Learn about some of philosophy’s most challenging questions as we watch The Good Place.
|Age Range||11-13 (see Details)|
|Class Type||Live (Weekly Meetings)|
|Start / End Dates||Season 1- January 24-March 7, 2022|
|Season 3- March 21-May 2, 2022|
|Class Size||3-8 Learners|
|Enrollment||$60 per Season|
What does it mean to be a good friend? Is it ever okay to tell a lie? How do you make a decision? What makes someone a good person?
Exploring ethical philosophy is an age-old tradition that has left us with a lot of questions and not a lot of consensus on the answers.
The Good Place takes all of these questions and wraps them up in a hilarious and heartwarming sitcom.
In this class, we’ll watch The Good Place and use it as a way to dive deeper into philosophy.
Whether you are a fan of The Good Place or have never seen it before, this class is set up to be enjoyable and informational for all.
One Class per Season
In four separate 7-week classes, we will watch each season of The Good Place and explore its philosophical and ethical themes.
Weekly Live Meetings
Each week, we will have a live discussion over the previous week’s episodes.
Student-Driven Final Project
The final two class periods will be reserved for final projects. Learners will be invited to create 10-minute presentations in any format they’d like (audio, video, visual, etc.) and discuss one of the philosophical topics from the class in more detail.
The live class meets for 45 minutes each week. Learners can expect to spend 1-2 hours per week watching the show and taking notes. Final project prep times can vary widely based on learner interest.
Viewing Guides for Each Week
We watch 2-4 episodes per week with a viewing guide for each week’s set.
January 24-March 7, 2022 with live meetings on Mondays from 3-3:45pm Eastern/2-2:45pm Central/1-1:45pm Mountain/12-12:45pm Pacific)
September March 21-May 2, 2022 with live meetings on Mondays from 3-3:45pm Eastern/2-2:45pm Central/1-1:45pm Mountain/12-12:45pm Pacific)
Ability to participate maturely in an online classroom where disagreements may happen.
This is class is very discussion-heavy and will provide learners with lots of opportunities to build the following skills:
- Familiarity with philosophical ideas and questions
- Analysis of film including visuals, dialogue, and character development
- Presentation skills
- Debate and perspective-taking skills
Common Core Standards Alignment
For those who are using Common Core standards, this course meets the following:
(From Common Core ELA Standards)
Upon successful completion of class, instructor provides detailed exit letter suitable for inclusion in portfolio. Students are able to opt in to detailed feedback on the final project if they want formal assessment.
Students have full choice over what kind of final presentation they create, which allows them to pick requirements appropriate for their experience level and time availability.
Families and learners are welcome to share any information about their individual learning preferences and needs and instructor will make accommodations that are helpful to the class.
The Good Place is a network TV show, so it meets those standards for content. There is reference to sex, masturbation, alcohol, drugs, crime, and implied profanity.
I have previously taught this class with teens, but I have watched it with my own child since the age of 9, and many families with tweens have expressed interest in joining. You can check out the Common Sense Media guide for the show to help make your judgment on its appropriateness for your family.
The philosophical questions we discuss in class will include conversations about criminal action including violent acts and murder. These are typically general and avoid descriptive detail, but this is a discussion group with student-led input, so I cannot fully predict topics that will be discussed. I will steer conversations toward age-appropriate content.
The Good Place does mention religion. In particular, the show — which takes place in a “heaven”-like setting — says that all religions got a tiny bit of the real afterlife right. I do not plan questions specifically about religion, but sometimes students do bring up that reference in discussion. At no point is any religious belief stated as fact, and no religion is privileged over another. The show does not show a supreme being, but it is set in the afterlife and shows some characters who have power (in a bureaucratic hierarchy) over different realms of that afterlife.
Texts: Access to Seasons 1-4 of The Good Place (streaming on Netflix and available for rent at many libraries and streaming services)
To interact in class: Zoom, Discord, computer with internet access, microphone (strongly recommended), camera (recommended)
For project: Tools (of learner’s choice) to create final project (such as PowerPoint, Google Slides, YouTube, etc.)
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason
Dr. Michelle Parrinello-Cason has a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on rhetoric and composition. She has more than a decade of teaching experience including six years of full-time college experience
My Zoom-averse daughter looked forward to the weekly online meetings. Michelle does such a wonderful job at speaking with young people and guiding discussions. My daughter was motivated to work hard on her assignments and has asked to take another class from Michelle.
E.F.P.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciated your enthusiasm, support, and kind words in your video feedback messages to him. That goes a long way! [Learner] is going to a brick and mortar school next year for the first time since fourth grade. We submitted the two papers he wrote in your class to the high school he applied to go to next year, and they recommended he start in Advanced English! Woohoo!
Jill G.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
The video lectures were clear and packed full of helpful and important writing lessons. The video and written feedback was clearly personalized, very detailed, and extremely beneficial for my learner. Michelle truly demonstrates compassion and expertise in her classes!
Kristi R.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I only wish we had found Michelle sooner! I’ve been homeschooling my son off and on for years. Writing is very challenging for him and it is so difficult to take feedback from a parent. I have begged so many of his teachers to please offer direct, concise, written feedback and give him the opportunity to revise. I knew this would be the only way he could improve. This class was everything I’ve been asking for for years…..except I didn’t have to ask! It is designed this way and it worked brilliantly! My son gets to attend an adventure school in the fall, but if we homeschool the following year, the first thing I will do is sign him up for whatever Michelle is teaching.
E.F.P.Teacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I really appreciate how organized the class was, how clear the expectations and guidelines were and how professional and encouraging the feedback delivery was.
DarceyTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I just want to take a few minutes to send a huge thank you for the way you deliver (have delivered) feedback to [Learner]. He tends to put a lot of pressure on himself and doesn’t often take feedback or constructive criticism well. You have managed to give him a boost of confidence and an opportunity to look inward to appreciate feedback from others. I’m so glad we found you! This experience is exactly what I hoped for in our homeschooling journey!
KarenTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
He was so invigorated and excited after today’s meeting. It awakens something in him he craves and can only get from discussions like the one today.
Bevin EarlyTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
I especially enjoyed the final project for this class, which was something I had never tried before, using creative writing as a way to debate philosophy and contrasting view points. It was quite a bit challenging, ultimately leaving me satisfied with the ending result.
AnonymousTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
For us, this is “authentic learning.” We discussed how community college classes and other virtual online high school classes might be accredited and “weigh” a lot in terms of grades and credits, but SEA is where her mind and creativity are challenged and inspired. I’d like to emphasize the part about creativity. She felt invited to engage creatively. SEA classes are where the love of learning happens.
AnonymousTeacher: Michelle Parrinello-Cason
It’s great to see thought-provoking books chosen and to have my son experience such an inclusive environment.