Upper School British Literature
This course will focus on British Literature written from 1678 to 1954 and will provide a broad sweep of historical perspectives through mainly fiction readings. The books selected for the course will be studied in depth for their tremendous contribution to the literary world and the shaping of society. During this time frame, and particularly in the 19th century, British writing was prolific and greatly influential. This course will provide solid scaffolding for the further enjoyment and study of renowned British literature.
The goals of this course are:
To explore the timeline of British authors and recognize influential political, philosophical, social, and religious factors on the authors
To analyze writings according to their structure, form and purpose, and practice synthesizing ideas in the written word through a variety of writing projects
To develop comparative, analytical/critical, and responsive thinking, writing, and questioning skills that bolster communication with others and to practice using said skills in various settings
Of equal importance is the underlying current of the course, which is to nurture a spirit of searching and restful contemplation through the reading of powerful stories and essays. By examining authors, characters, conflict, and themes, students will make connections to themselves and their world while simultaneously recognizing the unchanging state of human nature.
The readings being with John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and progress through the Enlightenment Era, the Romantic Period, and Victorian Age to Realism and Existentialism. As students investigate the historical impact of political, philosophical, social, and religious perspectives they will come to recognize effects on the writers of the time. They will develop the craft of asking questions following the form of Aristotle’s Five Common Topics of Invention; in doing so, they will engage with the text and their peers on a contemplative level. Students will be required to read all assigned texts (approximately 1 hour of reading per day) and write one major essay per book (comparison, narrative, expository, etc.). Additionally, students shall expect to maintain a dialectic notebook (to be explained in class), periodically submit short (1-page) response papers, and complete a portfolio. Participation in Socratic dialogue is imperative as it serves to promote vigorous contemplation and reflection.
The writing portion of this course will focus on various types of academic essays including compare and contrast, critical analysis, expository, and persuasive. Students will follow a rubric for each piece of writing in order to develop strong mental templates for presenting thoughts in differing forms. As the communication of ideas is paramount in literature, selecting the most appropriate structure to convey such ideas is a valuable skill. Likewise, a writer’s personal style can powerfully impact the reception of the work, and as such, students and teacher will together explore and practice schemes and tropes such as anaphora, antithesis, epistrophe, polysyndeton, and more. Experimenting with word play will enrich our study of British literature and lead students toward growth in eloquence. Students will be expected to employ proper grammar and mechanics of writing (including spelling, grammar, and structure) as they endeavor to stretch their writing abilities.
While this course primarily features literary study, it also incorporates some study from British history, helping students to see and enjoy the integration of both history and literature. This class is paired with our upper-school Western History: Enlightenment to Industrial Revolution course, taught by the same instructor, and scheduled back-to-back with that course in a “block.” Students who take both courses receive a discount. This course may also be taken as a standalone literature study.
Placement: Please read about our new process above.
The target grades for this course are 9th–10th grade. Students must have successfully completed an 8th-grade-level writing course; they will be expected to have competency in vocabulary, annotation, and essay-writing (various forms of written discourse) and know how to write a summary and reflect on a text (though the instructor will work to develop these skills throughout the course). Students are expected to have strong reading and writing skills as well as the interest and capacity for engaging in discussion about literature and history. Students well suited for this course will continue refining the following scholarship skills as they approach mastery:
- Actively and independently engage in note-taking
- Apply teacher critiques
- Adhere to deadlines
- Be responsible for class and project preparedness
- Take initiative to ask questions for understanding and comprehension
High School Credit: This course is the equivalent of one high school credit in English or literature.
How much time will students spend on homework?
This varies by student according to his or her pace. However, the average reader can expect to spend approximately 1.5–2 hours per week reading course materials, and approximately half an hour to an hour working on the questions. Students will submit regular weekly assignments. Midterm and final exams will be given.
How is faith integrated with these courses?
These seminar-style discussions unfold organically. One could approach the texts with a focus on defensive critiques of classical authors. By contrast, we seek to read charitably. We treat classic authors as if they were friends, gleaning every available truth while also examining them from a robustly Christian perspective.
At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper school students (in grades 7-12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. … Read more about our Faith & Culture.
For each skill instructors have determined whether it is a prerequisite skill or a skill to be developed throughout the course. For lower school, instructors indicate where parent support is expected.
- With Parent Support: Skills that most lower school students will need help with.
- Developing: Skills that the instructor will help develop and emphasize throughout the year.
- Mastered: Prerequisite skills that the instructor is expecting students to possess.
- Be able to manage Canvas assignments and submissions (view assignments, check for teacher messages, submit homework as pdf file, submit revisions if necessary, set Canvas notifications for the class, view class notifications when posted, etc.).
- Be able to set notifications settings to alert the student of class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to review notifications ongoing throughout the year; notifications which include: class announcements, homework assignments, due dates, instructor comments made on assignments, instructor comments made on individual student submissions, instructor comments made on graded items, etc.
- Be able to respectfully and wisely engage with other students and the instructor on Canvas discussion boards.
- Be able to respectfully, wisely and formally engage with instructor through private Canvas messaging.
- Be responsible for reviewing teacher feedback, suggestions and comments about student work and employing that feedback as necessary.
- Be able to hand-write answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to write sentences with basic sentence syntax (i.e. capitalization of first word in a sentence, punctuation at the end of each sentence, space between sentences, capitalization of proper nouns, each sentence having a subject and predicate, etc.).
