Four hundred and three juniors and seniors are enrolled in AP English Language, a brand new Advanced Placement English elective. The course’s popularity has contributed to the cancellation of Film Composition and Escape Literature.
AP Language, in terms of graduation requirements, is an alternative to American Literature 11 or World Literature 12. However, it is a full year course, while the other two are only one semester long. That is, students who choose to take AP Language are not able to take any other English electives during the same year. As a result, the enrollment of all English electives was suddenly decreased by more than 400 students.
Lucy Filppu, who has been teaching English for over seven years, said that she thinks AP Language offers students more options, which, in her opinion, is what electives should be all about.
“Any way we can give students more choice is positive in my view. It’s all about [student’s] choice. Our school wants to do everything we can to serve our students.”
Unlike other English electives, which generally spend most time on reading and analyzing fiction, AP English Language is primarily focused on analyzing the rhetorical strategies used throughout non-fiction texts. Over the course of the year, students will learn about how to write persuasive essays by analyzing these rhetorical strategies.
“It is not only new for the students, but it’s new for us the teachers as well,” said Mrs. Laptalo, one of the current AP English Language teachers. “I think what’s gonna be similar is we are all viewing ourselves as coaches that will prepare students for the AP exam. There are specific skills that we know that will be on the AP exam, and we want to prepare them for that.”
The skills taught in AP English Language are valued by the Paly community, as shown by the large amount of students enrolled in the course. Additionally, it offers an option for juniors who would like to take an AP English course, or seniors who do not want to take AP Literature, which is mainly focused on analyzing fiction.
“I personally like it because it is not as intense as AP Literature but still a solid AP,” said junior Jonathan Mi. “I think analyzing literature, especially non-fiction, is going to be really helpful later on in college and in our careers, since close reading is a necessary skill.”
In terms of class content and plan, Mrs. Laptalo states that the AP exam will not be the only topic of the course.
“[We] can do a lot more than just test prep in a year. So we are also working on designing some creative projects and different things that will help students practice the same skills as the exam.”