Coordinator Reflections: Christine Southmayd
Coming Information Sessions
The sessions are about an hour each and are held in the Reflections teaching space: Room 5E.15 (5th floor, E wing).
We interview prospective students in October-November and February-March of each year (for the next academic year), so please call Christine Southmayd at 514-931-8731 extension 1504 for more information about the program and to find out about the next information session. Students are accepted into Reflections when they sit down with us and hear about the courses we offer and decide that they are interested. We attract gifted students, but also students with a wide range of academic ability; the common denominator among them is motivation and interest in what we're studying. Attending an information session is the only way to gain admission to Reflections.
We offer challenging double-credit seminars in English, Humanities, and History to students in any program, but particularly Science, Social Science—the General Profile, and Creative Arts—Literature and Arts and Culture Profiles as well as Commerce. Call us for more information on how Reflections could fit into your Dawson program.
We offer 4 fall and winter seminars, for each of which students receive 2 college credits. Typically, a student chooses 2 of the 5. In all our courses, our emphasis is on close reading of challenging primary texts ("great books") with a lot of emphasis on discussion (teacher-led, of course), oral presentation and written work. Our graduates come back from university and tell us that they were well prepared for university study because they came out of Reflections knowing how to read difficult things on their own critically and well, how to process and analyse texts and information, how to speak in class and in presentations, and how to write effective critical essays. Our courses prepare students for future study in all Social Science and Arts disciplines; we've had students go into university programs ranging from literature, history, classics, art history, liberal arts, communications and film studies, psychology, anthropology, to dance and the performing arts. Students in the sciences and other disciplines graduate with a deeper grounding in culture and ideas. We currently have students studying at McGill, Concordia, Fordham, York, Cooper-Union, Columbia, and Stanford, amongst other universities.
Here's what our program looks like:
|Monday:||Intro to Western Civilization||History|
|Wednesday:||Interdisciplinary Seminar||Interdisciplinary Seminar|
|Thursday:||Intro to College English||Shakespeare OR The Novel|
|Friday:||Ancient Greece||Athens and Rome|
The History component begins with a fall seminar that examines Western Civilization, which gives students a background to understand the course of historical development. In the winter, we continue with the study of a special topic in history that will vary from year to year. Students develop their critical skills at an advanced level as they learn to place ideas in their historical and cultural context.
In the fall English course, we survey the genres of fiction, poetry, and drama. We focus on critical reading and writing skills in response to literature (and skills of writing a good critical essay that are transferable to other disciplines, too), while reading Cervantes’s Don Quixote, surveying English language poetry since 1600 through selected major authors and major themes, and introducing drama through a study of one ancient tragedy and one modern tragicomedy: Oedipus Rex and Waiting for Godot.
In the winter, two different English seminars are offered in succession: Shakespeare and The Novel. In the Shakespeare course, plays studied include Henry IV, Part 1; As You Like It; Twelfth Night; Othello; King Lear; and The Winter’s Tale. In the Novel course, works read include Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, and Anna Karenina.
The two Humanities seminars focus on texts from the Ancient World. In the fall, we read The Odyssey and The Bacchae, along with excerpts from the writings of Plato and Aristotle, while also introducing students to Greek art, science, and architecture.
In the winter, we read texts such as The Oresteia, and The Aeneid while also studying the history, philosophy, art and architecture of Athens and Rome.
In the fall and winter Interdisciplinary Seminars, a single theme is explored by each of the teachers in an exciting team-taught course. In the past, themes have included Desire; Life Journeys; Digging up the Truth; Myth, Epic, and Fairy; Power; Happiness; and War and Peace. Again, through this seminar we explore more great works, but this time with a thematic focus and with the opportunity for students to engage in reflection comparing the perspectives of the different disciplines. Over four consecutive semesters, four different themes are explored.
In short, Reflections is a small-"l" liberal arts profile for students interested in challenging courses and in studying side by side with other motivated students. If it sounds like something that could be for you, please call us at extension 1504.