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.
“Poetry for Enjoyment.” Eleanor Barnes. Fulton High School. Knoxville, Tennessee.
“The primary objectives of the course are just what the title suggests: to give the student a chance to read and enjoy poetry; to read poems aloud in class and to share ideas from the poems; to create many types of poems and to participate in other activities planned to help students enjoy poetry; to demonstrate that poetry is a part of our way of life.”
“Technical Communication.” Owen Kerr. Hutchinson Central Technical High School. Buffalo, New York.
“Materials. Possibilities include Energy Primer—Solar, Water, Wind, and Biofuels by Portola Institute. 1974; Domebook 2 by Shelter Publications; magazines such as Organic Gardening and Farming, Scientific American, Popular Science. Lionel D. Wyld’s Preparing Effective Reports, Odyssey Press. 1967, is a good concise paperback text.”
“The Law: Discretionary, or Blind Obedience?” Linda L. Woods. Westinghouse Area Vocational High School. Chicago, Illinois.
“Adherence to or defiance of the law is an explosive topic today and the subject of heated debate among political, moral and religious factions.”
“The pivotal work for this unit is Antigone. All other selections build upon the philosophical foundations of this play. Henry David Thoreau’s defiance of the U.s. Government during the strife-filled era of the late 19th century; Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle with the discrimination and the political independence of India in the 1930;s; and Martin Luther King’s non-violent tenets which guided the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s;;;provide seminal material for students analysts and comparison to the political world today.
“An Elective Catalog: A Directory of Mini-courses and Electives.” English Journal (April 1976), 59-76.