AP Comparative Government & Politics

Sunday, April 18, 2021 - By: Damien B, Privett ‘21

Brentwood offers a wide variety of engaging academics courses and encourages students to explore more complex subjects through the Advanced Placement (AP) program. One of the many courses that allow more high-level topics to be explored is Comparative Government & Politics.

Led by Ms Sharon Hall, or Madame Hall as she is known to her French students, the course provides an in-depth understanding of various complex governments. Focusing on aspects of politics ranging from electoral systems to government institutions, AP Comp Gov allows students to thoroughly study the intricate and influential governments of six countries. The “AP Six” are Russia, Iran, Mexico, China, the UK, and Nigeria, although the class often considers other countries, such as Canada, when comparing political systems.

It is common for the class to drift off topic as Ms Hall encourages innovative questions and discussions, and unanswered questions become the subject of impressive debate. After all, many of the students in the course are also in the Debate program. Recently, for example, some students found themselves conflicted when considering what kind of response to the COVID pandemic and vaccinations has resulted in the best outcome.

Ms Hall has been a pillar of education for our class and has provided the opportunity for her students to insightfully develop opinions and learn more about the infinitely different ways that a government can involve itself with its citizens. She even Zoomed in her daughter, Brentwood alumna Caitlin W, currently pursuing a career in politics and international policy, to speak to us about globalization and the influence this phenomenon has on politics. Kameel A, Privett ‘23 said after that class ended: “I think that was one of the best Zoom calls I’ve been a part of. She explained stuff really well.” I agree.

I was talking about the course with Aiden F, Whittall ‘22 and I recommended that he take it next year. He told me “It really does look like an interesting course - like you guys talk about some really interesting stuff” and I would absolutely recommend that anyone who has any interest in government consider taking this course.

Damien B, Privett ‘21

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