The English department teach a range of literature that develop spiritual development through discussion and debate. For example, the study of the classic novel ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, amongst others, encourages the discussion of the difference between good and evil, considering the impact of conscience. The study of texts like this gives students the opportunity to think about the consequences of right and wrong behaviour, applying this to their own lives.
Creative writing and the study of poetry gives students the opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and helps them to establish their own relationship with language. Writing is expressive and allows for a reflective process and the freedom to be creative and experiment.
In year 7, we teach ‘A Christmas Carol’ which encourages moral thinking through the recognition of values such as goodwill, humility and kindness. Students are able to analyse character and events to explore the consequences of negative actions.
During the study of fiction, students are given the opportunity to consider different perspectives and empathise with other characters. For instance, the study of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ poses a range of topics and themes for debate such as the dangers of power and ambition.
Class readers studied at Y7 and 8 deal with moral questions, such as race, homelessness, alcoholism, sexism, giving students the opportunity to produce their own writing. Writing non-fiction texts such as newspaper articles, leaflets, reports and reviews help to develop students’ ability to apply fiction to real life scenarios.
English lessons promote cooperation and teamwork through being able to work in groups, listening to presentations and asking questions. Real issues encourage students to think about the world outside of school and give opinions on topics that may affect them in the future for example, imagining it has been proposed that a new supermarket is to be built in the local area. Students are required to take on a role and argue a point of view.
We also give students the opportunity to speak in different contexts and regarding a range of different real life issue, applying learning to careers and life after school. Peer assessment is an integral part of our teaching and we encourage focused feedback between students, whereby they support and encourage each other, reflecting and giving advice using their own method for success.
Students are all given the opportunity to be independent, self-reliant and responsible for their own learning. Debate is an important aspect of the subject, giving logical arguments with respect, rationality and thoughtfulness.
Students learn about respecting others through the study of poetry from different cultures. Many poems deal with conditions faced by those in impoverished or less fortunate situations. Students are able to appreciate different cultures and empathise.
The study of Victorian literature gives opportunities for students to appreciate British history and culture.
Speaking and listening activities promote the opportunity to share their own experiences and appreciate other students’ perspectives and experiences.
Theatre trips and visits from published authors give all students the opportunity to access cultural activity alongside the viewing of DVDs of plays in performance, which otherwise some students may not have the opportunity to experience.