Clear thought deserves clear expression. We offer two courses to help students become more agile communicators.
In this light-hearted course, students explore the uses and misuses of the English language. Students are first introduced to the basic vocabulary of grammar: the eight parts of speech and the elements of a sentence. They then learn to identify common grammatical and punctuation mistakes that tend to confuse the reader. Finally, they examine how clever authors manipulate grammar to create stylistic and tonal effects. The newly adopted Common Core requires students to master grammatical conventions–as does the SAT. But we hope that students will leave this course seeing grammar not as dusty old rules but as a set of tools that can help them communicate their ideas clearly, concisely, and with style.
Personal Narrative and the Art of Persuasion
Grades 9 and up
Narrating a life experience can be a powerful medium for convincing readers to adopt one’s ideas and sympathies. In this course, we consider how stories about ourselves, often mixing self-reflection and self-promotion, can be used as a means of subtle persuasion. Aristotle’s Rhetoric distinguished pathos, ethos and logos as distinct approaches to winning a listener over. We will examine the use of all three as we work our way through outside works and our own writing samples. Don’t wait for college applications to start working on this genre!