Discussing What Matters


Photo credit: Anthony Airdo © 2013

Students discuss topics during American Discourse.

Anthony Airdo, Columnist

American Experience (AMEX) students are participating in a new activity called American Discourse. The class is new to Horizon Honors this year and combines AP American History, AP Literature, and AP Language and Composition. AMEX teacher Ann Shaheen created Academic Discourse to help students understand all the material they are covering in the class through polite group discussion about academically focused topics.

Shaheen explained the mission of the activity: “It gives us a safe way to challenge our own thinking and to challenge others’ ideas.” Students are given an opportunity to debate in a safe, healthy environment about an issue of Shaheen’s choosing. Students are encouraged to bring in expert advice, past experience, or statistics and facts. “It gives you a chance to formally discuss academic topics with friends you wouldn’t normally talk about,” said junior Patrick McPherson. Past issues have included which amendment in the Bill of Rights is most essential to the country, and the role of artists in social and political commentary throughout history. Students are required to attend Academic Discourse at least once a quarter. Shaheen is hoping to have other teachers participate in future discussions to offer their own advice, questions, and knowledge to the students.