English

The goal of the Academy English Department is to teach students to read compassionately, think exactingly, write clearly and gracefully, and act with the compassion, exactitude, clarity and grace they derive from their engagement with the English language and with literature. We believe that offering students a wide variety of curricular challenges with language and literature will increase their capacity for perception, feeling, reason, and tolerance; nourish their imaginations; and inspire their actions.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Four credits are required for graduation.
  2. Students should earn 2 credits in English in their junior and senior years.
  3. Every student must take one American Literature course.

Requirements and Electives by Grade Level

Grade 9
English 1AB – 2 Semesters
Grade 10
English 2AB – 2 Semesters
Grade 11 or 12

Required

One of the following American Literature Courses:

American Studies (2 Semesters)

American Voices
Jazz Age and the Lost Generation
Nature*
Survey: Dream and Disillusion
Writing the Self

Any of the above courses may also be taken as an additional elective once the American Literature requirement has been fulfilled. 

Electives

American Literature Honors
Animal Matters
Arts and Letters*
Bible as Literature*
Buddhist Philosophy and the Game of Go*
Creative Writing*
Creativity and Composition (1D)
Crime and Punishment
Fiction and Film
Ideas in Western Literature
Identity and Culture
Journalism
Lyric Essay
Magical Realism*
Science Fiction
Senior English Honors
Senior Independent Project
Shakespeare and Friends
Speech*
Voices of Hawai`i
Words R Us*
Write On!
Writing with Clarity and Grace
Young Adult Literature

Courses marked with an asterisk fulfill the Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Course Offerings

English 1

foundation [foun-dey-shuhn]

noun: an underlying basis or principle for something – New Oxford American Dictionary

This course provides students with a foundation for an English experience in the Academy and beyond. Students explore the guiding questions: Who am I? What do I convey about myself through my use of language? How can reading and writing help me understand myself and this world? Students practice and refine the essential skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking and developing a fundamental understanding of various literary genres: drama, poetry, short story, novel and essay.

Open to Grade 9. Year course. One credit. Satisfies English requirement for Grade 9.

English 2

This course focuses on the development of critical thinking skills applied to the study of literature. Students explore the interconnections between reading, writing, and thinking. One emphasis is on reading as writers: that is, students read with specific attention not only to the content (what the writer has said) but also to elements of craft (how the writer has managed to say it). A second emphasis is on writing as readers: students write about what they read and write in the genres they are studying. A third – and primary – emphasis is on learning to think: students are asked to monitor and reflect upon the decisions they make while they are reading, writing, and thinking, and to make a conscious effort to refine their critical thinking skills.

Open to Grade 10. Prerequisite: English 1. Year course. One credit. Satisfies English requirement for Grade 10. Satisfies Critical Thinking requirement.

American Literature – American Voices: Celebrating Culture through Literature

This is a one-semester elective course. It focuses on both traditional and emerging literary voices of minority/ethnic cultures in our country, including Chicano/Latino, Native American, African American, and Asian American writers. Students read poems, short stories, essays, and novels from these cultures; in addition, they write about the literature read and experiment with their own crafting as well.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

American Literature – The Jazz Age and the Lost Generation: 1920s America

The 1920s brings to mind a fascinating array of cultural associations: flappers, bootleggers and jazz, to name a few. It was the first decade in which American popular culture captured the attention of the world. And for better or for worse, many of the decade’s characterizing traits are still present in American politics and culture today. From a literary standpoint, the Roaring Twenties did not disappoint. This class looks at some of our nation’s most celebrated authors and their works. Students examine the cultural setting in which they wrote and the philosophical questions that gave our modern era the name “The Age of Anxiety.” What do these authors have to say about finding meaning in a world where the value of all traditional idols – God, man, reason, science, progress – is uncertain? How do they define our American identity, or answer the age-old question “What is the meaning of life?” Students analyze Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby along with several short stories by Hemingway, Faulkner, Wharton and Hughes, and poetry by Eliot, Cummings and Pound. Readings are accompanied by a study of jazz music, modern art and clips from 1920s films.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

