We want to cultivate an appetite for reading, and to make the discovery — of genres, writers, themes, and characters — a source of inspiration and excitement.
The principal goals of the English Department are to teach reading and writing in the various forms in which they appear, and to foster interest in and appreciation for the written word. We encourage students to participate in class discussion and to arrive at ideas independently, to evaluate them thoughtfully, and to share them with their peers with confidence. Classes favor a student-centered approach in which speaking and listening skills can be developed. In teaching reading we supply the tools and require their use, but believe that a student should approach a text on his or her own terms, for comprehension, analysis, and synthesis. Mostly we want to cultivate an appetite for reading, and to make the discovery – of genres, writers, themes, and characters – a source of inspiration and excitement. In choosing texts we recognize our pluralistic society and increasingly international environment.
In teaching writing we encourage students to write for real audiences, about real subjects, and to develop, recognize, and nurture their own voices. Students learn to write through practice – drafting, revising, and proofreading – and by talking about their work with teachers and sharing it with peers. Grammar and usage as well as vocabulary are taught functionally, in context, with occasional formal instruction. Students have an opportunity for additional challenges in Advanced Placement English or in independent projects.