English Department

Classical literature boring? Impossible! During your freshman, sophomore, and junior years at St. Thomas, you will study the literature produced by the cultures and civilizations you are studying in history.

Our curriculum alignment between the World Literature and World History courses allows students to see the connections between literature and history. After all, it was only after Heinrich Schliemann, the 19th century German archaeologist, decided to prove once and for all that The Iliad was not just a wonderful story, that the historical site was uncovered.

Whether written or spoken, the ability to communicate clearly, coherently, and concisely is of the utmost importance. In this information age, the ability to find, to evaluate, and to assemble information in a new way is a survival skill. The research you do for English allows you to practice "sifting through the rocks to find the gems."

We support the efforts of other departments to develop and maintain high standards for our written and spoken language. The English department seeks to provide students with the confidence they need to enter a world where the ability to communicate clearly and effectively will be the key to success.

ENGLISH COURSES

ENGLISH 9 and ENGLISH I

Students in English I develop critical thinking skills through reading and expository writing based on world literature. The literary survey is coordinated with the students' study of ancient through medieval civilizations in history. Students review basic sentence structure, standard usage and punctuation as well as organizational strategies for essays. Students improve vocabulary through reading and study of supplemental materials. English I students learn to discern and document credible sources used in researching topics related to the study of literature and its context.

ADVANCED ENGLISH I

Students in Advanced English I develop critical thinking skills through reading and expository writing based on world literature. Though somewhat broader and deeper than English I, the literary survey is coordinated with the students' study of ancient through medieval civilizations in history. Students review basic sentence structure, standard usage and punctuation, as well as effective organization and rhetorical strategies for essays. Students improve vocabulary through reading and study of supplemental materials. Advanced English I students learn to discern and correctly document credible sources used in researching topics related to the study of literature and its context. A significant difference for Advanced English I students is the expectation that they will display intellectual curiosity beyond that of the regular student.

ENGLISH II

Students in English II continue to develop skill in critical analysis, both in reading and writing through the study of world literature from the Renaissance to the present. English II emphasizes clear, coherent writing as a response to the literature. Coordination with World History continues and we introduce the research process with regard to particular authors, analysis of their work, and review of scholarly literary analysis. Students concentrate on those elements of grammar which will improve their writing and prepare them for college entrance exams. Students continue to supplement vocabulary in the literature with a vocabulary program.

ADVANCED ENGLISH II

Students in Advanced English II continue to develop skill begun in Advanced English I in critical analysis, both in reading and writing through the study of world literature from the Renaissance to the present. Study of the development of literature as a reflection of and response to historical, political, and social events continues in tandem with the World History class. Students learn formal research methods and procedures. Grammar study focuses primarily on sentence analysis for improvement through modification, coordination, and subordination. Vocabulary study in literature is supplemented for SAT preparation. Pre-requisite: 93 in English I or 82 in Advanced English I & recommendation.

ENGLISH III

Students in English III survey American literature from colonial times to the present, placing emphasis on textual analysis and critical response to literature. Clear, coherent essays based on detectable principles of organization and standard objective diction form the basis for the English III writing program. Actively engaging the ideas in a text through discussion and presentation promote mastery learning in English III. Coordination with American history emphasizes the importance of literature as primary source for historical interpretation. Vocabulary, grammar, and usage study build skill for college entrance exam preparation.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH III LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION

Students in this course focus primarily on developing well organized, clear, coherent, analytical, and persuasive essays in response to their survey of American literature from colonial times to the present. Students will present their analyses of prose and poetry in writing as well as orally. Coordination with American history emphasizes the importance of literature as a primary source for historical interpretation. Special emphasis on the analysis of exemplary nonfiction and identifying and using rhetorical strategies in their writing helps prepare students for the Advanced Placement Exam in the spring. Credit for passing scores on the exam is awarded in the form of credit hours at most universities in the U.S. Pre-requisite: 86 in Adv. English II or 93 in English II and recommendation.

ENGLISH IV

Students in English IV survey British literature, from 9th century poetry to the 20th century drama. Strengthening essay writing ability and critical reading and thinking skills as a preparation for university level work is of paramount importance. Emphasis on logical, well-reasoned, and carefully supported theses, arising from the reading, provides opportunity for polished written and oral presentation.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT ENGLISH IV LITERATURE AND COMPOSITION

AP Literature is designed to satisfy requirements of a survey of British literature course at the university level and to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Exam in the spring. In order to develop analytical skills, students read widely from prose, poetry, drama, and nonfiction literature. They are expected to write cogently about the literature they study. The primary goal of the course is to prepare students to write for the Advanced Placement Examination in May. Credit for passing scores on the exam is awarded in the form of credit hours at most universities in the U.S. Pre-requisite: 93 in English III or 86 in A.P. English III and recommendation.

JOURNALISTIC WRITING

Students in Journalistic Writing review the history of American journalism that focuses on how that history affected journalistic style, and will direct student writing to the style used in publishing today. Students will learn to write in the following genres: news writing, feature writing (including magazine-style feature writing), editorial writing, column writing, review writing, and sports writing. Those students who become proficient at these styles may contribute their course work to any student publication, including the web site, as well as off-campus publications. (One semester)

CREATIVE WRITING

Creative writing allows students opportunities to write in a variety of genre including short fiction, poetry, the memoir, nonfiction essay, and children's literature. Much of the work is accomplished during the class in the computer lab followed by peer editing workshops. Emphasis includes improving students' mastery of language and grammar through revision as part of the creative process. Students build a portfolio of work and are required to submit work for publication in the literary magazine. Students are also strongly encouraged to enter writing contests both locally and nationally. (One semester)

CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH AND WRITING

Contemporary Research and Writing encourages students to develop the skills necessary for writing persuasive and informative essays. This rigorous composition course asks students to skillfully research a variety of topics and present that information in technically accurate and stylistically advanced writing. All students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the recursive nature of the writing process, effectively applying the conventions of usage and the mechanics of written English. The student's evaluation of his own writing as well as the writing of others insures that students completing this course are able to analyze and discuss published and unpublished pieces of writing, develop and apply criteria for effective writing, and set their own goals as writers. (One semester)

PUBLICATIONS

Publications is an elective course which provides the student with an in-depth study and hands-on experience in the complete process of producing and publishing the school yearbook, newspaper, and literary magazine. Each student will have the opportunity to work in all areas of production, including photography, layout and design, copy writing, and advertising. Pre-requisite: Excellent writing skills and recommendation from instructor and English teacher. This course fulfills a technology elective credit.

SPEECH

This course is an introduction to public speaking. Students learn how to prepare and how to deliver speeches for a variety of public speaking situations including making formal introductions, persuading an audience based on information gained through research, and demonstrating a process. Students also learn the basics of debating a topic effectively. (One semester)

FORENSICS I

Forensics I is a full-year course designed primarily for students interested in competitive speech activities. Lincoln-Douglas, Policy and Parliamentary debate formats, as well as extemporaneous speaking, are studied. Research methods and persuasive writing are also covered. The course requirements include assistance with the Junior High School Speech Tournament. This course fulfills the Speech requirement.

FORENSICS II

Forensics II is designed for the experienced speech and debate student. The course will stress expert knowledge and practice in Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Policy and Student Congress debate events. Forensics II will include analysis of current controversial issues, methods and materials of research, evidence, applied logic and reasoning, construction of debate cases and audience analysis. Pre-requisite: Forensics I and recommendation.

On Campus

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