fbpx

English at George School

English at George School is a celebration of language and its ability to unite and enlighten us. Diverse reading lists range from Achebe to Austen, Twain to Tan, and your classes will be discussion-based and lively. Very lively.

Your teachers will help you hone your analytical powers through extensive critical reading and writing. They will help you cultivate your own voice and expand your imagination. You will leave class with insight into the lives of people from all walks of life.

English Department Courses

Your teachers will help you hone your analytical powers through extensive critical reading and writing.

English 9

This course centers on the theme of characters on journeys. Of particular interest are those who are undergoing the transition from youth to maturity. Readings in this course encompasses narrative, drama, and non-fiction texts. Works often include J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, selected short stories, articles on current events, and excerpts from Forty Model Essays. Students examine the various ways in which young people in literature negotiate this transition, weighing dependence and independence, family and friends, duty and passion, self-possession and love. They also explore these tensions in their own writing through descriptive, narrative, analytical, and personal essays and presentations. Additionally, the course covers a core group of topics in vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. As a culminating project, students compile a portfolio showcasing their best writing.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 9

English 10

This course centers on the theme of individuals in societies, celebrating, exploring, and analyzing the power of language and literature to communicate meaning and experience. Of particular interest are group dynamics, government systems, and an individual’s role within them. Readings in this course will encompass narrative, drama, and non-fiction texts. Authors often include Shakespeare, Hughes, Miller, Shelley, and Hurston. Students work to find their voice by exploring ideas and opinions in their own writing through descriptive, narrative, and analytical writing, editorials, personal essays, discussion, and presentations. Additionally, the course covers a core group of topics in vocabulary, grammar, and mechanics. Learning to connect the experiences and ideas raised in the literature to the real world is a central part of the course. Through discussion and debate, students develop their ability to inquire, question, synthesize, and argue. Students’ independent thinking grows through creative and critical writing and passage analysis.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 10

AP English Language & Composition

This course is organized around the theme of conversations in non-fiction. It celebrates, explores, and analyzes the power of language and literature to communicate meaning and experience. Texts are examined from the premise that there is not one ultimate version of reality or truth but rather that language provides an imaginative, artistic, and technical entrée into the lives and minds of people from all walks of life. The texts we study are both broad and intensive. Students examine the ideas, experiences, and points of view presented in various texts in relation to each other. Learning to connect the experiences and ideas raised in the literature to the real world is a central part of the course.

Students who enroll in this course must sit for the AP English Language and Composition exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: A- or better in the second semester of Literature and Composition 1 (2021-22) and permission of the department.

Open to: 10

English 11

This course furthers students’ understanding that while literature is considered a product of the time and culture within which it was written, it can also reveal universal understandings and transcendent beliefs that unify human existence and culture. Students learn that writers are often in communication with writing and writers of previous times, creating a discourse across time. Students examine the various roles literature plays in society and the nature of the knowledge acquired through literature. Through reflection and inquiry, students examine how their own experiences influence the way that they understand and respond to what they read. Students are expected to participate in class discussions every day, weighing various points of view, synthesizing ideas in relation to each other, and ultimately forming an opinion of their own.

Written and oral assignments are both creative and critical in their implementation and process, demanding an ever-increasing appreciation of the choices writers make in their work. These assignments take students through the process of gaining feedback, editing, and revising. Each mod is a self-defined unit covering an aspect of World Literature, focusing on the skills of close reading, inquiry, writing, and speaking.

In addition to this 2-mod class, students must also choose one of the following electives:

Creative Writing: Focus on Style (ENG510C)
Creative Writing: Focus on the Novel (ENG510F)
Creative Writing: Focus on the Screenplay (ENG510K)
Exploration of Memoir (ENG520A)
Autobiographical Writing (ENG520K)
Shakespeare in the 21st Century (ENG530C) (This course will not be offered in 2022-23.)
Encountering the Holocaust through Literature (ENG540C)
Science and Literature (ENG550C)
Being Human: Intro to Philosophy (ENG650A)

In addition, the English coursework that is part of the immersive courses Vergil’s Aeneid (ENG930R) and Transformative Justice (ENG980X) can be used as the third mod of this course.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-2.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 11

English 12/World Literature 2

In this course, students examine classic and contemporary world texts through literature, essays, and film. Students learn to evaluate secondary sources and engage in deeper readings of the texts in preparation for the complexity and rigors of college analysis. Students explore thematic connections that run through classic and modern works from differing cultural traditions. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Atwood, Camus, Carver, Conrad, Ishiguro, Kafka, O’Connor, Olen Butler, Orwell, Shakespeare, and Sophocles. Students are expected to think independently, do close readings, and articulate their interpretations maturely and thoughtfully. Major assignments include oral presentations, critical commentaries, and essays that further develop the analytical skills acquired in the junior year.

