Academics
A Notre Dame Education

English

Philosophy

The English program is designed to improve the students' awareness of the important role that the English language and its literature play in intellectual, personal, and career development. Essential to the over-all program of studies, the English program emphasizes the development of oral and written comprehension, critical thinking skills, and coherence, cogency, and fluency in the expression and communication of ideas.
While the English program stresses competence in skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening, it also provides experiences and activities that will help students become discriminating users of print and non-print media. Literary and media works, selected for excellence in both content and style, will promote humanistic attitudes, aesthetic appreciation, multicultural awareness and critical evaluation skills.


The English program encourages the development of each students' individual potential through critical thinking, clear writing, articulate speech, thoughtful decision-making, intellectual risk-taking, and respect for others. 

Courses Offered

List of 10 items.

  • English I

    In this course, students will be introduced to the reading and writing skills they will need in English as well as in their other courses at Notre Dame. English I will focus on an introduction to the writing process, culminating in a five-paragraph essay. Students will also receive instruction in grammar, vocabulary, library skills, and an introduction to literature, including an overview of its elements and genres. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Students will be placed in English I based on their results on the entrance exam and their junior high grades and recommendations. (UC “b” English) 
  • Honors English I

    In addition to the basic English I curriculum, this course will emphasize the theory and practice of expository composition. Students will also be asked to carry the study of literature beyond the content-based approach of English I (college prep sections). Students in this course will read one major work of drama, fiction, or non-fiction in each six-week grading period. The pace of this course will be accelerated. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - Students will be placed in Honors English I based on their results on the entrance exam and their junior high grades and recommendations. (UC “b” English) 
  • English II

    In this course, students will review and develop the skills taught in English I. The steps in the writing process will be reinforced with various compositional forms. Students will also engage in a content-based approach to multicultural literature, gradually adding a study of the elements of style to their reading. Vocabulary development will continue from English I, as will the study of six novels over the course of the year, including summer reading.

    Prerequisites/Comments - The student must have passed English I. (UC “b” English)
  • Honors English II

    This course is a review and extension of skills taught in the 9th grade. Students will be required to write at least three major essays per semester. Although reading assignments will not focus on one specific type of literature, students will be exposed to several different literary periods and all four literary genres. In addition to the required summer reading, students will be asked to read three major works of literature each semester. Students will concentrate on critiquing the works by applying elements of style to explain how aesthetics enhance and inform the reader’s appreciation of meaning. Students will also study the conventions of grammar and style and will continue to build their literary vocabulary. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - See admission to honors and AP courses in English. It is further recommended that any student seeking entrance into this course strongly considers the number of honors or AP classes they are taking. If you have any concerns, please allow the current English Honors II instructor to view current English I essay for additional input in terms of placement. (UC “b” English) 
  • English III

    In this course, students will continue to study the writing process, with goals to include the production of thoughtful essays and literary analyses. The English III course includes a chronological survey of American literature from Native American writers to the present. Students will also prepare for the verbal and writing sections of the SAT through the study of vocabulary, critical reading skills and timed writing exercises. Four works by major American authors will be read over the course of the year. At the end of the second semester students will be required to demonstrate the ability to synthesize research on a given topic. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - The student must have passed English II. (UC “b” English) 
  • AP English Language and Composition

    This course focuses on a study of rhetoric, the ways writers manipulate language to achieve a purpose. Students will identify and analyze other writers’ uses of rhetorical strategies as well as employ their own in a variety of expository modes. The course incorporates a survey of American literature, both fiction and nonfiction, including an anthology of essays. To supplement the existing two-semester reading list, students accepted in the course will be required to read a selected group of works during the summer preceding the fall semester. All students are required to take the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition exam. A fee that covers the cost of this test will be charged to each student. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - See admission to honors and AP courses in English. (UC “b” English)
  • English IV

    Students will study literature taken from the British canon, concentrating on the historical movement of literature from Beowulf through contemporary classics. The course concentrates on practicing and producing the types of written work required in college courses, including analytical essays, the research paper, and timed writings. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - The student must have passed English III. (UC “b” English) 
  • AP English Literature and Composition

    Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition is an idea-intensive, participatory course designed to acquaint students with major literary movements through the reading and exposition of classical and modern texts. Students will be expected to develop a writing voice that will serve deep analysis of texts both in the course and later in university-level English classes. To supplement the two-semester reading list, students accepted in the course will be required to read a selected group of works during the summer preceding the fall semester. All students are required to take the Advanced Placement Literature and Composition exam. A fee that covers the cost of this test will be charged to each student. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - See admission to honors and AP courses in English. (UC “b” English)
  • Creative Writing

    This course is a semester-long unit of study offered to juniors and seniors with a 75% (C) or above in their current English Course. This course has three units of study and is designed for the student who is interested in writing short pieces of fiction, non-fiction and original pieces of poetry. Students in this course will be expected to develop authentic pieces of poetry, creative essays and execute the structure of short story development. A final creative writing portfolio to showcase to a college or a university will act as the end goal of this course. This is an elective course that would be taken in addition to, not instead of, required English courses. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This elective course is open to 11th and 12th grade students with a C+ or higher in their previous English course. This is a UC Approved Course and should be taken by students that have serious interest in creative writing. (UC “b” English) (ND Elective) 
  • Harlem Renaissance

    This course examines the period in literary history between roughly 1919-1929, in which the emergence of African/African-American culture profoundly impacted society through the arts, music, literature, theatre, politics, religion, and education. During this time, Harlem in New York became the mecca for most African-American writers to get published and exhibit their talents. The course examines the various themes that emerged during this period, focusing both on the forces that led to this “renaissance,” as well as on the issues which fed and fueled it. Key to the discussion will be developing an understanding of the “Black Aesthetic” pertinent to writers, critics, and readers, and the concept of how African/African-American Literature strove to become a universal literary genre. Students should view their discussion, scholarship, and writing as an ongoing progression to understanding, knowledge, and insight, rather than as a fact-finding mission for a “correct” answer. This is an elective course taken in addition to, not instead of, the required grade-level English courses. 

    Prerequisites/Comments - This elective course is open to 11th and 12th grade students who has earned no lower than a “C”/ 75% both semesters in College Prep English  (UC “b” English pending) (ND Elective) 

Resources

Faculty

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