American Literature – Nature

“I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Literature asks us to more carefully reflect on who we are and how we live. In this course students analyze a variety of texts that invite the contemplation of the questions and answers nature has provided for generations of American writers and artists. Beginning with the early Americans and considering the ways in which native cultures relate to the land in fundamentally different ways from Western cultures, then students move forward in the American tradition, analyzing various texts in order to consider the answers the natural world provides as well as the questions it elicits. Although the core of this course is rooted in a careful study of various American texts, students also reflect on contemporary environments, considering the connection to current environmental initiatives in Hawai‘i today and how these influence one’s own personal relationships with the land. In addition to traditional classroom experiences, students participate in a hands-on, experiential garden lab. In this lab, students develop more direct relationships with sustainability and evaluate how the choices made in everyday lives shape environmental impact. In the garden lab students learn by doing and reflect on the educational consequences of those experiences.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

American Literature – Survey: Dream and Disillusion

John Winthrop saw the New World as “the City upon the Hill,” Ralph Waldo Emerson called America “a poem for our eyes,” and Walt Whitman heard America “singing.” Other writers, however, have characterized that song as the Sirens’ song. Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn decides to “light out for the territory,” having seen the American civilization, its hypocrisy, immorality and racial and social divisiveness “up close and personal;” Nick Carroway, having witnessed the insubstantiality of what the American has become and the destruction it has wrought, can only nostalgically imagine the wonder of the Dutch sailors when they first saw this “fresh, green breast of the New World.” Langston Hughes asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” The course examines literature which looks both at the idealism of those who dreamed of the possibilities of America and the disillusionment of those who have had their dreams dashed by the realities of the American experience. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby serve as anchors for the course, which includes readings from across the American literary spectrum.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

American Literature – Writing the Self

The American Dream encompasses the idea that America allows everyone, no matter how they begin life, the opportunity to become what they dream about. For generations, authors have created these new selves in writing, defining their new identity through language. Autobiographical genres provide the unique opportunity for writers to create who they are through literature. By studying the various autobiographies, memoirs and narratives written by various Americans, students explore the opportunities the practice of self reflection allows. Additionally, students examine how writers of other genres borrow from autobiographical approaches in their own explorations. Students spend much of the semester writing their own autobiographies in various forms, borrowing inspiration from the authors studied.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

American Literature – American Studies (English (ID))

American Studies is an interdisciplinary course that analyzes selected aspects of American culture from varied perspectives (historical, poetic, and artistic). Students learn to think carefully and deeply about historical events and about literary and other texts. They are asked to examine their own assumptions as well as the assumptions of writers, historians, essayists and observers. They learn to question, to generate theories, to select valid evidence to test theories, and to question again. They learn to listen thoughtfully and to participate reflectively.

Students are expected to read extensively and thoughtfully both for class discussion and during unscheduled time. Since writing is an excellent process for developing critical thinking skills, essays and writings of various kinds, including short pieces of historical research, are expected at least once a week. Standards of clarity, evidence, craftsmanship and logic are expected.

Although lectures and textbooks provide a historical “context,” the course is not designed to lead to the College Board Achievement test or the AP Exam in history. Taking such tests would not be precluded, but would require independent study on the part of the student. Instead of emphasizing chronology, the course focuses thoughtfully on selected aspects of American culture and history.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisites: English 2 and a Social Studies Gateway course. Year course. Two credits. Satisfies English and Social Studies graduation requirements.

Animal Matters

The French philosopher Montaigne observed, “We think we are playing with the cat, but how do we know the cat isn’t playing with us?” Throughout this class, students should expect their assumptions about animals and one’s relationships with them to be turned on their heads. Throughout the semester, students interrogate the evolving relationship between human and non-human animals through a diverse collection of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, philosophy, film and social science research. These diverse readings help better understand one’s own personal, cultural and ethical relationships with animals. Some essential questions at the heart of this course include: What is an animal? Do animals matter? Do animals have rights? Do animals oblige us? How does language mediate one’s attitudes towards animals?

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Arts & Letters (English (ID))

This course assumes that every human being is creative and that development of imagination is good for the soul. As students walk through the doors of the Arts and Letters classroom, they become poets, writers and artists. Meeting with both an English teacher and an Art teacher, students study art as viewers and creators, with an emphasis on how art springs from experience and how experience is altered by art. The art section of the course focuses on a variety of media including artists’ books and printmaking. Professional artists and writers provide examples for inspiration and analysis. Students examine art in local museums and galleries and seek to understand the function of art and literature in the school community.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisites: English 2. Semester course. One credit (one-half English, one-half Art). Satisfies English and Visual and Performing Arts graduation requirements and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement or general elective credit. Lab fee.

