Mission Statement

English is both the foundation and the cornerstone of effective communication. It is within this framework that every facet of communication is made possible both academically and socially.

At St Mary’s DSG, it is our aim to equip our girls with the necessary skills to communicate in a number of interesting and relevant fields. We also strive to instil a love and enjoyment of the English language. The girls are taught a critical awareness of various texts, how language is manipulated to alter style and meaning, and they are exposed to a wide variety of multi-media. Furthermore, with excellent English skills, pupils may compete with confidence for world-wide career opportunities.

Curriculum Outline
Listening and speaking
The learner is able to listen and speak for a variety of purposes, audiences and contexts.

Reading and viewing
The learner is able to read and view for understanding and to evaluate critically and respond to a wide range of texts.

Writing and presenting
The learner is able to write and present for a wide range of purposes and audiences using conventions and formats appropriate to diverse contexts.

Language structures and conventions
The learner is able to use language structures and conventions appropriately and effectively.
These skills are taught in an integrated manner with emphasis on the application of the skills and the development of insight and higher order cognitive processes.

Language includes:
comprehension and language techniques. There is an emphasis on recognition of appropriate tone, style and register in different types of writing in order to teach better communication skills. Language in the visual and written media is also emphasised.

Literature includes:
plays, novels and poetry, both international and South African.  A holistic approach is used in the teaching of the various genres linking the relevant themes to the experiences of the learner.  The use of drama and multi-media is of huge benefit in this regard.  It is our wish that a love and appreciation of the linguistic and artistic beauty of literature will be instilled in learners as well as to develop a passion for reading that will enrich the girls’ lives far beyond their school years.

Original writing incorporates various types of transactional writing as well as essay and poetry writing. The learners are encouraged to express themselves creatively whilst developing an individual style and “voice”.

Oral work includes:
dramatic presentations, media presentations, prepared and unprepared speeches, reading, debating, conversational skills and listening comprehensions. We aim to develop the girls’ confidence and communicative abilities.

Visual literacy encompasses the study of a variety of films and visual media to enable learners to view with discrimination and to understand film technology and techniques. A critical approach to the viewing of films is a life skill. The girls are also exposed to various other forms of audio-visual material such as radio and television, advertising as well as propaganda techniques.

Homework, Assignments and Projects
Homework is set on a regular basis in order to supplement and extend classroom work. Each girl has a home reader in addition to the literature being studied in class.  Projects are set within the different grades and will reflect different aspects of language use, media and literature study.  It is intended that research and presentation skills be acquired and that learners realise the joy and satisfaction of discovering information for themselves. The girls are given tasks and tests in order to learn, improve and reinforce their skills.

Career Paths and Opportunities
English is an important component of the entrance requirements for tertiary education.  The most obvious career paths for students of English are those careers where effective communication is vital:

Public Relations
Television and Radio

Special Events
The school runs many extra-curricular activities that help reinforce and develop the English skills learned in the classroom. During the course of the year, a number of exciting events take place in the English Department:

English Olympiad course and examination run by The Grahamstown Foundation and SACEE
Pretoria Public Speaking Contest  
Old Girls’ Essay Competition    
Writers’ workshops
The Inter-House Public Speaking Contest
Poetry Week and the Rowena Navickas Poetry Competition
Participation in the Highveld English Festival
Interpretive Reading evenings

In addition to these activities, there are opportunities to visit the theatre as well as visits to the school by theatre groups who perform plays and poetry collages on subjects relevant to the syllabus.

Date: Monday, 23 May 2016 14:18