Course Offerings

Course ID

Course Title (click on title for course description)

Term

EC831
AP Macroeconomics
1

This course introduces the principles of macroeconomics and prepares students for the Advanced Placement Examination. The dual goals of the course are for students to be able to use economic thinking appropriately in their own lives and to understand current economic topics. Key topics include unemployment, inflation, gross domestic product, economic growth, fiscal and monetary policy, the financial system, and international economic interactions. Students are required to take the AP Macroeconomics after completing this course. Open to Upper Middlers and Seniors with the approval of the Department. Completion of MA 320 or the equivalent is required, and MA 425 or Calculus is recommended. 

EC832
AP Microeconomics
2

This course introduces the principles of microeconomics and prepares students for the Advanced Placement Examinations. The dual goals of the course are for students to be able to use economic thinking appropriately in their own lives and to understand current economic topics. This course concentrates in microeconomics, examining how individuals and corporations make decisions, then builds to a study of industry structure. The course also examines market externalities and other ways in which markets can fail. Students are expected to take the Advanced Placement Examination at the end of the course. Open to Upper Middlers and Seniors with the approval of the Department. Completion of MA 320 or the equivalent is required, and MA 425 or Calculus is recommended. 

EN458
World Cinema: An Introduction
2

The goal of this course is twofold: to introduce students to the visual language of cinema through intensive readings in film theory and through frequent written analyses; and to introduce students to a range of cinematic styles and subjects from beyond the more familiar realms of Hollywood and American independent filmmakers. The latter two-thirds of the course will involve weekly film screenings followed by student-led seminars based on the film and on secondary readings in theory and in criticism that places the film in a broader social / cultural context. Assessments will include weekly critical essays, a substantial research essay, and contributions to the seminar discussions as leader and participant. Films for study may include City of God (Brazil), Raise the Red Lantern (China), Panis Labyrinth (Spain), Le Quattro Volte (Italy), Breathless (France), Run Lola Run (Germany), Water (India), Nikita (France), Cinema Paradiso (Italy). The final list of films will depend on student interest and input.

EN463
Literature of Civil Disobedience
1

With Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and essay, “Civil Disobedience,” at its center, this course explores the social energies created by literature and the literature created out of historical acts of civil disobedience. Upon establishing a foundational understanding of Thoreau’s philosophy, students will study some of the literature and history of the Indian independence movement, the American Civil Rights Movement, the Tiananmen Square protests in China, and the women’s movement as it extends into the 21st century. Students will study fiction, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, drama, and film. Students’ work in the course will culminate in a final project: an act of civil disobedience of their own. Students enrolled in the course will also be eligible to participate in an optional five-day trip to the civil rights trail in Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama at the start of Thanksgiving break. Including its service components, the trip will provide students with an on-site exploration of some of the very acts of civil disobedience that fueled tremendous social change.

GS502
Terror in the Name of God
2

This course will address the contemporary global resurgence of terror in the name of God. In classroom talks and discussions we will seek to identify, describe, and explore the potential for extremism within the different religious traditions. We will also examine the ways in which we might grapple with this phenomenon in order to see how religion is not only part of the problem of terrorism but is a key ingredient to its solution. Finally, we will seek to find answers to the following complex questions: Which destructive patterns of religious training, thinking, and rhetoric contribute to this global problem? How can spirituality in different religious traditions create new venues for dialogue in today’s terrorized world?

GS508
Service Learning: Not to Be Served
2
"First with the head, then with the heart." This Service Learning course combines rigorous academic classes with challenging community service on the basis that it is not until we are informed that we can be really useful. Classroom work will focus on issues such as poverty, public health, immigration, environment and education. Students will spend at least one session per week in the local community working with local partners, for example Children's Community School and the St John's Soup Kitchen. All students will complete regular written assignments as well as one major individual research paper.
GS517
Service Learning: Not to Be Served
1
"First with the head, then with the heart." This Service Learning course combines rigorous academic classes with challenging community service on the basis that it is not until we are informed that we can be really useful. Classroom work will focus on issues such as poverty, public health, immigration, environment and education. Students will spend at least one session per week in the local community working with local partners, for example Children's Community School and the St John's Soup Kitchen. All students will complete regular written assignments as well as one major individual research paper.
GS523
Philosophy: Searching for Truth
1

This course introduces students to the components of philosophy through readings from the history of philosophy (ancient, modern, and contemporary) combined with the examination of topics such as metaphysics, logic, ethics, existence of God, immortality, knowledge, the mind-body question, personal identity, free will and determinism, political philosophy, the meaning of life, abortion, capital punishment, animal rights, and affirmative action. The course exposes students to a range of ideas and readings representing a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

