Inspiring Critical Thinking
The course offerings of the English program enable students to reflect upon the language they use in their daily lives and to develop the reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking skills essential for effective communication.
Students read and analyze a diverse array of literary works, write in a variety of styles, and participate in discussions and presentations. They conduct research at every level of study and develop an ability to locate and evaluate appropriate sources. Students are challenged to write from their hearts and minds in a way that will influence their writing for a lifetime.
Notre Dame’s Writing Center, a resource for reinforcing a variety of writing skills, is open and available every period of the day and is staffed by upper-level Writing Fellows and members of the English Department.
Middle school and upper school students have the opportunity to serve on the staff of a variety of student publications, including the newspaper and literary magazine.
The middle school language arts program reflects Notre Dame’s commitment to the “whole child” by using a variety of teaching and assessment techniques. In grades six through eight, students experience various literary genres and essay styles in order to develop fundamental 21st-century critical thinking and writing skills. As part of the Academy’s goal to foster a love of reading in each student, outside reading is integrated into English courses. Students read and analyze their chosen works to demonstrate their comprehension and analytical skills.
All upper school students continue to develop their reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary skills through written compositions and oral presentations.
Ninth grade students are exposed to a variety of writing styles and genres in their study of world literature, while the tenth grade curriculum focuses on major British authors and movements. In eleventh grade, analysis and literary interpretation are stressed as students develop an understanding of the major movements in American Literature. The twelfth grade course, Women and Literature, aims to expand students’ understandings of women’s experiences as expressed by male and female writers from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
All seniors participate in a Senior Capstone Project, an experiential and research-based project of their choice. Honors and Advanced Placement courses are available in grades 10, 11, and 12.