World Studies to Launch Next Year

Unlike juniors, who have some flexibility in choosing their literature and history classes, sophomores have been more limited in their schedules, as there is no sophomore equivalent of the juniors’ popular American Studies course. However, sophomores will soon have the choice to opt for a World Studies class.

Starting with the 2011-2012 school year, history teacher Nick Bonacorsi and literature teacher Matt Brashears will head a World Studies class, which will combine World History and World Literature into a two period, jointly taught class. Bonacorsi and Brashears hope to weave the two distinct classes into a smoothly integrated course and offer students a unique learning environment.

Bonacorsi and Brashears hope that combining World History and World Literature into a single class will help students appreciate the parallels between the two courses. Unlike traditional history classes, content will be arranged thematically, allowing the literature and historical components of the class to correspond.

History teacher Nick Bonacorsi and literature teacher Matt Brashears will teach a World Studies class for sophomores next school year together. The course, modeled after American Studies, aims to mesh World History and World Literature into a single entity. Photo by Akshay Agrawal.

“[World History and World Literature] do [cover] a lot of the same themes,” Bonacorsi said. “We’re hoping now that with this opportunity we’ll be able easily mesh them together, to prevent that idea of when my history student leaves my room he turns off his history brain and turns on his literature brain.”

Bonacorsi and Brashears hope that the connections they make between history and literature will help students draw similar parallels in other courses.

“Our hope is that by having an interdisciplinary course like this they can actually see connections across disciplines,” Brashears said.

World Studies’ integrated nature allows for an educational atmosphere that some students may find more fitting to their learning styles. Like American Studies, World Studies, with its 60 or so students, will emphasize cooperation and teamwork through hands-on activities.

The idea of an integrated history-literature class does not appeal to all students, however. Freshman Timothy Kuo stated that although he supports the idea of World Studies, he would probably not enroll in the class itself.

“I would still rather go with two [separate] classes,” Kuo said. “I’m guessing the teachers would have more experience [with two classes].”

It remains to be seen if current freshmen will embrace World Studies as juniors have American Studies. Yet, despite the various similarities between World Studies and American Studies, the two courses are distinct in at least one regard—as of now, Bonacorsi and Brashears remain undecided as to whether World Studies will offer a field trip for its students.

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