The Bible as Literature

While The Bible is an essential religious text, it also serves as an undeniable touch-stone of Western philosophy and culture. Artists, politicians, athletes, film makers, writers, and historical figures have referred to The Bible in much of their work, and opinions on topics ranging from Mideast policy to The War on Terrorism to popular movies are all informed by an understanding of this book. Students in this course examine The Bible as a work of literature. They consider such questions as “How does the way we read The Bible affect what we understand?” “What is the difference between understanding and belief?” and “Why do the characters in this book act as they do, and what can we learn by studying them?” To demonstrate how they understand what they are reading, students write in a variety of genres including poetry, narrative, and formal and informal essays.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Buddhist Philosophy and the Game of Go

Patience, humility, resilience, tenacity, awareness, focus: these are the defining characteristics that mark successful Go players and Buddhists. Developed in China somewhere around 4,000 years ago, Go is arguably the most fascinating and strategically sophisticated game ever created. The rules of Go are very simple, and players can learn the basics in a matter of minutes. However, to play well requires a lifetime of devotion and patience. There are strong parallels between Buddhist philosophical concepts and successful Go strategies. Even though the two developed independently from each other, the overlap and insight provided by coupling the two are quite extraordinary. The game provides a valuable physical metaphor for understanding Buddhist philosophy in action; similarly, applying The Four Pillars of Buddhist philosophy (Impermanence, Nothingness, Interconnectedness and Non-attachment) leads to improvement as a player as well as a comprehensive outlook on ethical decision-making and self-reflection. This course is also part of an iPad pilot program, involving the use of interactive electronic textbooks and apps designed to enhance student understanding of these two fascinating topics.
Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Creative Writing

Creative writers use language as a medium of exploration, as a way of coming to understand what kind of world this is and how people have chosen to live in it. This course explores the way writers create lives and the ways in which readers’ lives are enhanced by writing. Teachers and students in this course assume that every human being has the potential to be creative in some way and explore ways in which we can develop this creative spirit to become better writers, better readers, better thinkers, and better members of communities. Literature in this course serves as a model for excellent writing.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Creativity and Composition (English (ID))

Creativity is not something that some people are born with and others are born without. All humans have the capacity for creativity, and this course teaches and cultivates imagination and the ability to apply creativity to artistic work. The course is interdisciplinary, focusing on music and creative writing. Guided by artists and teaching professionals in each field, students in Creativity and Composition discover tools for composing songs, poems, stories, essays and other artistic products. By reading critical and creative work, by experimenting with language and music, and by working on interdisciplinary projects designed by teachers, students not only improve their language and music skills, but they also develop tools for applying creativity to many different aspects of their lives.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One credit (one-half English, one-half Music). Satisfies English and Visual and Performing Arts graduation requirements.

Crime and Punishment

This class examines the nature and limits of punishment – in America and the world – by focusing on these essential questions: What is punishment? What is the relationship between punishment and justice? What are the appropriate limits of punishment? What is the place of forgiveness, reconciliation, mercy when responding to a crime? What can we learn about politics, law and culture in the United States from an examination of our practices of punishment? How do our responses to punishment differ from punishment practices in other countries?

Texts include a variety of genres: from short stories and novels to dramas, essays and judicial opinions.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Fiction and Film

This course explores the art of telling stories in two media: the printed word and the moving image. Students are challenged to think both analytically and creatively. Starting with the aspects of story that are common to both literature and film, the course continues by examining the art and craft unique to each medium.

Students are expected to work on their careful, close-reading skills, their group work and discussion skills, their analytical writing skills, and their literary and visual storytelling skills. Students are responsible for 1) generating questions to guide their exploration and efforts, 2) choosing the best ways to demonstrate their learning, and 3) presenting their work to a range of audiences and critics. Starting with smaller assignments, the course pushes students to build a portfolio of their Best Works. Texts include a novel, a screenplay, a handful of short stories and about 10 feature length films.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Ideas in Western Literature

Perhaps this course should be re-titled Questions in Western Literature, or possibly even Uncertainty 101. What’s real and what’s not? Are we free? What determines our actions – nature or nurture? In today’s morally relativistic world, how do we know what's right? And where does our thinking even come from? These are a few of the questions that arise from engagement with an eclectic selection of texts spanning nearly 3,000 years of Western literature. These seminal works, each of which explores in some way the relationship between knowledge and action, include The Book of Job, Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, Kafka’s Three Parables, Sartre’s No Exit, Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Philosophical inquiry becomes both subject matter and process in this course, as students are encouraged not only to reflect (through discussion and a series of focused writing assignments and critical thinking exercises) on the authors’ ideas, but, as well, to explore their own questions with clarity, depth, breadth and self-awareness. The hope is to create a classroom atmosphere in which students can acknowledge that they won’t always figure out the answers, but can be surprised and enhanced by the exploration itself.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Identity and Culture