In addition to this 2-mod class, students must also choose one of the following electives:

Creative Writing: Focus on Style (ENG510C)
Creative Writing: Focus on the Novel (ENG510F)
Creative Writing: Focus on the Screenplay (ENG510K)
Exploration of Memoir (ENG520A)
Autobiographical Writing (ENG520K)
Shakespeare in the 21st Century (ENG530C) (This course will not be offered in 2022-23.)
Encountering the Holocaust through Literature (ENG540C)
Science and Literature (ENG550C)
Being Human: Intro to Philosophy (ENG650A)

In addition, the English coursework that is part of the immersive courses Vergil’s Aeneid (ENG930R) and Transformative Justice (ENG980X) can be used as the third mod of this course.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 2.0-2.0

Prerequisite: an 11th grade English course (3 credits)

Open to: 12

IB HL English A: Literature

The first year of this course emphasizes a student’s ability to respond independently to works they have not seen before. Students work toward written and oral commentaries which pay particular attention to the writer’s craft. This course furthers students’ understanding that while literature is considered a product of the time and culture within which it was written, we strive also to look for universal understandings or transcendent beliefs that unify human existence or human culture. Students learn that writers are often in communication with writing and writers of previous times, creating a discourse across time. The course examines the various roles that literature then plays in society and the nature of the knowledge acquired through literature. Through reflection and inquiry, students examine how their own experiences influence the way that they understand and respond to what they read. Students are expected to participate in class discussions every day, weighing various points of view, synthesizing ideas in relation to each other, and ultimately forming an opinion of their own. Written and oral assignments are both creative and critical in their implementation and process, demanding an ever-increasing appreciation of the choices writers make in their work. These assignments take students through the process of gaining feedback, editing, and revising. Each term is a self-defined unit covering an aspect of world literature, focusing on the skills of close reading, inquiry, writing, and speaking. Skills practiced include close reading and analysis, introductory work with secondary sources, discussion, oral presentation, and formal analytical writing. Assessments include reading checks/quizzes/journals, a formal IB HL essay, and practice with IB guided literary analysis and IB comparative essays.

In the second year of this course students are expected to formulate complex and nuanced interpretations of literature independently and to challenge the interpretations of others. Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail are assumed, as is the ability to move quickly to abstractions. Skills practiced will include close reading and analysis, introductory work with secondary sources, discussion, oral presentation, and formal analytical writing and assessments will include reading checks/quizzes/journals, a formal IB individual oral, and practice with IB guided literary analysis and IB comparative essays. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Conrad, Greene, Kafka, Heaney, Ishiguro, Shakespeare, and Szymborska.

This two-year course fulfills the requirements of the IB English A: Literature HL curriculum and is made up of two IB-specific mods in 11th grade, one elective mod in 11th grade, and three IB-specific mods in 12th grade. See the English 11 (ENG400A) description for a list of the elective mods.

Students enrolled in this course must sit for the IB English A: Literature HL exam in 12th grade.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 5.0-5.0

Prerequisite: Participation in the IB Diploma Program OR AP English Language & Composition OR departmental permission and a final grade of B+ in either Literature & Composition 2 or English 10

Open to: 11, 12

IB HL World Literature 2/IB HL World Literature 2: Writer’s Focus

This course fulfills the expectations of the IB curriculum and prepares students for both the IB and AP exams. Students are expected to formulate complex and nuanced interpretations of literature independently and to question and challenge the interpretations of others. Excellent reading comprehension and attention to detail are assumed, as is the ability to move quickly to abstractions. Among the authors recently studied are Achebe, Austen, Chaucer, Conrad, Dostoyevsky, Greene, Kafka, the Romantic poets, Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Voltaire.

The Writer’s Focus version of the course considers literature with a view towards developing a more fully articulated understanding of the art and the craft of writing poetry, drama, and prose fiction. In addition to literary discussion, Writer’s Focus classes feature workshop-style critiquing sessions. Participants in the Writer’s Focus class should be committed creative writers who are comfortable having their work read aloud and critiqued by peers.

Students enrolled in this course must sit for the IB HL exam.

(This course will be offered for the final time in 2022-23. It will be replaced by IB HL English A: Literature.)

