Black and white photo of a lensatic compass with the arrow pointing north-by-northwest.
Image by Mario Aranda from Pixabay

Languages and Leadership

Learning to Appreciate Community, Society, and International Culture

Navigating the World

Our world is increasingly flat.  From climate change to the latest TikTok craze, we are interconnected across countries and continents.

In some ways, our students have spent their whole lives preparing for the future — social media and 24-7 news have fed our students a continual stream of information.  Placing this information into context, however, is challenging.  In the Languages and Leadership courses, students will go in-depth into understanding foreign cultures while working together to enact local change.  These concepts are already core to YouthBuild's culture — from community service to refurbishing homes, we are committed to making a positive impact.  For me, building these concepts into the English curriculum helps show students the importance of literacy and communication as they make a difference.

Courses Under Development

Line of Egyptian pyramids of Giza with backdrop of sunrise and clouds.

This series of independent study courses allows students to explore topics of interest related to past and present.

Fostering leadership is one of the most difficult teaching tasks.  Like writing, leadership can be taught, but to truly learn the lessons of communication and collaboration, students must apply the lessons through direct application.

In this course, students will work together to represent their peers and communicate community needs to the YBMC staff.

Future Planned Courses

"Two men sitting after liberation from Lager-Norhausen Death Camp."  Source: National Archives, NAID: 196311 

The history of the Holocaust is essential for understanding the dangers of hatred and antisemitism that continue into the modern day.  In this course, students will study the events and consequences of the Nazi atrocities from their origins in European antisemitism to the legacies beyond the Second World War.

Anne Frank passport photo, circa 1942.  Photographer unknown, image currently in public domain.  Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The narratives of witnesses and survivors help us realize that the Holocaust wasn't simply a historical event, but a social crime that ended the lives of families and individuals.  Literature offers a window into seeing these events from the perspectives of those who experienced them firsthand.  Through this course, students will come to see the role of personal narratives in helping us understand the past and its relationship to the present.

Courses in Related Areas

Photo of German flag against background of a blue sky.

To prepare for future foreign language requirements in the state of Illinois, we've begun piloting a German course that will provide points toward English credit.  Although the course is still under development, this offers our students exposure to a new language and culture.  Additionally, the similarities between English and German allow for more in-depth discussions about the evolution of grammar and syntax in the English language.

Hexagonal outlines of chemical formulas on blue background.

In these workshops, students will use the history and concepts of chemistry to learn more about science, writing, and social studies.