What makes a person an individual? Our driver’s licenses tell us that our identities are defined by our hair color, eye color, weight, address, and identification numbers; but we all know that we each are so much more. In what ways are our personalities defined by cultural factors? In Identity and Culture students seek to answer at least three broad questions: What is identity? How is identity influenced by culture? What does literature have to tell us about these issues? Students study ways in which human beings have grouped, stereotyped and categorized each other, and we consider how communities affect individuals, how individuals influence communities. Literature from a variety of contemporary writers provides fuel for explorations, and students are expected to explore their own identities and cultures in their conversations, fictions, and analytical work.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Journalism

The shifting media landscape poses unprecedented challenges for producers and consumers of news information. This intense, real-time class requires students to think and write like journalists, and to submit their work for publication in the Academy newspaper, Ka Punahou. Developing media literacy skills and the ability to write concisely and with clarity creates the platform for an ideal English class in which students write for a real purpose and audience while collaborating with a team of other students and being coached by a teacher. Students who take journalism write extensively in all newspaper formats, including objective news writing, opinion pieces, reviews and interviews. To supplement and inform the work on writing, students read extensively from daily newspapers, essay collections and magazines, and hear from a number of guest speakers. Students get significant training in peer editing and work collaboratively to improve and strengthen their writing.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Junior English Honors

Junior English Honors is an accelerated and intellectually demanding course designed to serve those students who have demonstrated a high degree of interest, skill and intrinsic motivation in reading, discussing and writing about literature. Students read challenging literary texts and engage in intensive analytical discussions in class. Students who take this course are expected to be meticulous and thorough in the preparation of reading and writing assignments. Junior English Honors puts particular emphasis on analytical writing and on developing a deeper understanding of how meaning is achieved through the elements of style: syntax, narrative technique and figurative language. Enrollment in this course will be done carefully in consultation with English Department faculty and deans.

Open to Grade 11. Prerequisite: English 2. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

The Lyric Essay

Imagine if you could fashion a piece of writing the way a great designer fashions a piece of clothing; imagine if you could create writing that fit you well, made sense to others and aspired to originality and artfulness. Imagine if you could play a piece of writing the way a great athlete plays a sport or how a great musician plays an instrument; imagine if you could create writing that reflected understanding of the rules while also reflecting an original style, an ability to improvise.

In this class students look at the lyric essay as an art form that aims to match what you say with how you say it. Students look at form and content and how they work together. It’s tempting to say that the lyric essay is an essay that is not afraid to break rules, but it’s probably more accurate to say that the lyric essay is written by people who want to figure out exactly how to say something worth saying.

While “lyric essay” is a relatively new term, examples of the form have been around a long time. Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount” in the New Testament is a lyric essay of sorts. Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching could be read as a lyric essay, as could Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Virginia Woolf, David Foster Wallace, John McPhee, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Barry Lopez, James Baldwin, Italo Calvino, David Shields, John D’agata, Jenny Boully, Maggie Nelson, Annie Dillard, Joy Harjo, Lewis Thomas, David Quammon, Gore Vidal, William F. Buckley, Pauline Kael, Erma Bombeck, Amiri Baraka, Lester Bangs, Edward Abbey, Chuck Klosterman, Hunter S. Thompson, Nora Ephron, Angela Davis and Garrett Hongo might be included on our reading list. In this class students do what lyric essayists do: put imaginations on the page.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Magical Realism

Magical realism is an aesthetic style or genre of fiction in which magical elements appear as natural, everyday events. In these novels and short stories, magic is commonplace, while what one might call “realistic” events may appear to be strange or incomprehensible. Ghosts, whirlwind ascensions, psychic abilities, men turning into fish and children born with pigs’ tails are presented in a straightforward style that asks the reader to accept them as natural and unremarkable things.

Magical Realism in literature is a global phenomenon. It thrived in places where western and non-western cultures and belief systems coexisted as a result of long periods of social contact. For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, Native American and African systems of thought closely cohabited for centuries with the European cultures of Spain, France and England. A new kind of blended perception of reality was born; one that mixed bits of this and bits of that to make a new recipe for what could be called “reality.”

