New Program Workshop 10 Promotes Different Ways to Engage in the Classroom for Lowers

As per the alternate curriculum, students partipate in off-campus visits and learning opportunities.

Spring 2023 marks the inauguration of a new program for around 40 Lowers called Workshop 10, which combines English, History, and Philosophy and Religious Studies into one course. Taught during Periods three, four, and five by Alexandra Booth, Instructor in History and Social Science, Elena Dugan, Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Garrette Richie, Instructor in English, the new program involves exploring common themes and questions both on and off campus.

Booth spoke on the purpose of the Workshop and structure of the program, which fulfills the three diploma-requirement courses for Lowers. In particular, Booth highlighted how the program works on improving skills involving interdisciplinary aspects of the Humanities. 

“[Workshop 10] essentially creates an integrated humanities experience for all three sections of students. It’s a combination of discipline-specific intensives, experiential learning around field trips, and meeting with different sorts of writers and professionals in the fields. [Students] experience the many incredible resources that we have available on this campus, like the archives, the Addison [Gallery of American Art], and it’s been a really wonderful opportunity to see students grow in new and different ways, and bring all those skills and content areas together in a unique way before jumping into Upper year, which is notoriously challenging,” said Booth.

Booth continued by discussing the challenges of the course, as both students and teachers alike adjust to a new classroom structure and schedule, with each week being dedicated to an “intensive” in either History, English, or Rel-Phil culminating in a final long-term research paper.

“To an extent, this is teaching in a way I’ve never done before. I’m teaching and learning with the same group of students over the course of three periods. The history diploma requirement class that I have adapted to Workshop 10 is loosely based on the History 202 curriculum, looking at urban development in the modern period. We were able to secure the opportunity for a field trip to the Boston public library and their map collection there. Students had an opportunity to meet with the librarians and learn the history of these various maps in Boston, the implications of these specific maps regarding red-lining in Boston,” said Booth.

According to Booth, in contrast to the already existing Workshop 12 program, alternately known as The Workshop, Workshop 10 provides students with more structure. However, the two programs still share similar objectives for students. 

“Workshop 10 has a great deal more structure, again it is fulfilling the three diploma requirement classes for the students who are participating, and the structure and the rigor [have] to reflect that. With Workshop 12, students are in a very different space, in Senior Spring as opposed to Lower Spring. In Senior Spring, students are already kind of in this liminal space between their time at Andover and whatever comes next, and it’s a really exciting and ripe time to be exploring new and different ways to pursue your own learning interests. [And] we have that same goal with Workshop 10,” said Booth.

Similarly, Sophia Cratty ’25 commented on the opportunities Workshop 10 provides by letting students explore topics in further detail while also being very interactive. Cratty also spoke on how the program is led by forward-thinking and curiosity, letting students investigate topics that they’re interested into its fullest extent. 

“We’re going off of…curiosity [in Workshop 10]. Typically what Andover doesn’t let you do is to go into a topic as far as you really want to do because you have six courses and it’s constantly changing, constantly moving, [and] it’s all going really fast. Workshop 10’s intention is to really zoom in on one topic that you’re interested in, and really lets you get into that,” said Cratty.

Sage Preston ’25 highlighted how going on field trips and exploring the subjects she learns in class in the real world have been really fun and educational to go on. Preston also discussed why she chose to enroll in the program, speaking on how since this is a one-time-only opportunity at Andover she decided to give the program a try. 

“I like it a lot because of the field trips we do, ones like the museum trips we’ve gone on have been really, really engaging and very cool. They allow us to take pictures of art and artifacts and write about it in our weekly padlet journals that we have to do. I think I would recommend it because you’re going to take English, Rel-Phil, and History courses throughout your time at Andover, it’s not as if this is your one chance to do that stuff, so why not switch it up,” said Preston. 

Similarly, Ozochi Onunaku ’25 spoke on how despite the large workload, the program has been extremely beneficial in the ways it teaches students how to grow into better writers and thinkers. Onunaku also described how Workshop 10 also invites students to think about humanities subjects interdisciplinarily, and find connections between the subjects to better students’ understandings. 

“I feel like this is a really underrated opportunity to learn about humanities like Rel-Phil, History, English and then see how it could all be intertwined together, see how you can improve your writing skills across different fronts. History focuses on the analysis of secondary sources, Rel-Phil focuses on how to make clear arguments, how to make clear points, English focuses on linking, looking at the analysis of different creative writing texts. All of these could help you become a better writer, which I think is a very vital skill to being at Andover. I feel like even with a lot of workload, you shouldn’t be scared of entering the program,” said Onunaku.