Philosophy: The English department believes that our students must be prepared to read comprehensively, think analytically, and write effectively by the time they finish St. Paul’s. Furthermore, the English faculty hopes to inculcate the enjoyment and appreciation of quality literature and the cultural heritage that binds the generations together.
The curriculum has been designed to challenge the most capable students and to nurture those who have difficulty with unfamiliar reading and writing tasks. We believe a variety of reading and writing experiences will engage students, broaden their horizons, and give them the tools necessary to succeed in higher education and in later life. We further believe that these educational experiences will enable them to become more effective communicators, more disciplined thinkers, and informed problem-solvers.
COURSES OF STUDY
This course is designed to develop the student’s interpretive understanding of literature and ability to write. Studies include an examination of short stories, poetry, and drama, including Julius Caesar and Antigone. A survey of classical mythology is included. Novels include The Old Man and the Sea, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Pearl. Writing assignments are integrated into each unit of study, with emphasis on content, organization, mechanics, and focus. Writing lessons are augmented by systematic vocabulary skills building. Technology is integrated into each unit of study. Major projects include analytical writing assignments and oral presentations focusing on, but not limited to, poetry and mythology. Student evaluation is based on major test scores, quiz grades, homework, oral presentations, writing assignments, journal entries, and memory work.
This course, a survey of world literature, emphasizes critical reading, the mechanics and correct usage involved in effective expository writing, and organization of ideas. Major works include The Merchant of Venice, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Count of Monte Cristo, Kafka’s novelette The Metamorphosis, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Inferno. The basic elements of research writing are introduced, especially the organizational component. Vocabulary is taught using in context through assigned readings. Evaluations are based on test results, quiz grades, essays, projects, homework, journal entries, and the research paper.
COMPOSITION 9; COMPOSITION 10
This course is designed for freshmen and sophomores who would likely benefit from additional writing instruction and practice beyond the requirements of their grade level English class. The course provides additional support for writing projects across the curriculum, especially in the required English and history classes. At ninth grade this course supports specifically the Heroes, Mythology and Poetry projects, among others. At tenth grade this course supports those assignments mutually agreed upon by the affected teachers. No additional homework is placed on the student as a result of enrollment in this course. Composition is available on a 1-year basis only. Selection is primarily by teacher recommendation, with consideration given for test scores and grades. Parents and students should indicate their desire to take or not take this course by signing the recommendation letter.
WRITING SEMINAR 11
Writing Seminar is a course designed for juniors who would benefit from additional writing instruction beyond their grade level English class and as a part of students’ college preparatory studies. The course combines a serious study of grammar, reading comprehension, and writing activities that are interesting, enriching, and encouraging. The goal is to make writing a positive experience. The types of writing include persuasive essays, informative essays, literary analysis, business letters, resume writing, basic research papers, ACT/ SAT grammar work and reading comprehension, as well as ACT/SAT writing activities. The course also emphasizes understanding of voice and tone in writing. The course content is adaptable, however, depending on the diagnosed needs of the students.
This course includes a survey of American literature, beginning with the works of the early settlers, their history and journals, and continuing through the late twentieth century authors. The course provides students with an understanding of the cultural heritage of the United States and focuses on the ability to read and write critically about the themes and values that reflect this heritage. The major text for this course is Holt’s Elements of Literature: Essentials of American Literature. Students also read selected American novels, including The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby.
AP ENGLISH 11
The AP course in Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and reading make students aware of the writer’s purpose, audience expectations, and subjects. Activities and assignments enhance the student’s understanding of how language resources contribute to effectiveness in writing. In addition to the predominance of non-fiction, four American novels are read during the year. Reading assignments also include American literary history and other selections from American authors. Evaluation is primarily on essays, but vocabulary work, group participation and engaging class activities are included in the course grade. All students are required to take the Advanced Placement exam, for which there is an additional fee.
This course challenges students to read comprehensively the major works from the British literary history, either wholly or in abridged form. The reading begins with the works of the Anglo-Saxon period and continues into the twentieth century, with major emphasis on Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Hamlet, Dr. Faustus, Lord of the Flies, and numerous essays, poems, and stories from the fifteen-hundred year history of that culture. Both literary and contextual vocabulary are taught. Writing is heavily emphasized through reaction papers, literary analysis, the college application essay, and research work. The main research project is an argument paper which allows students to refine research skills. Evaluations come primarily from unit tests and essays, but homework and quizzes count as well. The major text is Glencoe’s British Literature.
AP ENGLISH 12
The AP English Literature and Composition course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of imaginative literature. Through the close reading of selected texts, students deepen their understanding of the ways writers use language to provide both meaning and pleasure for their readers. As they read, students consider a work’s structure, style and themes, as well as such smaller-scale elements as the use of figurative language, imagery, symbolism and tone. Students may expect to read at least twelve major works-novels and plays-and a large body of poetry. All students enrolled in the Advanced Placement course will be required to take the Advanced Placement exam, for which there is an additional fee.
The speech course is designed to enhance students’ overall communication skills; specifically, speech delivery, critical thinking, writing, organizing and outlining. Outlines and speeches carry equal weight in evaluation. In addition to speechmaking, students will also study nonverbal communication, interview skills and debate. Speech students will discuss current events regularly. Speech is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.
Mass Communications communication students will explore the following areas of communication: advertising, public relations, sales, video and print journalism, publication design and public speaking. All student work in the course will be published or performed for a broad and public audience, affording students the opportunity to learn in a real-world setting. The advanced communication course is open to all juniors and seniors; there is no prerequisite. Students may take the course only once.