Students study literature from across the globe, written by a very diverse group of people who nonetheless shared a common need to find a new way to tell the truth through magic, mystery and by way of constantly broadening assumptions about what is possible. Anyone interested in reading and writing about the more “fantastic” or “magical” aspects of human thought and experience will enjoy the work of this course.
The focus for reading is on the short story and novel forms. Students read, among others, the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Jorge Luis Borges, Clarice Lispector and Salman Rushdie.

In writing, students explore the nature and limits of reality, using both expository and creative styles of writing. Students learn about multi-cultural, post-colonial and post-slavery communities and how they attempted to express the reality of their experiences through literature.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Science Fiction

Science fiction is the literature of the sublime “what if.” What if we could travel through time? What if we could surgically increase our IQs? What if the Martians attack? In this course, through novels, short stories and films, students indulge their sense of wonder by probing four of science fiction’s classic subject areas: outer space, time travel, dystopia and artificial intelligence. Students write analytically, with an eye to increasing their knowledge of – and maneuverability within – science fiction and literature generally; and they also write creatively, giving form to their own unique thought experiments.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Senior English Honors (English (H))

Senior English Honors is designed for students who have demonstrated a high degree of interest, skill and motivation in reading, discussing, and writing about literature. As an honors course, it appeals primarily to students who enjoy the process of interpreting and discussing challenging texts. It puts particular emphasis on analytical writing and on developing a deeper under- standing of how meaning is achieved through the elements of style: syntax, narrative technique and figurative language. Students are asked to develop their own interpretations of works selected from the British and American literary canons, and should be prepared to work both independently and in close consultation with the teacher in developing their writing skills. This course is recommended for students who seek the kind of intellectual challenge appropriate to an honors curriculum; it should be chosen carefully in consultation with English Department faculty and deans.

Open to Grade 12. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Senior Independent Project

The English Department offers this option to second-semester seniors who have demonstrated a high level of intrinsic motivation in the study of English Literature. This course is open to those students who have demonstrated the academic maturity and intellectual readiness required to develop and effectively pursue their own courses of study. To participate in the program, students must submit a detailed and specific proposal defining their goals, intended timeline, activities and overall purpose. These proposals are submitted in mid-October of the senior year. If the proposal is approved, students work independently with a member of the Academy English faculty during the second semester to complete their projects. Students completing Senior Independent Projects are not required to remain enrolled in the second-semester English course.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisites: Three and one-half credits in English, approval of proposal by Academy English Department. Semester course (spring semester only). One-half credit. Credit/No Credit unless the university the student will attend requires a grade. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Shakespeare and Friends: The Elizabethan Age
Centering on the works of William Shakespeare, this course explores the “Golden Age” of English letters. Works are set in their historical, cultural, social and political contexts.

Students confront the text as script, blocking and performing scenes, memorizing and acting out monologues, designing sets in miniature, role playing, and examining different video renditions of the same play, focusing on the choices made by directors, actors, and producers. Students also read selections from various Renaissance political and social theorists, as well as draw from their knowledge of the plays taught in English 1 and English 2.

Students write at least three formal papers a quarter. While primarily analytical, these papers also ask students to interpret the text for performance, and some ask students to read and evaluate criticism of Shakespeare’s plays as well as video and film interpretations.

Open to Grade 12. Prerequisites: Three and one-half credits in English, approval of proposal by Academy English Department. Semester course (spring semester only). One-half credit. Credit/No Credit unless the university the student will attend requires a grade. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Shakespeare and Friends: The Elizabethan Age

Centering on the works of William Shakespeare, this course explores the “Golden Age” of English letters. Works are set in their historical, cultural, social and political contexts.

Students confront the text as script, blocking and performing scenes, memorizing and acting out monologues, designing sets in miniature, role playing, and examining different video renditions of the same play, focusing on the choices made by directors, actors, and producers. Students also read selections from various Renaissance political and social theorists, as well as draw from their knowledge of the plays taught in English 1 and English 2.