GS532
The Influence of Buddhism in the West
2
In this course students will explore why Buddhism has become so popular in the contemporary West. We will study Buddhism through the lives and teachings of the two most popular Buddhist teachers in the world today: the Dalai Lama (Tibet) and Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnam). Together we will seek to understand what Buddhists mean when they speak about enlightenment, nirvana, meditation, human suffering, compassion and wisdom. We will examine the practical value of Buddhism and how it has enriched the lives of Jews, Christians, agnostics and others in the modern West.
GS551
Understanding Islamic Faith and Practice
1

This course will examine the life of the prophet Muhammad, the fundamentals of the message of the Qur’an, and its relationship to Judaism and Christianity. We will learn about the differences between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims and study Sufism (Islamic mysticism) through the poetry of Rumi, Al-Ghazali and others. We will also explore Sharia Law, Jihad, Islamic fundamentalism, the role of women in Islam, and the future of Islam in the era of globalization and secularism.

GS561
Model UN for Upper Schoolers
1

This semester-long Model United Nations (MUN) course is designed to examine the primary functions of the United Nations and its diplomatic role with respect to political, economic and cultural concerns of the global community. Through research, discussion, negotiation and debate, students will develop plausible solutions to contemporary global problems. These issues include, but are not limited to, human rights, protection of the environment, economic development, disarmament, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the complexities surrounding war and peace. Most of the work that will be carried out in this course is in preparation for participation in a Model United Nations conference. (Students in the fall semester will attend the Harvard Model United Nations Conference held in February. If you enroll in this course in the fall, you will be expected to participate in preparatory meetings leading up to the Harvard Model UN conference during the Winter term.) Students in the second semester will attend the Cornell Model UN Conference held in April.

GS562
Model UN for Upper Schoolers
2

This semester-long Model United Nations (MUN) course is designed to examine the primary functions of the United Nations and its diplomatic role with respect to political, economic and cultural concerns of the global community. Through research, discussion, negotiation and debate, students will develop plausible solutions to contemporary global problems. These issues include, but are not limited to, human rights, protection of the environment, economic development, disarmament, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the complexities surrounding war and peace. Most of the work that will be carried out in this course is in preparation for participation in a Model United Nations conference. (Students in the fall semester will attend the Harvard Model United Nations Conference held in February. If you enroll in this course in the fall, you will be expected to participate in preparatory meetings leading up to the Harvard Model UN conference during the Winter term.) Students in the second semester will attend the Cornell Model UN Conference held in April.

GS570
Honors Model UN for Upper Schoolers
Y
Honors Model UN for Upper Schoolers is a year long course designed for experienced Model UN students. In order to enroll in the course you must have taken at least one semester of Model UN or its equivalent. Most of the work that will be carried out in this course is in preparation for participation in a conference/simulation (TBD) in the Fall term, the Harvard Model United Nations Conference (held January 29-February 2, 2015) and the Cornell Model UN Conference (held in April 2015). For scheduling purposes, this course will meet two evenings per week and not during the class day.
GS591
Independent Tutorial in Global Service and Scholarship
1
This is an opportunity for a student to work with a member of the Department on a project in which they share a common interest. Open to Seniors by permission of the Department Head and the Dean of Academic Affairs.
GS592
Independent Tutorial in Global Service and Scholarship
2
This is an opportunity for a student to work with a member of the Department on a project in which they share a common interest. Open to Seniors by permission of the Department Head and the Dean of Academic Affairs.
GS720
AP Human Geography
Y

Human Geography is an interdisciplinary field that combines geography with the subject matters of social science. It refers to the sub-fields of geography that deal with how human action changes or is influenced by the earth's surface. In AP Human Geography, we will study the world, its populace, various communities, cultures, and religions. This course combines the study of cultural and economic geography as it explores the multi-faceted relationship between people and their environment. For instance, we will study the earth’s physical features, such as topography, soil, and vegetation and examine in detail the ways in which they are affected by human activity. There are seven major fields of study in AP Human Geography that we will cover over the course of the year: geography, population, cultural patterns and processes, political organization of space, agricultural and rural land use, industrialization and economic development, and cities and urban land use. In this course we will learn the methods and tools that geographers use in their science and practice. Open to UMs, Seniors, and Mids (department approval required)


THE TAFT SCHOOL  | 110 Woodbury Road | Watertown, Connecticut 06795 | 860-945-7777 | Info@taftschool.org