Question: What can we learn from the plethora of elective courses in the 1970s?
Answer: The electives substituted specific titles for such generic titles of year-long courses as English 10, English 11, and English 12, which were often poorly defined. Many of these courses of varying lengths could be reduced to units today. Many elective courses were creative, imaginative and worth teaching.
“American-Jewish Literature.” Dorothy Burman. Stuyvesant High School. New York, New York.
“We are particularly interested in Jewish writers who happen to be Americans and who reflect their Jewish heritage in some or all of their works. Objectives include To develop an understanding of…
…the historical forces that shaped the lives of Jewish immigrants to America and their descendants. …the universality of the human experience that emerges. …the many literary genres in which American-Jewish writers have expressed themselves. P. 66.
“New York Writers.” Ann Sullivan and Cynthia Lief. Friends Seminary. New York, New York.
“Readings include O. Henry, Damon Runyon, Michael Gold, Alfred Kazin, Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Edith Wharton, Henry Roth and Saul Bellow. Each participant was asked to compile a profile of a New Yorker….” P. 67.
“Plot, Character—Prison.” Paula Backscheider. University of Rochester. Rochester, New York.
“Students are very interested in the legal system, prisons, and criminology. More than ever before, they are aware of the problems crippling our prison system. Media reports on over-crowding, prison riots, and alternatives to incarceration as well as movies such as Papillon have provided a concerned and basically informed audience. A good selection of readings can reflect the range of literary techniques available and the types of experiences that prisoners have.” Pp. 68-69.
“An Elective Catalog: A Directory of Mini-courses and Electives.” English Journal (April 1976), 59-76.