English Department

English 4: Multi-Ethnic Literature- Exploring Global Themes through Diverse Narratives

In this course, we will explore a multitude of writers from distinct nations, ethnicities, and communities. The course will allow students to be first, steeped in the history of that specific community or nation, then explore the written work within the context of that needed history. Students will then be able to forge thematic connections across each writer and each represented voice. This will provide us the space to develop stronger global perspectives and forge a more nuanced understanding of our own worldview in conversation with other writers, artists, and peers.

English 4: Love Wins- Literature of Belonging, Community, and the Counter-Narrative

In this course, we will examine personal narratives and non-fiction essays that center love as a radical force for social change. Students will become familiar with the framework of counter-narratives and the importance of the personal story to counter and dispel stereotypes. The class will utilize bell hooks and James Baldwin as the primary scholarly guides to then explore short stories, op-eds, documentaries, and multimedia projects from writers, poets, and activists.

English 4: Contemporary Fiction and the Craft of Writing

We will read novels and short stories that challenge conventional narrative forms. Through close analysis and discussion, we will explore the intricacies of craft, including character development, plot structure, narrative voice, and thematic exploration. From the complex narratives as Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half to the surreal landscapes of Susanna Clarke's Piranesi, we will gain a deeper understanding of the nuances of storytelling, ultimately honing our own writing skills through creative exercises and workshops. In the final weeks, we will explore the fundamentals of a classic writing workshop in which we will write our own short fiction and serve as editors of our peers’ writing.

Journalism: Yearbook

Available to: all students Special Notes: This course does not count towards the diploma requirement for the English department. Spyglass, the school yearbook, is produced once a year and documents Stevenson’s many activities and sports that take place throughout the school year. Yearbook students learn to write copy, design layouts, and take photographs, thus taking an active role in recording the Stevenson student experience for that year. The yearbook, a full color, hardbound book, is traditionally released at the end of the school year.

Journalism: Newspaper

Available to: all students Special Notes: This course does not count towards the diploma requirement for the English department. This course explores the craft of journalism in a practical, hands-on setting by publishing the school newspaper every three to four weeks while also working on a variety of exercises in journalistic practice. Students incorporate lessons on the practice of print and photographic storytelling as they conceive and create stories that reflect the student experience. Students create the entire paper; they brainstorm to assemble a story list, assign stories, plan interviews, arrange for photos and graphics, write and edit news and feature articles, and design and lay out each issue. Students gain professional-level experience in reporting as well as employing the tools used to produce modern print and online journalism. Students particularly interested in video reporting or photography can work to flesh out our social media presence.

AP English Literature and Composition

Type: Honors Available to: grade 12 students, see placement requirements link on the English Department page AP English provides an introductory college-level course to students ready for advanced literary analysis. The syllabus both acquaints students with some of the major texts in the Western tradition and exposes them to a rich sampling of literary genres. The course promotes critical thinking and lucid, persuasive, and forceful writing. This course emphasizes the analytical essay based on the concept of the “close reading.” A high degree of responsibility for class participation and independent learning is fostered by requiring students to lead discussions, to make presentations, and to complete a reading journal in a thoughtful and thorough manner. Students are prepared for the Advanced Placement Examination in May and for successfully meeting the writing and thinking expectations of the most rigorous colleges. Last year’s syllabus included Song of Solomon, The UnAmericans, Gilead, Heart [...]

English 3 / English 3 Honors: Voices of American Literature

This course explores the chronological sweep of American literature from the Puritans to the present, with a focus on the independent voices who created an imaginative new literary terrain in response to the developing nation. Students trace themes of identity, difference, faith, nature, and the American dream by reading closely, writing frequently, and sharing ideas with one another in our discussion-oriented setting. Readings draw from a diverse range of authors of renown and significance—such as Whitman, Fitzgerald, and Morrison—and course concepts resonate with the junior-year US History curriculum. Students will also study multimedia sources, including cartoons, music, and film. By examining America’s literary past, students will gain a deeper understanding of American culture and society today. Students who place into English 3 Honors are equipped with comparatively advanced skills in literary analysis and a clear commitment to their English coursework, such that they can manage heftier assignments at a swifter pace.

English 2 / English 2 Honors: Language & Power

Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist and essayist, has voiced his appreciation for the African proverb that states, “Until the lion has its own historian, the story of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” English 2 is a world literature course, with an emphasis on British literature, and the course’s texts help students consider the power of language and storytelling—and how individuals with a voice shape communities and cultures. Students are challenged in both class discussions and in their writing to analyze language at the figurative level, specifically in relation to how words and phrases reveal power or powerlessness. While writing in English 2 begins with a review of the fundamentals of the paragraph, composition progresses to the analytical essay and includes opportunities for personal and creative writing. Students explore a variety of genres, including novels, plays, poetry, short fiction, and graphic novels by authors including Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, Mary Shelley, Zora Neale Hurston, Chinua Achebe, Sophocles, and Shakespeare. Students who place into English 2 Honors are equipped with comparatively advanced skills in literary analysis and a clear commitment to their English coursework, such that they can manage heftier assignments at a swifter pace.

English 1: Introduction to Literary Studies

As students begin to navigate Stevenson’s Pebble Beach campus, they will investigate the relationship between identity and place through the reading and writing they encounter in English 1. This seminar-style course exposes students to a variety of genres, perspectives and voices that form a foundation for the work they will engage in throughout their time in the English classroom. While written efforts focus on literary analysis, students also explore their narrative and creative voice, acquiring competence in grammar and an enriched vocabulary in the process. Students also learn the skills of engaging in class discussions, as they practice articulating their ideas and listening and responding to their peers. We begin the year with short reading and writing endeavors as we build foundational skills, and we move to longer assignments in the spring semester. Our readings include contemporary essays, short works of fiction, poetry, drama, and either a novel or a memoir.

English 4: Short Story and the Craft of Writing

This course allows students to get curious about how stories get written— and about how to engage their own experience and imagination to create original fiction. By examining a range of short stories—from Kate Chopin and Ernest Hemingway to Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie and Ted Chiang—we study and apply salient lessons of craft to our own writing. Much of the course focuses on analysis of our assigned readings and discussions about the author’s craft. We delineate what it means to read as a critic and writer. Students write craft essays on style, conflict, subtext, point of view, abstract and concrete language, and character interiority. In the final weeks, students experience a classic writing workshop in which they write their own short stories and serve as editors of their peers’ writing; they are also encouraged to submit to the School’s literary journal, Vailima. Teacher-selected readings will complement assigned readings from The [...]

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