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.
“The Literature of Chicago.” James E. Byrne. St. Charles High School. St. Charles, Illinois.
“In a review of the state of contemporary literature in the United States in 1930, H.L. Mencken stated that ‘with two exceptions, there is not a single American novelist, a novelist deserving a civilized reader’s notice, who has not sprung from the Middle Empire that has Chicago for its capital.’ ” “The reading list includes: Theodore ?Dreiser, Sister Carrie; Upton Sinclair, The Jungle; James T. Farrell, Young Lonigan, The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, Judgment day; Richard Wright, Native Son; Nelson Algren, The Man with the Golden Arm; Willard Motley, Knock on Any Door; Gwendolyn Brooks, Selected Poems; Harry Mark Petrakis, Pericles on 31st Street.
“Writing the Slide-Essay.” Albert Spector. Central High School. Valley Steam, New York.
“Students write essays and shoot appropriate color slides for presentation to the class. (Use of PowerPoint is a perfect adaptation for slides today, 2011 RayS.) Some Objectives: “To explore the variety of appropriate organizational methods for communicating a theme. “To become aware of the techniques for selecting and organizing images (color slides) in relation to the written or spoken word.”
“An Elective Catalog: A Directory of Mini-courses and Electives.” English Journal (April 1976), 59-76.