The English Department's curriculum aims to provide students with experiences that promote thoughtful, fluent, and responsible use of language. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening compose the processes, while language and literature constitute the content of all required courses in English. These processes and content are taught in an integrated manner at all grade levels. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are basic skills with which students learn to construct meaning, compose, and evaluate.
When constructing meaning, the learner is required to acquire information, organize ideas, appreciate the art of literature, and integrate new learning with previous knowledge. When composing, the learner generates new ideas, then reviews, makes adjustments, revises, and considers changes based on established criteria. When evaluating, the learner develops an understanding of the purposefulness underlying the intent of a piece of communication while also developing criteria for judging the effectiveness of the communication.
In the English classroom, students work with a variety of materials in both print and non-print form. Ninth and tenth grade students draw upon a breadth of world literature, while grade eleven and twelve students focus primarily on American and British literature respectively. Students use texts that range from classic to contemporary, and include multicultural literature as well as material obtained from on-line sources and computer software.
The required English program is scheduled around three different ability groupings: Gifted and Talented, Honors, and Standard. Students with special needs are mainstreamed through "inclusion" classes wherein a special educator teams with the lead teacher to implement the instructional program.
In addition to the required curriculum, the English Department also offers a wide range of electives designed to respond to both students' needs and interests. Creative Writing encourages students to explore a variety of literary forms and to produce pieces that are both personally satisfying as well as suitable for both competition and publication. An SAT Prep class is available for those who wish to enhance their verbal test-taking skills. Theatre Arts I and II offer students opportunities to perform on stage and to help create characters through costume and makeup. In Speech, students learn the importance of having a sense of purpose, planning content and style, and effectively using voice and gestures in a presentation. Journalism I-IV introduces students to the world of newspaper publishing, while Yearbook I-IV exposes students to the more graphic side of desktop publishing while working on the production of the school's nationally acclaimed yearbook.
Through this blend of required and elective courses, Loch Raven's English program provides diverse contexts for students to develop their literacy skills and to become articulate citizens in society.