Open to: 12

Prerequisite:
1. Participation in the IB Diploma program OR
2. IB HL World Literature 1: Focus on the Americas OR
3. Successful performance in a passage analysis AND a final grade of B+ in World Literature 1: Focus on the Americas AND teacher recommendation

Open to: 12

Creative Writing: Focus on Style

In 1947, French writer Raymond Queneau, a member of OULIPO, a literary group, published Exercises de Style, a collection of 99 versions of the same story. In this course, we find inspiration in adventurous literary works like Queneau’s, study literary movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, write rigorously across genres, and experiment with form. Students spend class time workshopping their writing, reading and analyzing literature, and responding to creative prompts. Students write independently every day. This is a writing-intensive course. The final project is a creative work that demonstrates an engagement with experimentation and an understanding of hybridity as a postcolonial form of expression.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 11, 12

Creative Writing: Focus on the Novel

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, originated in 1999 and is a month-long program that encourages people to write a novel in the month of November, hitting a particular word count. Students will enroll in the NaNoWriMo student program, which allows them to set their own unique word count goals and start their month of writing at any point in the year. There are also activities and writing communities to engage in all year long through the program.

The NaNoWriMo elective at George School aims to cultivate a community of creative writers with a passion for the written word. This is the perfect class for the student who has many ideas to express but never finds the place to do it in formal educational settings. The class completes a week of brainstorming and prewriting, followed by a 30-day novel writing contest using the NaNoWriMo program and also engaging with their online community. Writers set goals and work as a group to celebrate and provide feedback on each other’s work. The goal is to write every day, take risks, try new techniques, and celebrate language (not necessarily to have the best final product).

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Creative Writing: Focus on the Screenplay

This course is an introduction to the elements of theme, plot, character, and dialogue in dramatic writing for film. Emphasis is placed on telling a story through action and character development. The difference between the literary and visual medium is explored through individual writing projects and group analysis. The course helps students develop a synopsis, film treatment, and drafts for a short theatrical screenplay including: theme, plot, character, mise-en-scene and utilization of cinematic elements. Each student should, by the end of the term, have at short screenplay that they can turn into a film. Films and their corresponding screenplays are required reading for every class, and students also become acquainted with how the business of selling and producing one’s screenplay actually happens in Hollywood and independently.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Autobiographical Writing

Writers are oft tasked to “write what you know.” Presumably, we know ourselves well. Yet, the act of personal essay writing through memoir, autobiography, and that most beloved of assignments, the college essay frequently tests that assumption. What do we truly know of ourselves? How much is yet to be discovered, whether one is a senior contemplating their college years or a senior contemplating their twilight years? And how do we explain it to others when we can be such mysteries to those who know us best, even, at times, to ourselves?

This course interrogates the first person narrative voice as both technical exercise and creative discovery. Through analysis of non-fiction text selections ranging from Sei Shonagon’s 10th c. Pillow Book to more contemporary essay selections by writers such as David Sedaris and from consideration of Montaigne’s 16th c. popularization of the essay to more contemporary works, the course examines the form of the personal narrative.

A secondary goal of this module is to offer clear instruction and guidance for the development of a student’s college essay as well as structured space in which to write it. Students work on topic generation, learn about the “dos” and “don’ts” of this assignment, and consider a range of prompts, including those for supplemental essays. Additionally, they evaluate sample essays and learn the stylistic strategies and gambits that best suit their own work and narrative voice. Most importantly, they concentrate on drafting and the revision process to produce a polished essay, one ready for submission in the application process.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 12

Shakespeare in the 21st Century

Sex, death, and pirates—and those are just a few of the elements in Hamlet. Shakespeare is classical literature and often considered high brow, elitist, and even inaccessible. But it’s also bawdy, irreverent, and just plain funny, even for the Snapchat crowd. Interested in learning about minced oaths and how to “talk dirty” in Shakespearean language? Want to see the original example of “ghosting” someone?

This one-mod course offers an in-depth study of a single Shakespeare play, allowing students to focus on the nuances of Shakespearean language and to consider the application of its themes to contemporary social and cultural matters of our time. Skills practiced will include close reading and analysis, introductory work with secondary sources, discussion, oral presentation, and formal analytical writing, and assessments will include reading checks/quizzes, a brief oral presentation, and a critical essay.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

(This course will not be offered in 2022-23.)

