The SHSID English Department aims to develop communication, analytical, critical and creative skills through a variety of texts, resources, activities and assignments. We expect to foster in our students these skills as well as engender an appreciation and understanding of the English language. As part of an international school, the English Department also encourages the exploration of different cultures and perspectives through the world of written and spoken ideas. We believe that problem solving (investigating, conjecturing, predicting, analyzing, and verifying), followed by a well-reasoned presentation of results, is central to the process of learning English, and that this learning happens most effectively in a cooperative, student-centered classroom.
We see the following tenets as fundamental to our curriculum:
(1) The ability to read a text for different layers of meanings, as well as to understand the difference between the literal and figurative, is an essential foundation to learning.
(2) Every student should be able to write their thoughts clearly, concisely, and in a manner that is interesting, while also having a solid grasp of technical principles like organization, grammar, diction, and tone.
(3) Whether giving a presentation, contributing in class, or simply speaking one-on-one, communicating verbally in English is an integral skill for international students, and the department’s goal is to foster each student’s confidence in his or her own oratory skills.
(4) The application of analytical skills to reason through and understand unfamiliar ideas and concepts is vital to each of our students.
(5) Each student should have the ability to think critically, find weaknesses in different viewpoints, arguments, or texts, andoffer constructive critiques thatsupport the student’s own point or improve upon thestudent’s own point.
(6) Fostering creativity is an important element of a good education. Students should be able to think freely and creatively in and out of the classroom; work independently on personal projects; and know how to analyze and improve their own creative works.
Our intention is to have students assume responsibility for the concepts they explore—to understand structures, techniques and concepts that are developed over the course of a semester or year; and to be able to use these techniques appropriately, to learn to use technology appropriately, and to welcome new challenges whose outcomes are unknown.
We encourage students to be active contributors in class each day; they are expected to ask questions, to share their results with their classmates, and to be prime movers of each day’s investigations. The benefit of such participation in students’ study of English is an enhanced ability to ask effective questions, to answer fellow students’ inquiries, and to assess critically and present their own work. The goal is that the students, not the teacher or a textbook, be the engine of knowledge.