Because of small classes and close contact, we are able create hard-working, safe and fair communities of learning at each level of English at The Hill School. The core of all learning involves writing, reading, listening and speaking.
At each level, in each community, students are expected to write for a variety of purposes (to persuade, explain, analyze, summarize) and in a variety of modes (narration, exposition, definition, reflection) in the service of clarifying the variety of their thinking. All courses emphasize grammatical correctness and age-appropriate vocabulary acquisition. As an example, a third form student (ninth grade) will be asked to read The Odyssey because we hope to make the classics clear and compelling with contemporary parallels. Students will “build in” reflective, analytical, persuasive and narrative writing while reading, and after reading The Odyssey. The outcome for students at each level is a centralized, versatile approach to writing while reading from a traditional canon of literature. In the realm of speaking (the suggestion being formal public and informal transactional) and listening, the third form student might be invited to compose and present an original, albeit summarized epic poem. His classmates might be asked to listen actively for Homeric motifs, and then, Lyceum style, publically discuss the presenter’s content and delivery.
In sum, we strive to provide graduates with a solid basis in writing, literature, speaking, and listening that will equip each for a competitive collegiate and dynamic real-world experience.