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BS Core English Syllabi

ameridadameridad 11 replies2 threads New Member
Hello. First time poster. My DS (assuming that means "Dear Son") is a rising eighth grader considering various boarding schools for high school. Which, if any, of the NE boarding schools continue to stress in their core English classes the Western Canon as it might have been known in decades past, and which have moved almost totally to different types of literature? Much appreciation for any opinions and insight.
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Replies to: BS Core English Syllabi

  • vwlizardvwlizard 381 replies36 threads Member
    If you go on the websites, you can look at the course catalogs. Most often, they list what books and other resources they will be studying in the class descriptions.
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  • ameridadameridad 11 replies2 threads New Member
    Appreciate the reply, vw. For the most part, however, I haven't found that the catalogs include those kinds of specifics.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2235 replies18 threads Senior Member
    You can ask the English department chair. It varies quite a bit by school.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6711 replies10 threads Senior Member
    It's not clear if you simply want to see good representation of the "traditional western canon" in the program or if you do not want to see things that are outside it in the program. There is definitely a difference!

    My child went to BS in PA (so not the schools you are considering) and studied many of the traditional works. But he also read a fair bit outside of that. His school was quite intentional about adding the voices outside the "tradition" to the study of literature and thought.

    It is not always easy to get syllabi for schools you are considering although you may be able to "backdoor" it by searching on the website for books to buy. (Some schools make it easier to use outside services than others.) As you tour, even virtually, you can ask your guides what they've been doing in English class, what they've enjoyed, etc.

    I can honestly say that my son's bookshelf post BS yielded some great new finds for me between the Shakespeare and Chaucer. I just had to deal with his margin notes!
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  • Ravenclaw3Ravenclaw3 119 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I go to one of the larger NE boarding schools, and I find that what sorts of books one reads in English class varies a great deal by the teacher; every grade reads at least one Shakespeare play per year, and there are some books that tend to be widely taught in certain class levels (ex. Gatsby in the fall of 11th grade), but even within the school, there can be enormous differences simply based on which sections one happens to land in.
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  • ameridadameridad 11 replies2 threads New Member
    Hello, Gardenstategal. Thanks for replying. I'd definitely like a combination, or a good balance between the two. I know that the vast majority of NE boarding schools include the study of contemporary works, but I'd like my DS also to study some of the "classics" with smart teachers and classmates, not just on his own.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6711 replies10 threads Senior Member
    @ameridad, I think most schools-- even the ones like ours that had decidedly global and inclusive list -- include a lot of the "classics", so I would be pretty shocked if a kid didn't get a chance to really dig into those in class. It's just that they may now also get to read something by Toni Morrison or Bao Ninh as well. But nobody is expecting high school kids to tackle "the canon" on their own.

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