As we begin the wrap-up of Belmont Hill’s 94th school year and think about next year, for all students but those in Form VI, this involves course selection. Belmont Hill already offers a myriad of elective course offerings during Junior and Senior year, something to which all lower classmen should look forward. This year the school added a few new classes to its tried and true curriculum. First, Politics in Practice, spearheaded by Dr. Buckley (whose Ph.D. is in political science), will be taught as a combination inquiry and history course. Throughout the semester, students will be challenged to analyze current political developments, ranging from local to international issues, with the opportunity to apply this knowledge in a weekly off-campus internship. A few of the Massachusetts-focused projects tackled by this year’s Politics in Practice class include human trafficking, the opioid crisis, and progress made towards bolstering our use of green energy. In the future, Dr. Buckley hopes the course will mirror the ASR program while limiting the internship to just one Spring semester so as to afford students more freedom.
A completely new course that may be offered next year, depending on the level of interest, is It’s Debatable: Argument, Persuasion, and Rhetoric, taught by Dr. Tift. The course will give students an understanding of how “we create ourselves through the words we use” and aims to help students become more deliberate and persuasive speakers. Beyond studying rhetorical texts, the course also lends itself to public speaking practice; Dr. Tift looks forward to hosting formal debates, Socratic circles, and perhaps even a fishbowl – all forms of communication that concentrate and improve communication skills. On the course description, Dr. Tift noted, “I feel like this can hopefully support and help grow the public speaking opportunities with Woodbury’s, Poetry Fest, and being in theater to give curricular support and expand some of these activities and get that to be more of the Belmont Hill experience; Being able to use your voice and learn how to make rhetoric accomplish things for you.”
Near and dear to the hearts of many, the beloved World Issues course has been given a facelift this past year – exclusively studying the Middle East in the first quarter and China in the second, rather than South Africa, China, and India. Next year however, the course’s name will be changed to The Crescent and the Dragon, paying homage to the countries of focus.
Looking farther forward, Theater Perspectives is a course that Belmont Hill will offer for the 2018-2019 academic year. Taught by Ms. Robison and targeting theater buffs, the course details the history of drama through three significant periods: Greek, Shakespearean, and modern. Revolves around the work of many famous playwrights, the course will surely have dramatic flair!
Whether you are choosing classes in the near future or are a few years away from Upper School, you should definitely get excited for and take advantage of the great variety of courses offered on the Hill.