New English Curriculum 2020-2021

New English Curriculum 2020-2021

Jenna Samiz, Staff Writer

The 2020-2021 school year is bringing about many changes for the students of HHS with online/hybrid learning, restricted extracurriculars, and new staff members. Along with these changes is the newly amended English curriculum. In previous years, English courses predominantly taught classic literature written by white men. Now, courses will offer more contemporary reads for students, as well as be more inclusive to authors of different races, like Hispanic, Black, and Asian. Additionally, there will also be new/more LGBTQ+ and women writers. 

With the incorporation of more diverse works being taught, students will hopefully become more exposed to different cultures and perspectives. “We feel as though the literature that we read should be more reflective of the country, state, and town in which we live. Students should also have the opportunity to see themselves in literature while also learning about people who are not like themselves,” explained Ms Clifford regarding the reasoning behind the curriculum modifications. Here Ms Clifford describes the “mirror and window” theory, in which a piece of literature is either meant to reflect yourself like how one looks into a mirror, or portray the life of someone else as if you were watching through a window. When students read about the lives and stories of people they don’t reflect, it allows them to broaden their viewpoints on those people and possibly generate more empathy within themselves. This empathy can be transferred into everyday life and create more tolerance among students for one another. 

Literature hasn’t been the only aspect that’s been updated; new college preparation lessons have also been added into the curriculum. Junior year now contains lessons on how to write college essays in the 2nd semester of the year. The essays will even be written during class and periodically reviewed every selected interval of time to make any new improvements and edits with a clearer mind. This will be very helpful to students who may have difficulty in constructing their essays and need assistance. It can also lessen the stress of having to write them in your own free time. 

Only time can tell how and by what severity the new curriculum will affect HHS students. Perhaps if it shows significant benefits it will inspire other departments to do the same. Perhaps it will be a total failure and needs to be re-updated. Teachers, however, seem to be hopeful about it and even if there’s room for refinement it’s still, according to Ms Clifford, “a great start.”