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U46 may add Spanish literature, speech, debate

Updated: March 3, 2014 2:42PM

ELGIN — School District U46 may add three new courses next school year — an Advanced Placement course in Spanish literature to be offered in the high schools, and speech and debate courses in the middle schools.

Proposals for both were explained Monday night to the board of education by Instructional Council committees that have been planning them.

Committee members said the course named “AP Spanish Literature and Culture” would be aimed at two groups: students who grew up speaking fluent Spanish at home, and new speakers of the language who have been taking Spanish classes since middle school and now run out of Spanish courses to take when they reach their senior year.

The committee said AP Spanish Literature and Culture is “designed to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of an introductory college course in literature written in Spanish.”

Another committee argued for a nine-week Speech course and a nine-week Debate course to be added back to the middle schools, where speech classes were dropped two years ago. These would be elective courses for students who have time on their schedules to add another course.

The Debate course would teach both public speaking and oral interpretation. A student would have to pass that before enrolling in Debate, which would cover both competitive debate and how to participate in a group discussion. A student could take Debate twice because different topics of debate and group discussion would be covered every time the course is offered.

Board members did not make a final decision on either request. But several members noted that speaking and listening skills are becoming more important in everyday life. They also said they were impressed by the enthusiasm and persuasion ability of several high school students who joined the presentations to argue for the courses.

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