Academics
Upper School
Departments

English

Developing Critical Thinking and a Lifelong Love of Reading

The abilities to read critically, to interpret figures of speech and characters’ motivations, to analyze narrative and poetic structures, to speak with conviction, to listen with empathy, and to write clearly and confidently are not only crucial to literature studies but also are invaluable skills for understanding this ever-changing global community. Our English program is skill based but also fosters a lifelong love of reading whose foundation is an investigative, curious spirit and a desire at every turn to respond with the student’s own observations, beliefs, and analysis. SCH students graduate with the critical-thinking tools, the writing abilities, and the questing spirit that will make them confident to face whatever the world places in their paths.

The Upper School English program strives to cultivate a lifelong passion for reading and writing and promote student discovery and engagement. We help students read, think, write, and speak with clarity and conviction. Students identify questions, develop and share interpretations, wrestle with complex ideas, and build persuasive arguments. We employ the Harkness classroom discussion model and teach careful listening and effective speaking. Our program threads creative writing, new media, and performance through a literature-based curriculum. The 9th and 10th grade English program is a two-year, skill-based course of study. We teach students to read critically, interpret creatively, and respond analytically to diverse global texts such as The Bean Trees, Fahrenheit 451, Antigone, Persepolis, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and Macbeth. In 11th grade, students learn how to read literary works with greater accuracy and interpretive skill and to write analytically with more polish, persuasiveness, and coherence. We read novels, short stories, poetry, essays, and plays that explore the American Dream and invention of the self. Texts include Into The Wild, The Great Gatsby, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Things They Carried. In 12th grade, students choose from a variety of rich thematic and interdisciplinary English electives that reflect contemporary college course offerings. When our students sit on stage at graduation, they are ready to read an anthropology textbook, write a first novel, or win a debate.

Faculty and Courses



The Upper School English program strives to cultivate a lifelong passion for reading and writing and promote student discovery and engagement.