School News

Student looks at medieval book
Eagle Hill School

IB English Courses Visit the UMass Renaissance Center 

 Eagle Hill students get a hands-on lesson in book history.

Eagle Hill School is a proud authorized International Baccalaureate World School offering the IB Diploma Programme. The IB Diploma Programme immerses students in a comprehensive two-year personal growth journey and lays the foundation for a robust and enduring intellectual life. 

Recognized by universities the world over, the IB Diploma Programme prepares students for the rigors of higher learning. The IB language and literature courses offered at EHS aim to develop skills of textual analysis and the understanding that texts, both literary and non-literary, can relate to culturally determined reading practices. The courses also encourage students to question the meaning generated by language and texts. 

Before leaving for Thanksgiving break, the students enrolled in this Programme along with their teachers, went on an immersive field trip to Amherst, to see some of the texts they have been studying in person.  Mr. Hopper and Mr. Parson took the students to get a hands-on lesson in book history at University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies

The classes heard from Jeff Goodhind, the Center’s librarian, about the history of book printing, paper making, and textual circulation. Using the Center’s robust collection of early modern texts, including a printed copy of Euripides’ plays and a unique manuscript by a Spanish convent, students learned how to handle original sources for independent research. 

Finally, students gained a new perspective on the printing process when they operated the Center’s replica Renaissance hand press. One student reflected, “It’s amazing how each letter had to be placed by hand, backwards, to make words.” When it came time to leave, after roaming the stacks and blotting ink, several students commented on how easy it would be to spend hours getting lost in all the rare texts and artwork. 

While it remains to be seen if any budding medievalists or archivists found their calling, both classes departed with a newfound appreciation for photocopiers and desktop printers. 

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