English has a unique position at ISH as it is a subject at the heart of the curriculum and is the language of instruction at the school.

We recognize and celebrate the cultural and linguistic diversity of our student body yet we are aware that proficiency in English is essential for academic success at the school. In order to meet the needs of students who enter the school with limited competence in English we offer a structured programme of EAL support. However, we also encourage students to continue tuition in their Mother Tongue. Advice and guidance can be obtained from the Mother Tongue Co-ordinator.

Course Content

Grades 6-8

In the Middle School students will be introduced to a range of classic and contemporary literature for young people. They will be encouraged to experiment with a range of different writing styles and forms, begin to develop skills for critical thinking and respond to literature creatively and more formally. Students will also begin to examine language closely and become aware of its power and impact.

Grades 9-10

The Pre-IB English course is designed to build on the foundations of the Middle School (MYP) programme over two years and to prepare students for the range of language options offered at IB (A Literature/ Language and Literature, Language B). Students will explore and develop a critical appreciation of a range of the traditional genres and well as contemporary textualities, including visual and digital media. During this course students be introduced to more formal written and oral literary analysis of texts.

Grades 11-12

The IB Programme offers a range of language options. There are two at A level: Literature and Language and Literature. These courses are of equal academic value but have a slightly different focus. In addition there is a Language B option. The DP programme requires students to take at least one A language. All courses may be taken at Higher or Standard level.

The IB A Literature course encourages students to appreciate the artistry of literature and to develop an ability to reflect critically on their reading. Works are studied in their cultural and literary contexts and by considering a range of critical approaches. An important feature of the course is the inclusion of a range of works in translation which aims to introduce students to other cultural perspectives. Assessment takes the form of both oral and written assignments. The course aims to refine students’ skills of analysis as well as to develop a personal appreciation of literature and the literary heritage of the English-speaking world.

The IB A Language and Literature courses are designed to develop students’ skills of textual & visual analysis. Students develop an understanding that our reading of texts is influenced by our own cultural experience. Students are encouraged to consider the text itself is a product of a particular time and place and by focusing closely on the language of the texts students become more aware of how meaning is constructed. A selection of literature is studied, including works in translation to present students with a wider range of perspectives and diverse human experience. The course is flexible and can be designed to reflect the interest and concerns of the students.

Language B course is intended for students who have had some previous experience of learning the language. The main focus of the course is on language acquisition and development in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Language skills are developed through the study of a range of spoken and written material including literary texts.

In the design of our programme, the selection and presentation of our materials we aim to reflect the ideals of the IB Learner profile.

At all levels we aim to encourage students to express their ideas clearly and precisely, coherently and creatively, experimenting with a variety of styles and forms in both oral and written communication.

The central focus of all courses is the study and enjoyment of literature in all its forms, through time and across cultures. An exciting range of works is offered to inspire students to reflect on literature and to develop skills of critical thinking. Ideally, students will develop an appreciation of the richness and complexity of human experience that literature records, greater self-knowledge and an understanding and respect for perspectives different from their own.

We also invite students to examine textualities beyond the literary as well as visual media in order to develop a discriminating critical awareness of the way language is used in the world around them.