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English Department News

This month in English classes, we have worked on many different forms of becoming proficient in English and learning how to be true global citizens.

This month in English classes, we have worked on many different forms of becoming proficient in English and learning how to be true global citizens. Years 6 - 9 have focused mainly on learning through novels but we have also had student presentations, learnt how to write letters and stories, become more fluent in vocabulary and even had classroom debates. Students have learnt how to find context clues in sentences and paragraphs and also are improving in their inferencing skills.

Some of our Year 8 students are currently in the middle of our novel unit. We are studying Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird—a classic American novel set in the 1930’s. This novel is set in the middle of the Great Depression and it explores the coming-of-age story of a girl named Scout. The novel deals with a lot of important issues like discrimination, racism, prejudice, and growing up. It is quite a challenging text but the students have been finding it quite rewarding. A very important theme is about ‘putting yourself in another person’s shoes’ and students have been exploring that in these first few weeks. There are research studies that show that reading literature increases your empathy as you are able to ‘live’ the lives of multiple individuals that come from very different walks of life. Our students are getting into the head of a girl that is growing up in the American South in the middle of an economic depression.

In Year 9, we are studying John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. This story follows two migrant workers in California in the middle of the Great Depression. A main theme of the novel involves the American Dream. Year 9 students are learning some historical contextual background whilst following the novel. We are working towards developing literary analysis paragraphs in preparation for IGCSE. A main component of the course is devoted towards writing and developing these skills.

Year 10 have written persuasive speeches which were of an extremely high standard, learnt about argumentation and many different types of literary devices and logical argumentation fallacies. They have also mastered how to write an article and are becoming more open - minded and love to challenge each other in class. I look forward to a successful remainder of the year with these bright and hardworking students. 

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In IGCSE literature, we are currently wrapping up our play by Lorraine Hansberry. A Raisin in the Sun is about a black family in Chicago living in the 1950’s and their dream to move to a better house. We are exploring issues of discrimination (especially housing), racism, identity, feminism, and others. We have been working on an essay exploring a character and their connection to a theme involving the American experience. We have also recently had a mock exam about the play. We are getting ready to explore some poetry and we will start Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when we come back from the October holiday. A big component of the course is to ensure that students hone their writing and are able to write concisely about literary texts.

In A-level literature, we are in the middle of reading Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. A bildungsroman (coming-of-age) novel following Amir who is a young narrator living Kabul, Afghanistan during the 1970’s. We are exploring the novel’s historical setting as well as delving deeply into the author’s craft. We have been looking at various literary lenses (ways of approaching literature) like psychoanalytical, feminist, postmodern, postcolonial and others. A-level literature involves the students doing extensive research in their own time and presenting the research in order to enrich our discussions during the class. Students come prepared to discuss the various ideas going on in the text and are expected to contribute to our discussions.

Last, but not least, thank you for reading!In the English department, we encourage students to become lifelong learners and readers. Reading for pleasure and reading widely is truly the best way to develop English skills, so we hope that our students are utilizing the library and exploring different worlds through their reading.