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New English electives being offered next fall

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By Ethan Walshe
Managing Editor

The 2012-2013 school year will see new electives in the English department. Two new classes, Contemporary Literature and Film and Literature will be offered to juniors and seniors and will be taught by English teachers Emily Coates and Brian Mahoney respectively.

Both of these classes received strong interest following a survey conducted on sophomores and juniors earlier this year. They were the two most voted for classes and thus the decision to run these classes next year was made.

The contemporary literature class will focus on three novels, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. According to Coates, a large aspect to the class will be finding the literary merit to contemporary novels.

“We’ll be looking at whether Harry Potter is really a hero’s journey…whether The Hunger Games is a book that qualifies as a piece of dystopian literature and then lastly we are going to look at the detective genre and whether Nineteen Minutes is a real detective whodunit murder mystery,” said Coates.

The film and literature class will also focus on yet to be decided contemporary novels, but will also feature analysis of accompanying films and seeing how the novels translate into film and if that adds to or takes away from things like theme or morals in the novels.

“In my mind right now it’s two novels and two films based on those novels and the idea is to look at a story that was told through two different mediums…and to see what was lost and what was gained through the process of those two different mediums,” said Mahoney.

Both classes will be different from standard English classes in a number of ways, but will also have similarities. Both classes will be based on discussion and feature a bit more independent work than a normal English class usually does. For example, in the contemporary literature class a book may be assigned and rather than having a set number of chapters due on this day, the entire book would need to be read by a certain date. Both classes will also feature essays based on the books or films at hand.

Coates would recommend the contemporary literature course for any student who is looking for a chance to talk about books they are interested in from a more literary standpoint.

“You might be interested in Harry Potter or Hunger Games or a Jodie Picoult book outside of school, this hopefully is going to be a chance for them to talk about a pop culture book, a book they might read for fun in an academic setting,” said Coates.

Mahoney would recommend his film and literature class to a student who is the type of person who finds himself going to a movie with his friends and afterwards really feeling the need to talk about it or wanting to see the same movie multiple times.

“if you’re looking to be engaged everyday, to come in… and feel like you’re taking an elevated class… to make them feel like ‘wow this feels like I’m doing something that a college student is doing’… if you’re looking for that, this is the class for you,” said Mahoney.

These new courses will be available to juniors and seniors next fall.

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The student news site of Westford Academy
New English electives being offered next fall