Books help us understand who we are.
Learning begins with the self; as a department, we seek first to know our students as people and to help them find confidence and trust in the classroom and beyond. Books call us all to examine our own hearts and minds, and to empathize deeply with the hearts and minds of others; we offer a widely diverse set of texts designed to reflect the backgrounds and experiences of our own school community and of the nation and globe beyond. Reading serves as our foundation: Our English scholars immerse in these stories, which emerge from across time and from a multitude of genres, making connections to their own lives and communities. Around the Harkness table, students lead the way as they delve into the abundant subjects at hand: literature and life itself. They share and listen with intention, developing their capacity to explore, interrogate, and interpret language and key messages—and in the process, learning how to incorporate these skills independently, too. Voice acts as the centerpiece of the program; students participate daily in discussions, deliver more formal presentations and speeches, and are encouraged to audition for public-speaking contests. Writing—from analytical to narrative nonfiction to fiction and poetry and more—caps the English experience as students integrate their ideas and interpretations in order to express their points of view, ever growing in their abilities to compose sophisticated, original, and accomplished pieces.
Middle School English: Forms l-III
The emphasis lies in the development of orderly, concise expository writing and informed reading. The reading in the lower forms is chosen to balance contemporary with traditional reading selections and to promote an introduction to each of the principal literary genres.
Given in conjunction with the reading, the writing assignments are frequent and emphasize conventional English usage. Additionally, students are introduced to the skills necessary for the acquisition of a larger active vocabulary: efficient use of the dictionary, recognition of context clues, familiarity with common Latin and Greek roots and affixes, and the methodical study of new words drawn from both vocabulary resources and the course texts.