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 11, 12

Encountering the Holocaust through Literature

This one-mod course offers students engagement with the Holocaust through multigenre literary readings (diary, memoir, poetry, short fiction, and drama). in it, student gain a broader awareness of the complex multiplicities of perspective and experiences gathered under the catch-all term “the Holocaust.” Additionally, they gain an understanding of the power and necessity of literary expression, as well as literary expression’s potential pratical and ethical limitations. We will engage with texts composed by women and men, Jewish and non-Jewish writers, witnesses and non-witnesses, victims, bystanders, and perpetrators. Taken chronologically, our course texts offer glimpses into various phases of the Nazi terror: political beginnings, deportation, ghettoization, the concentration camp, and, finally, a reckoning with Nazism’s aftermath. Additionally, we examine the aesthetic maneuvers employed in these texts and consider how they vary based on the author’s relation to the catastrophe. Major assessments will include a reading journal (sustained for the duration of the module), weekly discussion board posts, and an analytical/literary synthesis essay and corresponding class presentation delivered during the 5th week.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 11, 12

Science & Literature

This course is cross-listed as MUL430L (Extradisciplinary) and SCI310L (Science). See MUL430L (Extradisciplinary) in the Extradisciplinary section of the catalog for description.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: 1 credit of either Biology or Intensive Biology

Open to: 11, 12

Being Human: Intro to Philosophy

Studying English through a philosophical lens provides an opportunity for students to engage with some of the world’s most interesting and influential thinkers. This introductory mod explores the fundamental question of what it is to be human. This exploration takes place through a discussion of key concepts such as identity, freedom, and human nature, and through a consideration of questions such as what sets humans apart from other species, where are the boundaries of being human lie, and whether animals or machines can be considered persons.

In “Being Human,” the primary assessment will be Paper 1A for the IB Philosophy SL exam.

Students who complete this mod can opt to continue their study of Philosophy by taking the two additional mods of IB SL Philosophy (ENG657Y).

Min-Max Credit Hours: 1.0-1.0

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 11, 12

IB SL Philosophy

“Socrates did not teach philosophy, he taught to philosophize.” (Daniel and Auriac, 2011: 416) Studying philosophy develops highly transferable skills such as the ability to formulate arguments clearly, to make reasoned judgments, and to evaluate highly complex and multifaceted issues. The emphasis of IB Philosophy is on actively engaging students in philosophical activity in their own lives. The course is focused on stimulating students’ intellectual curiosity and encouraging them to examine both their own perspectives and those of others. Students master close reading techniques and philosophical analysis and argumentation and write papers synthesizing these skills.

Students may opt to take the first mod, Being Human (ENG650A) in 11th grade and the remaining mods in 12th grade, or they may take all three mods in the same year.

In the second mod, Philosophy in Depth, students choose to focus on one of the following dimensions of philosophy: Aesthetics; Epistemology; Ethics; Philosophy and contemporary society; Philosophy of religion; Philosophy of science; or Political philosophy. The central text of the third mod is Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save which considers the moral responsibility of citizens of affluent nations vis-a-vis poverty in developing nations.

In each mod, students complete mocks of the respective SL exam questions as well as the IA task which is a philosophical analysis of a fictional or creative text. The course employs equitable standards-based grading with the standards and rubrics coming directly from the IB assessment criteria. Assessment weights match the IB Philosophy syllabus and final grades will be determined by IA marks and summative performance on mock exams.

Students enrolled in this course must sit for the IB exam.

Min-Max Credit Hours: 3.0-3.0

Prerequisite: a 10th grade English course

Open to: 11, 12

Vergil’s Aeneid (in Rome)

This immersion term course in Rome is cross-listed as LAT930R (Language) and MUL930R (Extradisciplinary). A travel-abroad course, it requires parental consent. See MUL930R (Extradisciplinary) in the Extradisciplinary section of the catalog for description.

Prerequisite: Latin 2 and a 10th grade English class

Open to: 10, 11, 12

Transformative Justice

This immersion-term course is cross-listed as HIS980X (History) and MUL980X (Extradisciplinary). This domestic-travel class requires parental consent. See MUL980X (Extradisciplinary) in the Extradisciplinary section of the catalog for description.

Prerequisite: none

Open to: 11, 12

More to Explore

Shantel Hubert presents a Langston Hughes Tribute

English faculty, Shantel Hubert, is presenting, The Intersection Between the Veiled and the Masked: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, a virtual program held on February 21 through the Michener Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Growing as a Writer at George School

George School provided many challenges and opportunities for creative expression, and I’ve grown tremendously as a writer during my time here. One of the ways I grow as a writer is through reading, and I’ve been exposed to a myriad of excellent literature in my time at George School.

George School Students Receive 38 Scholastic Writing Awards

George School students received thirty-eight prizes for their writing in the 2022 Philadelphia Region Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. Seven were Gold Key Awards, nine Silver Key Awards, and twenty-two Honorable Mentions. There were approximately 1,500 submissions in the Philadelphia area this year, and the Gold Key represents the top 5 percent of submissions.