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English Department 316
English Department
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ENGLISH CURRICULUM
 
The English curriculum at Richmond Hill High School is dedicated to developing the knowledge and skills upon which literacy is based – listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing and representing. From a broader perspective literacy is about social practices and relationships, about knowledge, language and culture. It is central to students' intellectual, social, cultural, and emotional growth and must be seen as a key component of the curriculum.
 
When students learn to use language, they do more than master the basic skills. They learn to value the power of language and to use it responsibly. They learn to express feelings and opinions and to support their opinions with sound arguments and evidence from research. They become aware of the many purposes for which language is used and the diverse forms it can take to serve particular purposes and audiences. They learn to use the formal language appropriate for debates and essays, the narrative language of stories and novels, the figurative language of poetry, the technical language of instructions and manuals. They develop an awareness of how language is used in different formal and informal situations. They come to understand that language is an important medium for communicating ideas and information, expressing world views, and realizing and communicating artistic vision. Students learn that language can be not only used as a tool but also appreciated and enjoyed.
 
Language is a fundamental element of identity and culture. As students read and reflect on a rich variety of literary, informational, and media texts, they develop a deeper understanding of themselves and others and of the world around them. If they see themselves and others in the texts they study, they will be more engaged in learning and they will also come to appreciate the nature and value of a diverse, multicultural society. They will develop the ability to understand and critically interpret a range of texts and to recognize that a text conveys one particular perspective among many.
 
The English curriculum is based on the belief that language learning is critical to responsible and productive citizenship, and that all students can become successful language learners. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills that they need to achieve this goal. It aims to help students become successful language learners who will:
 
• understand that language learning is a necessary, life-enhancing, reflective process;
• communicate – that is, read, listen, view, speak, write, and represent – effectively and with confidence;
• make meaningful connections between themselves, what they encounter in texts, and the world around them;
• think critically;
• understand that all texts advance a particular point of view that must be recognized, questioned, assessed, and evaluated;
• appreciate the cultural impact and aesthetic power of texts;
• use language to interact and connect with individuals and communities, for personal growth, and for active participation as world citizens.
 
The English curriculum takes into account that students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and that every student has a unique set of perspectives, strengths, and needs. Instructional strategies and resources that recognize and reflect the diversity in the classroom and that suit individual strengths and needs are therefore critical to student success. Our reading activities expose students to materials that reflect the diversity of Canadian and world cultures, including those of Aboriginal peoples. Students also need to become familiar with the works of recognized writers from their own and earlier eras. By reading a wide range of materials and being challenged by what they read, students become receptive to new and widely varying ideas and perspectives, and develop their ability to think independently and critically.
 
The English curriculum focuses on comprehension strategies for listening, viewing, and reading; on the most effective reading and writing processes; on skills and techniques for effective oral and written communication and for the creation of effective media texts; and on the language conventions needed for clear and coherent communication. In addition, it emphasizes the use of higher-level thinking skills, including critical literacy skills, to enable students to understand, appreciate, and evaluate what they read and view at a deeper level, and to help them become reflective, critical, and independent learners.
 
In implementing this curriculum, our teachers help students to see that language skills are lifelong learning skills that will enable them to better understand themselves and others, unlock their potential as human beings, find fulfilling careers, and become responsible world citizens.
The English program in Grades 9 to 12 includes compulsory courses and optional courses which are offered in several different academic pathways. All of our course offerings can be viewed on our English courses webpage.
 
•        University preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for university programs.
•        University/college preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the entrance requirements for specific programs offered at universities and colleges.
•        College preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the requirements for entrance to most college programs or for admission to specific apprenticeship or other training programs.
•        Workplace preparation courses are designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to meet the expectations of employers, if they plan to enter the workplace directly after graduation, or the requirements for admission to many apprenticeship or other training programs.
•        Open courses are designed to broaden students' knowledge and skills in subjects that reflect their interests and to prepare them for active and rewarding participation in society. They are not designed with the specific requirements of universities, colleges, or the workplace in mind.
•        Academic courses develop students' knowledge and skills through the study of theory and abstract problems. These courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject and explore related concepts as well. They incorporate practical applications as appropriate.
•        Applied courses focus on the essential concepts of a subject, and develop students' knowledge and skills through practical applications and concrete examples. Familiar situations are used to illustrate ideas, and students are given more opportunities to experience hands-on applications of the concepts and theories they study.
 
 
RHHS English Department Staff
 
Mr. Pomakov     Department Head                       Mr. Fagan
Mr. Cimetta        Assistant Head                            Mr. John
Ms. MacKay                                                              Mr. Kenny
Ms. Kertesz                                                               Ms. Mashin
Mr. Cheng                                                                 Mr. Mitchell
Ms. Kim                                                                     Ms. Pugliese
Ms. Garzon                                                               
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