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ENGLISH DEPARTMENT PHILOSOPHY

The English Department at St. Francis High School bases its program on the belief that the truly educated person has developed the ability to understand, use, and enjoy language.

Language - written, read, spoken or listened to - is the key to a knowledge of oneself and to the realization of one's intellectual potential. In order to achieve this self-knowledge and intellectual actualization, the English Department particularly emphasizes the study and mastery of literature, vocabulary skills, grammatical concepts, and composition skills.

The English Department advocates that the study of language as the written word serves several purposes: (1) to expand the student's cultural horizons, (2) to expose the student to the weaknesses and strengths of characters so that he may determine his personal values, (3) to appreciate the development of the English language, and, finally, (4) to build on the past so that the student will have a basis for his present system of values.

The study of vocabulary skills will also contribute to the formation of a well-educated student of English. Through the study of vocabulary the student will come to recognize and learn new/difficult words, to recognize that language changes, and, most importantly, to realize that an improved vocabulary leads to better verbal communication and thinking.

Like Literature and vocabulary, the mastery of grammatical concepts should enable the student to understand the components of the sentence which in turn will bring the student to an appreciation of the composition as an entire process. Moreover, the study of grammar will not only enhance the student's appreciation of foreign language, but also improve the student's awareness of the fact that the building blocks of language lead to an understanding of the process of language and how that process affects our relationship to the word.

Finally the English Department believes that a strong compositional program which incorporates literature, vocabulary, and grammar will enhance the student's critical/analytical skills, allow the student to differentiate and produce various rhetorical patterns : descriptive, expository, and argumentative, and improve the student's verbal expression regardless of the student's intended college major or occupation. In short, the English Department endeavors to relate compositional skills to the real world with the intention of producing literate, thinking and social beings.