The English Faculty at Mosman High School aims to promote through the study of texts an awareness of other people's perspectives, cultures and worlds. We aim to develop a love of reading and of literature as well as encouraging our students' creativity and individuality.
We also aim to produce discernment when reading, writing, viewing, speaking, listening and representing. The values we see associated with our subject are those of acceptance, tolerance, multiculturalism and self-awareness. We aim to encourage students to develop their own point of view and to listen to and accept those of others.
Through study of texts we aim to produce social awareness and to develop students' ability to state their point of view.
The reading of literature is designed to present students with a variety of viewpoints which may at times create conflict with a student’s own beliefs.
It is the policy of the English Faculty to create a climate of tolerance, where opinions are solicited and listened to and are respected. Lively debate is a necessary component of any language and literature study. This is encouraged as part of the English classroom. The study of literature is not designed to change beliefs but it is designed to call into question values, and to heighten the awareness of ideas. Whatever the viewpoint of a text, the ultimate aim of courses is to encourage the development of the ability to discriminate in literature. As a result we study a variety of texts which reflect a variety of viewpoints from different historical, social, cultural and workplace contexts. Special emphasis is placed on texts which reflect the diversity of Australian society.
In selecting texts for study we try to balance as much as possible the perspective being studied without becoming self-conscious about it. Writing tasks in creative writing are also a significant tool for developing analysis and discussion of different viewpoints. Students are encouraged to compose in a variety of voices and especially to create personas which are not their own.
Students learn to develop clear and precise skills in writing, reading, listening, speaking, viewing and representing. For example, in developing writing skills, students learn about sentence structures, paragraphing, grammar, punctuation, vocabulary and spelling.
Students study a range of text types: nonfiction, fiction, poetry, film, media studies, the internet and CD-ROMs.
The texts give students experience of Australian literature and insights into Aboriginal experiences and multicultural experiences in Australia, and experience of literature from other countries and times.
Students also study texts that give experience of cultural heritages, popular cultures and youth cultures, picture books, everyday and workplace texts, and a range of social, gender and cultural perspectives. Students experience Shakespearean drama in each academic year.
Students develop their skills, knowledge and understanding so that they can use language and communicate appropriately, effectively and accurately for a range of purposes and audiences, in a range of contexts. They learn to think in ways that are imaginative, interpretive and critical. They express themselves and their relationships with others and the world, and reflect on their learning in English.
By the time students enter year 11, they are developing or have developed an understanding of themselves, and the ways that they relate to learning and the value of learning in their lives. They bring to their learning a range of perspectives and experiences. Mosman High School students’ choices of study are broadened to recognise their growing independence as learners and the diversity of their needs, interests, abilities, goals, pathways and intentions. Study in English in the senior years is characterised by students’ increased awareness of the ways in which they organise and participate in learning, and by greater self-direction.
In years 11 and 12 our students are encouraged to be more specific and articulate in their study of how meanings are shaped in and through texts. Students extend their skills in reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing and representing, by refining their imaginative and interpretive skills and by applying their analytical abilities to increasingly complex texts.
Mosman students are encouraged to develop their awareness of personal, social, historical, cultural and workplace contexts, their notions of value and their understanding of self and others. They engage in responding to and composing texts, and consider the diverse processes involved in this through their wide reading, and through close analysis of texts.
They develop knowledge and understanding of the ways that the linguistic, structural, contextual and thematic interrelationships among texts shape meaning. They develop and apply a knowledge and understanding of the role and function of literary conventions and devices.
Students analyse the relationships between texts and technologies and evaluate the ways in which the medium itself influences the shape and nature of meaning. Their skills in composition are further developed.
In Year 7 we also run a wide reading program and study skills program throughout all English classes, encouraging students to increase their reading and comprehension skills. This program is integrated into the English studies.
Support is offered for students in years 7-12 either within a mainstream classroom or where there are sufficient students, through the formation of a separate class. The English Faculty also provides special support for students from a non-English Speaking Background (ESL) through our ESL teachers.
Students in the junior school are given the opportunity to participate in school based debating competitions. We also provide opportunities for all students to participate in a number of the State based competitions.
Students are given the opportunity to participate in a variety of local, state and national writing competitions. In the past our students have had tremendous success at all levels of competition with many of our students establishing careers in journalism. Teaching staff are always willing to assist students with the drafting and proofing of their work.
All students in years 7-10 are encouraged to participate in these tests. We believe these tests are more than just competitions. The ICAS tests are a valuable tool for English teachers and parents providing a comprehensive diagnostic assessment of students' strengths and weaknesses. They are the only national and international assessment program which enables the tracking of individual student performance and progress from year to year. It is the depth of this information that can help the classroom teacher to tailor their teaching and learning programs to best meet the needs of their students.