In the English Department, we aim to instil in students a love of both Literature and Language. Our students are introduced to Literature in all its forms and from around the world. We study Poetry, Drama, Prose, Short Stories and Non-Fiction texts, giving students the opportunity to understand and enjoy the ways in which writers create their works, as well as learning how to analyse and evaluate language and meaning. We give our students the opportunity to explore how language is used for a variety of purposes: to inform, persuade, instruct and entertain. Students are also given a range of tasks to explore and develop their own linguistic styles and skills.
In Grade 7 and 8 we introduce students to a range of literary and linguistic genres and text types. Students of both years study Poetry that will allow them to engage with different cultural experiences. They also study a Media unit that introduces them to the world of mass communication. Appreciation of the Novel is a primary focus, as is the study of extracts from the plays of William Shakespeare.
The skills developed lead to the Cambridge IGCSE English Language and English Literature curriculum in Grade 9 and 10. Students are awarded two grades: one for Literature and one for Language. On the Literature course, students explore a poetry anthology, short stories and a drama text.
Through the study of these texts, students develop their analytical skills and their ability to respond personally to Literature. On the Language course, students practice key literacy skills, including reading for meaning, summarising, identifying writer’s effects, and writing texts of different genres.
The culmination of the English programme is the study of the IB Diploma in Grades 11 and 12, where native speakers of English choose a Language ‘A’ course in either English Literature, or English Language and Literature. Both Higher and Standard levels are offered. As well as the Language ‘A’ option, there is a Language ‘B’ alternative which is designed specifically for students for whom English is a second language. This curriculum is also available for study at both Higher and Standard levels.
Our Approach to Learning
In Grade 7 and 8, we focus on skill-building, including study skills, in order to equip students with the tools needed to be successful in the examined courses. Across all grades, close reading, analysis and evaluation are embedded into the teaching of each unit.
Drafting, editing and proofreading are instilled as part of the writing process. Our students are encouraged to read widely in order to develop the skill of reading for understanding and to develop their appreciation of language and its ability to convey a range of meanings. Speaking and listening activities are an integral part of the teaching, including discussion work, debates and presentation.
At IGCSE level, one of the key focuses is the argument. Students learn to evaluate arguments and support their points convincingly through both spoken and written activities. Real-world implications are also considered through the study of contemporary articles and relevant global issues.
Students work in pairs, groups and individually as part of a process which will develop deeper levels of insight while encouraging collaboration as well as independent thought. We also teach research skills throughout the Grades, culminating in students’ ability to produce independent coursework in Grade 11 and 12.
At IB Level students are exposed to a wide range of authentic materials, literary and non -literary. These materials may be expressed in oral, written, printed or electronic formats. Students are expected to ask questions about the target language, with a focus again on links to global issues. There is a strong element of close reading as students develop the skills of textual analysis and the ability to use critical vocabulary.
Grade 7 classes study a novel based on a dystopian future, The Giver, by Lois Lowry. As part of their study, they create a perfect society and produce presentations and videos to promote their society. In ‘The Hawker Heritage’, a Project-Based Learning Unit, English teams up with History, and we send the students to study different aspects of Singaporean heritage in the hawker centres.
They learn how to speak and write persuasively, then learn about and design their own infographics, leaflets or public service announcements, using the persuasive techniques learnt to educate their audience about the great worth of protecting a part of Singaporean culture.
These examples show how the students are engaged, in different ways, leading to a greater understanding of the issues raised by the curriculum: Grade 7: The Hawker Heritage Infographic