Overview of English
The Department of English aims to give a broad grounding in the basics of language and literature, partly through a wide variety of models, and in particular to enthuse our pupils to read a lot, and to think about what they read. This is a crucial element in the development of their own writing. In each of these years there is a weekly supervised reading class in the Library, during which pupils must read books associated with English.
All pupils sit the Junior Certificate examination at the end of third year, and the previous years work leads up to this exam. We aim to give a broad grounding in the basics of language and literature, partly through a wide variety of models, and in particular to enthuse our pupils to read a lot, and to think about what they read. This is a crucial element in the development of their own writing. In each of these years there is a weekly supervised reading class in the Library, during which pupils must read books associated with English..
The Junior Certificate exam is divided into language and literature elements (in two separate papers at Higher Level).
In Third Year, for drama we always choose to study a Shakespeare play (such as Romeo and Juliet and a contemporary play (such as Arthur Miller’s Twelve Angry Men); in fiction, a novel such as Morris Gleitzman’s Once is studied, and an important element is wide reading of other novels.. A similar mixture of fiction and drama is covered in First and Second Years (books such as Girl Stolen by April Henry and Wonder by R.J.Palaccio). Poetry is covered in a wide-ranging programme that starts in First year along with film studies.
For many years, the English Department has had its own specially-designed course, which focusses on substantial development of pupils’ writing and reading skills in this crucial year, and bridging the considerable gap between the Junior and Leaving Certificates. This is a year when pupils are really stretched.
They will complete a Work Portfolio of written pieces (stories, personal descriptions, essays) which is submitted at the end of the year. The Work Portfolio will develop the crucial skills of drafting and re-drafting,
During the year a Shakespeare play is studied (Hamlet, Macbeth, The Tempest) and a major novel, The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald and film studies. The production of a newsletter and participation in various writing and speaking competitions are features of the course.
The Department follows the official Leaving Certificate course for these two years. For many years we have had a high level of take-up of the subject at Higher Level. This is possible in the Leaving Certificate course, since most of the material is common to both Higher and Ordinary Level (in the final term, extra directed tuition is given to the few pupils taking Ordinary Level papers).
The Leaving Certificate itself is divided into two papers, the first concentrating on language tasks (comprehension and composition), and the second on literature. Therefore we study one major Shakespeare play (King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet or Othello), three texts (novels and plays) as part of a comparative question (such as, in recent years, John B. Keane’s Sive Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Claire Keegan’s Foster, and Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart. In addition, eight prescribed poets are studied (such as W.B. Yeats, Adrienne Rich, Derek Walcott, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, John Montague, Patrick Kavanagh, Eavan Boland, Elizabeth Bishop, William Wordsworth, Derek Mahon, John Keats and Emily Dickinson).
Ms Kim Healy
Ms Anne Loughnane
Ms Breda O’Shea
Ms Ann Piggott
Ms Sue O Sullivan Casey
Mr Christopher O Brien