By Victoria Cheng ’16 and Christine Ly ’16
New english electives like Scientific Non-Fiction are being administered for the first time to seniors.
Scientific Non-Fiction is a class created by Mr. Kamil Kraszewski, an English teacher who now also teaches the class along with Mr. Matt Fleming. Previous students had told Mr. Kraszewski their interests in a English course that focuses on science rather than literature but still teach the necessary skills for college.. After proposing that idea to Ms. Suzanne Thomas, the assistant principal of the English department, and receiving a good response from the students , the class became an option seniors could choose as an English elective.
“The focus of the class is to prepare kids for college,” said Mr. Kraszewski. “Students are doing research and writing college style papers. The difference between this class and any other classes is that we focus on science – scientific readings.”
In this class, rather than reading English literature, the class will focus more on scientific readings, books, journals and essays. The students will do their own research, form opinions and write research papers on topics they are interested in.
Mr. Fleming said, “It fits with a big admission of the school because some of the kids come here just for medical science specifically, so it does align itself nicely with the school’s mission as far an elective goes.”
According to Mr. Kraszewski, the class will cover a range of topics, starting from small and growing into big. Each class will start talking about genetics and DNA – discussing genetic privacy and cloning. Then, they will move onto issues involving the environment such as fracking and global warming. Other topics also include space, the nature of time travel, and artificial intelligence.
“We wanted to expose our students to fields of study that are not normally covered in a classroom,” said Mr. Kraszewski. “Part of the reason we are doing this class is to spark students’ interests in these topics so that when they go to college, and they see a class on ethics, time travel or astronomy; they can take it because they read something that sparked their curiosity.”
Peggy Chen ‘16, a student in Mr. Kraszewski’s class, said “The class is interesting so far and I’m looking forward to the advanced technology topic because I want to work in that field.”
This class will be shaped by the students as at the end of the year the students’ feedback will be important. Mr. Kraszewski explained how he has a vision of what he wants the students to learn to be ready for college, however the units that students did not like previously can be replaced. It is possible that by the beginning of next year, students can choose the units they want to cover. The class will still focus on teaching the same skills in the original curriculum, but will have a more specific lens based on the topics the students choose to learn about.
“This class is helping me and I like how it supports my science class,” said Abbosbek Adxamov ‘16, a student in Mr. Fleming’s class. “It’s a good fundamental class that will help me later on in college.”