looking at universities and the course offerings that they have, and we put it out to students; we asked them to list their (top three) choices,” she said. “We looked at both what the students were saying and what they wanted to be added, and what the teachers did, and that’s how we came to the conclusion that we were going to add Psych(ological) Thriller, Heroes and Villains, and the Short Stories courses.”