Students write at least three formal papers a quarter. While primarily analytical, these papers also ask students to interpret the text for performance, and some ask students to read and evaluate criticism of Shakespeare’s plays as well as video and film interpretations.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Speech: Art of the Spoken Word

This course enables students to speak more powerfully, confidently, and convincingly in a variety of contexts, both planned and extemporaneous. In order to foster delight in the spoken word, the course aims to inspire aesthetic appreciation of the musical, poetic, and sensory qualities of language. Students analyze a variety of speeches and gain experience in impromptu speaking and debate. They also compose and perform their own creative oral works, such as formal speeches, poems, stories, chants, prayers, and dramatic scripts. By taking this course, students discover the diverse ways that people express ideas with power and grace by uniting sound and sense, rhetorical structure, literary devices, and precise, vivid diction.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Voices of Hawai`i

Voices of Hawai‘i is a general elective course with a focus on the works of writers who share their perspectives of what it means to be part of Hawai‘i’s culture through their essays, poems, short stories, novels and plays. The coursework focuses on two essential questions: “What is the world of a diverse island people like?” and “How should we choose to live in it?” To search for answers to these questions, this course provides selected readings by island-centered writers, and invites students to explore the oral histories of their own families and cultures in order to understand the part that sharing stories plays in shaping the histories of individuals and communities. At the same time, students are provided with a variety of structures to help them grow as readers, writers and thinkers in their engagement with literature, both personal and public.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Words R Us

How and when did humans develop language? How do we know that Stone Age people said “ack” to describe “sharp,” and what does that have to do with “acne” on your face? What causes languages to change? Who decides the rules of spelling and grammar? Is body language a real language? Can you detect liars via their speech patterns? What does a poem in sign language look like? What can you learn about yourself from the words you choose? Why are 3-year-olds the world’s strictest grammarians? Do men and women use language differently? Is dyslexia in Chinese the same as in English? Why is a spoken language dying out in the world every two weeks? Do animals have language? Does the language we speak affect how we think? How do advertisers and politicians persuade us with their words? How do texting and social media impact your brain, communication and the English language? How can we alter our words to lessen misunderstanding and conflict? Why are metaphors so much more than figures of speech? Why is it, like, so hard to stop saying “like?”

In this introduction to applied linguistics, students explore diverse questions like these. Examining the evolution and use of human language – particularly the English language – students look at examples from literature, politics, history, advertising, neuroscience, media, technology, child development, psychology and anthropology to better understand use of language. By the end of the course, students will have a much greater appreciation for how languages work, and especially how to understand and possibly improve one’s self by the way they use and respond to language. This is a question-driven, project-based, research-oriented, quality-not-quantity, takes-two-to-tango type of class. Enroll with care.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement and Spiritual, Ethical, Community Responsibility graduation requirement.

Write On!

This course is available to motivated and capable English students who are passionate about writing–those who eat, breathe and sleep writing. By the end of the semester, each student creates a substantial portfolio of work that represents his/her growth and development as a writer. Students learn to read as writers and draw on literary influences as they develop their own work. Students explore different genres and ask essential questions about writing in general and their own writing in particular. Since writing is a process, much of the course is devoted to peer feedback, thinking metacognitively, and revision.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: Previous writing course (Arts and Letters, Composition, Creative Writing, Journalism) and departmental approval. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Writing with Clarity and Grace

Writing with Clarity and Grace offers students opportunities to write authentic creative nonfiction pieces, including college essays, personal narratives and arguments, with a strong focus on purpose, audience and tone. Designed for writers of all levels who wish to express themselves more effectively, this course asks the question, “What’s the difference between writing and being a writer?” and encourages students to evolve as writers by giving and receiving feedback with peers in class and in the Writing Center. Ultimately, students gain greater confidence as writers, new ways to approach essays, and a better understanding of how to write with power and style.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.

Young Adult Literature

This course explores the young adult world through the study of literary and young adult (“YA”) fiction. The fundamental questions of the course are the questions that people face as they “come of age.” How do you navigate the transition from childhood to adulthood? What role does romantic love play in your life? What is the nature of true friendship? How do you maintain a connection to your family while defining your own identity? Students explore essential questions like these as they gain a deeper understanding of the characters, themselves and the world.

Students read core novels in common but also have the opportunity to choose novels that interest them for more independent study. The class functions as a reading and writing community for the students, who engage in thoughtful dialogue and workshop their writing with their peers in class and online. This community extends beyond the traditional classroom structure through forum discussions, giving and receiving feedback through Google Docs, and other online activities.

Open to Grades 11, 12. Prerequisite: English 2. Semester course. One-half credit. Satisfies English graduation requirement.