Students engage in lively dialogue with texts in English classes at Germantown Friends School. Close critical reading of novels, poems, plays, and essays invites students to develop an appreciation for literature, and the classroom provides a forum for exploration and expression of ideas. Through thoughtful analysis, creative response and reflective writing, students grapple with the perspectives and ideas of a diverse and ever-expanding repertoire of authors. Students contemplate a range of issues introduced within texts and consider the larger social implications of their reading. We also ask them to consider historical context. Writing is at the center of everything we do, from personal and analytical essays, short stories and poems to chapbooks, graphic novels, manifestos, scenes, podcasts, and newspapers. Along the way, students gain increased syntactic flexibility and precision through the study of grammar, vocabulary, and rhetoric.
From September to mid-March, English is devoted to the required courses at each grade level. A hallmark of the department is the Essentially English program in the spring of tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades, which allows students to elect innovative day or nighttime classes. Those courses are published in a separate catalog in January.