Mary Forney and Bryan Neuschwander both teach in the English Department. Mary has taught here for 28 years while Bryan is beginning his third year.
Thoughts from Mary Forney . . .
I love how students reveal themselves and also have revelations about themselves in my writing classes in the fall semester. Since seniors must make major decisions soon, they’re often quite reflective of how they got to their current place and what their dreams for their future hold. Seeing that reflection emerge through poetry, projects, and personal essays allows me to see them from a different dimension. I love when a “non-reader” comes to class and announces, “I couldn’t stop reading at the place we were supposed to last night. This book is awesome!” A life-long learner is born!
Sophomore Speech & Communication: listening, parliamentary procedure, persuasive speaking, informative speaking, oral interpretation, speaking for entertainment
English III – Research: writing an MLA analytical research paper, Future Careers (School, Work, Service, Learning) study, a Holocaust study which includes reading Elie Wiesel’s Night and writing a thematic explication.
English IV – Adv. Writing: personal and analytical writing, poetry writing.
English IV – Adv. English: literature of Nigeria, South Africa, Darfur; Independent Spirit Unit; memoir reading; futuristic literature.
English IV – Rhetoric: Advertising & Counterculture; media & marketing; film study (writing reviews); literature projects (the 1960′s & Vietnam; the 1950′s).
English IV – British Literature: a survey course starting pre-Anglo-Saxon to contemporary British lit.
Yearbook: organization, layout, design, photography, reporting, interviewing to create the Reverie
Mary’s goals for her students:.
- to become curious, lifelong learners
- to enjoy reading, not merely endure it
- to really think about word choices before writing or speaking
- to grasp the beauty and the pain language provides
- to learn to laugh at themselves
How can parents help their students succeed in your classes?
- Ask their student what book or story he/she is reading, then ask something about it.
- Let your student see you reading for pleasure at home.
- Hold realistic expectations for your student.
- Remind them to proofread their writing before turning it in!
Mary’s greatest challenges . . .
I’m often amazed when I hear students say, “I hate English. Why do we have to take this class?” I can’t think of one vocation or avocation in which speaking, writing, listening, or analyzing isn’t used to some extent. The language arts are vital in this era of high technology, anonymous global communication and spirited speech. Reading and listening to others’ viewpoints and ideas makes each of us better human beings, enabling us to live together on this small planet. I fear future generations will only see the small picture of their OWN lives. Keeping what we do in English classes relevant is the current challenge I face.
Thoughts from Bryan Neuschwander who titles his ideas: English and the Art of Motor Vehicle Maintenance
One challenge of English language arts is getting up to speed with grammar. Grammar takes us under the surface of language, giving us terms and tools for identifying and fixing problems that arise in using language—it’s a bit like car maintenance or repair. Even if you are not a mechanic, it’s really helpful to know the names and functions of faulty parts “under the hood” in order to keep the engine running smoothly or to find and fix that broken something-or-other. Grammar won’t necessarily make students better drivers, but it will help them understand what they can do to keep the car of communication moving efficiently to its destination, with fewer breakdowns.
English Fundamentals builds basic English skills with an exploration of grammar and vocabulary, reading and writing about short stories, poems, novels, informational text, and nonfiction, with plenty of speaking and listening opportunities along the way. Our goal is to provide students with a solid background for later success in both English and other content areas. Parents help by encouraging students to work diligently, to talk openly about what they are learning, and to read widely.
Composition revisits the power of grammar to drive effective communication, but focuses on developing writing skills for varied audiences through real-world narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive pieces. We’ll appreciate the artistry of communication while learning the nuts and bolts of meaningful and masterful written composition. Along the way, we’ll keep reading in order to learn from student and professional writers.
In Advanced Placement English, a college-level senior course, students apply their growing mastery of English language to the analysis and appreciation of some of the great ideas that have shaped our world and several of the best imaginative and insightful writings of all time. The practice of close reading skills and the developing ability to synthesize and express thoughts concisely and convincingly will fuel student success in college and beyond.
At every level, English language learning begins with a drive to learn, a desire to excel, and the diligence to continue even through difficulty. Parents provide an essential roadmap of encouragement and caring to motivate and accelerate students on their journey through life, wherever it may take them.