In my Advanced Placement English Language and Composition class this year, Mr. John Corrigan has introduced my class and I to the importance of the Advanced Placement Exam in the spring, but also the importance of literature.
Once a week, our class writes an in-class essay that must be written in a forty minute time period. Mr. Corrigan uses essays from previous exams so we can get better at responding to articles and passages. Even though they are graded, I personally find them really helpful in calming some of the nerves about the exam in the spring. My class of ten students also gets to practice multiple-choice questions we may also see on the test. It is helpful to get a forewarning of what the test will be like and to clear the air of whatever nerve-wracking challenge we thought was coming!
At the end of each trimester, the AP class must write a term paper of about two thousand words, which the student picks. This fall we had to write an opinion-based essay on the media, modern technology, or civil liberties. The students in my class discussed the Fifth Amendment, to the Patriot Act, and even to Urban Dictionary by their own choosing and enthusiasm! The best part was being able to decide freely what I wanted to spend my own time working on! My paper on the Patriot Act was one that I chose, and that element gave me motivation to put passion into my paper that I otherwise would not have had.
Personally, my favorite aspect of Mr. Corrigan’s class would be our in depth analysis of the books that we, as a class, try to work through. After doing our assigned reading, our class participates in a Harkness Discussion, which is a student-based discussion that is free of the teacher’s assistance and allows the students to bounce ideas and themes off of each other. In class, we discuss the morals of the stories, and watch out for the diction and syntax the author uses. For me, this style of discussion helps me to participate more in class because my statements and questions are directed at my peers instead of the teacher.