The responsibility for helping students develop critical reading and writing skills and the ability to write clearly and correctly is shared by every academic department at Frisch. However, a major share of this responsibility is borne by the English Department. The center of balance of our English classes has shifted in recent years, as in most good schools, to focus a good deal more on writing and communication skills and reading and writing critically about non-fiction.
The objectives of the English curriculum are to help students:
I. Write clearly and effectively, conforming to conventions of standard written English, including appropriate mechanics and diction.
II. Read and think critically and make intelligent and appropriate inferences.
III. Understand and use critical sources to conduct literary research at a level appropriate to high school students and to integrate secondary sources in well-conceived and constructed essays and papers.
IV. Recognize and understand the function in a literary work of tone, setting, figurative language, symbolism, allusions, rhetorical devices, point of view, etc. and to comprehend how each contributes to the meaning of the work.
V. Appreciate literature as an art form and an expression of human experience and respond to literature with sensitivity and perception regarding characters, motivation, theme and language; develop an active and creative relationship with the text, and consider the possible universality of the work as well as its significance to the culture which produced it.
It is the hope of all of us who cherish literature to pass our excitement on to the next generation and, indeed, one of our goals is to instill in our students a fascination with good books. Beyond this motivation, however, lies another objective: to show the function of a body of writing in a given culture, as the achievement of humankind and as the product of the thought prevalent within a historical context. Our reading list is composed of an ever-changing selection of the classics of American, British and European literature, Greek drama, poetry, short stories, contemporary works of literary merit and, increasingly, of important long and short works and pieces of non-fiction.
Eleventh-graders (in addition to English III) may elect courses in communication, journalism, expository writing and rhetoric and public speaking. All eleventh graders spend time during the spring semester learning about and writing personal essays in preparation for the essay requirements of college applications.
Students in honor-level sections of English in grades nine through eleven are prepared for the increasingly challenging Advanced Placement Language and Composition Examination.
Seniors have the option of taking Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, an honors-level literature course, or an inter-disciplinary elective entitled Literature, Society and Politics which is team-taught by three members of the department with the active participation of members of the Torah Studies faculty.