Featured Course: The Great Conversation

THE GREAT CONVERSATION: Integrated Humanities Seminar

“A school is more than just a set of classrooms. A school is an entire community, a gathering of people, seeking and living the truth together.” – Bishop Conley, Lincoln, Nebraska

We are excited to offer a new honors humanities course for seniors called “The Great Conversation,” which is a double-period course that combines English and History into one class.  Our hope is to build this exceptional program down into other grades in subsequent years. This course offers us a unique opportunity to fulfill the most important desires of our school’s mission: to integrate faith and reason, integrate subject areas, and offer students an opportunity to engage in sustained conversations about the most important works and events in western civilization.  

This two period honors-level seminar is an exciting new addition to the high school program.  The course will integrate studies in history, literature, philosophy, politics, and the arts through the reading of the Great Books of the western tradition.  The advantage of a two period block will allow for more sustained conversation and questions as well as opportunities to integrate writing and research in multiple areas of the humanities.  Students will also conduct an annual research project which will reflect their integrated study, and present their findings in a public speech after honing their rhetorical skills.  Such a course will produce excellent intellectual habits of mind in students and thereby prepare them well for post-secondary study.  Benefits of the block humanities seminar include:

  • special trips, lectures, cultural experiences (e.g. museums, concerts, films, etc.)
  • a leadership/mentoring component
  • opportunities to partner with summer university programs
  • increased honors GPA value beyond other honors course offerings
  • course materials will be owned by students for ease of annotation/notes at no cost
  • elements of seminar discussion; writing; integration of subject areas; honing logical, dialectical, and rhetorical habits of mind

This course is limited to 20 students and will include breaks and reading days each week.  In addition, it will be distinctively promoted to colleges and universities.