- Be able to spell at grade level and employ course vocabulary cumulatively throughout the course.
- Be able to build well organized paragraphs which employ (among other skills) topic sentences, transition sentences, clear linear thinking throughout the essay.
- Be able to build a logical, well-reasoned argument through a written essay providing sound reasoning (i.e. true premises, valid arguments, sound conclusions).
- Be able to request a family or peer to edit submissions, but understands these requests should be for the purposes of raising important questions for the student to consider and suggesting minor edits. The student understands that family or peer editors should not be reworking of sentences, redefining terms, building new concepts, building arguments or writing passages for the student.
- Be able to build and use alphanumeric outlines as part of the writing process.
- Be able to employ the feedback of the instructor into future edits and submissions of the assignment.
- Be able to self-edit written submissions for grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Be able to read material independently and identify the information which might be relevant to course discussions and objectives (even if the student doesn’t fully understand all of what’s being read).
- Be able to mark, underline or highlight important words, definitions or concepts within a text being read both while reading independently and reading corporately as a class.
- Be able to identify key terms in a passage, and follow the author’s argument.
- Be able to read material independently and identify questions which require clarification or further explanation from the instructor.
- Be able to listen to the author’s argument and understand it even if the student disagrees with the conclusion reached or reasons given.
- Be able to type short answers in complete sentences.
- Be able to type paragraph essays (short essays, and 5 or more page essays).
- Be able to employ basic MLA formatting skills (i.e. 1-inch margins, double spacing, heading on paper).
- Be able to employ MLA citations for (for quoted material and referenced material) through the use of footnotes or endnotes, bibliography, work-cited page. Student should have a concept of what plagiarism is and know how to avoid it.
- Follow along with instructor-led note-taking and record notes during class.
- Follow along with instructor-led workbook completion and record answers during class.
- Be prepared to thoughtfully answer questions when called on in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to volunteer thoughtful comments, answers and ideas in a group setting, during class.
- Be prepared to generate thoughtful questions to enhance the class discussion, to identify areas needing clarification, and to make valuable connections with other course content.
- Follow class discussions and seminar conversations to record notes without the instructor identifying specifics.
- Be responsible to study at home for quizzes, tests and other assessments.
- Understand the difference between assignments given by an instructor and the necessary and independently initiated need for private study of material.
- Be able to schedule and manage multiple projects from multiple instructors and courses.
- Be able to schedule time outside of class to complete independent review of materials.
- Be able to determine the best places and ways to study at home (i.e. quiet, undistracted, utilizing various methods of review (auditory, written, visual, practice tests, flashcards, etc.).
- After the instructor has provided instructions – the student should be able to use Wacom tablet (or other like iPad) to actively solve math problems during class, viewable to the instructor on Ziteboard.
- Understand that arriving at the correct answer is not the goal of mathematics review and practice, but rather understand that consistent application of the correct processes are the goals of review and practice.
- Be able to deductively apply content and previously learned mathematics skills and processes to the understanding of newly introduced content.
Required Reading List:*
Sections with Dr. Seaward:
- The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan (1678)
- A Modest Proposal, Swift (1729)
- Frankenstein, Shelley (1823)
- Pride and Prejudice, Austen (1813)
- A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens (1859)
- Jane Eyre, Brontë (1847)
- Silas Marner, Eliot (1861)
- The Screwtape Letters, Lewis (1942)
- Animal Farm, Orwell (1945)
- The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien (1954)
- Notebook for annotating, notes, and literary responses
Note: Most of the readings can be accessed online as they are public domain, but hard copies are recommended. Parents are welcome to purchase any edition that fits their budget.
Optional Course Texts
- The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
- On Writing Well, Zinsser
- MLA Handbook, 8th Edition
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
Phaedra Shaltanis has taught in private and classical schools for over 25 years and has educated her four children in the classical tradition, which has been the monumental joy of her life. After college graduation, she began teaching high school Writing, Literature, Spanish, and Art in classical schools. Her involvement with Scholé Academy includes teaching American Literature, British Literature, Western History, Rhetoric I, Formal Logic and Well-Ordered Language Levels 1 and 2. She is enthused to serve as the Humanities department chair and appreciates guiding parents and teachers toward restful education. In her Dallas community, she currently directs a high school university-model program, trains and mentors teachers, conducts seminars on classical education, builds curriculum, supports parents, and provides fine art instruction at a classical high school. She and her husband hope to support classical education as avenues present themselves. email@example.com
Christine Seaward was born and raised in central California. She received her B.A. in Liberal Arts and earned her elementary teaching credential at California State University, Stanislaus before becoming an Air Force wife in 1992. During the nomadic years of military life, she lived in various places: Oklahoma, Colorado, South Korea, Japan, Hawaii, and Florida. She is blessed to be a wife and mother of two teenage girls. Christine has served as the President of the Protestant Women of the Chapel at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. She has also served as a group and administrative leader in Bible Study Fellowship. She completed her M.A. in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills and her Ph.D. in Humanities with a concentration in Literature from Faulkner University where the Great Books program changed the way she viewed education. Christine has taught high school English in a traditional Christian school. She also taught a course on Aquinas and Dante and served as the faculty adviser for the student book club at Kepler Education. She is a long-time admirer of C.S. Lewis, and she continues to grow in her appreciation for the Great Books of the Western World. She enjoys supporting her daughters, taking long walks with her husband, following sumo wrestling, and the pleasure of reading. firstname.lastname@example.org
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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