“for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose-a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye,” Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
The language of this essay is based on the prompt you will receive from the College Board during the AP Language and Composition exam.
Direction: The following prompt is based on the accompanying sources.
This question requires you to integrate a variety of sources into a coherent, well-written essay. Refer to the provided sources and incorporate your own found selections to support your position; avoid mere paraphrase or summary. Your argument should be central; the sources should support the argument.
For the past decade, each of the students in this class has been an active and successful learner in a traditional educational environment. So in terms of the current status of education and classroom set-ups, I consider you professionals. However, there has been a recent onslaught of messages declaring what education should look like. As future college students, and in some cases future educators, it is important to analyze the information presented in terms of rhetoric, appeals, purpose, and evidence.
Read the following sources (including any introductory information) carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least four of the sources for support (two selections from the provided text, two from your annotated bibliography), take a position on one of the following claims:
Synthesis Topics and Readings
- Waiting for “Superman”
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read, Francine Prose
- Education, Ralph Waldo Emerson
- A Talk to Teachers, James Baldwin
Question 1: Francine Prose questions the canonical readings presented year after year in the high school English classroom. In the first sentence of I Know Why the Caged Bird Cannot Read she claims she is “appalled by the dismal lists of texts” that students are “doomed to waste a school year reading.” She proceeds to list what many of those texts are, the wasted ways in which they are taught, and then provides examples of what English curriculum should look like. Construct a well-developed essay that identifies the key issues associated with Prose’s view of reading in the English classroom and examines the implications for English education.
- Life Drawing cartoon
- Superman and Me, Sherman Alexie
- Reading at Risk tables
- School, Kyoko Mori
Question 2: In Education, Ralph Waldo Emerson questions the effectiveness of mass education compared with the potential of the individual student. He further supports his claims of individual education by presenting the reader with the “genius and drill” paradox. Construct a well-developed essay that identifies the key issues associated with Emerson’s assertion that discussion of content and ideas must directly correspond with drills of mechanics and form and examines the implications for English education.
- Order in the Classroom, Neil Postman
- Best in Class, Margaret Talbot
- Report of the Massachusetts Board of Education, Horace Mann
- U.S. Students Fared Badly in International Survey of Math Skills, Floyd Norris