English Language Curriculum for Secondary Schools

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Planning an English language curriculum means creating a complex blend of literature lessons, language-skills learning and writing activities. Your high school curriculum will need to include specific types of classes that help students to meet standards-based benchmarks in learning. Even though the exact design may look different from school to school, the core information that students must learn should connect to their development and challenge them to succeed.

Literature Content

  • By the time students reach their high school years, they have the basic reading skills to take on more sophisticated literature lessons. Throughout high school, literature courses should include a range of works that come from different time periods, cultures and genres. Universal themes that are timeless or still applicable to the modern student's life can enhance lessons and help her to understand the literature. Along with reading books, high school literature courses should encourage students to understand concepts such as allegory, flashbacks, irony and point of view.

Language Skills

  • The use of language in writing and speaking is a central part of the high school English curriculum. Classes in ninth through 12th grades should include lessons on sentence structure, tense shifts, mechanics, usage and vocabulary. Schools may create a progressive curriculum, allowing students to develop skills such as identifying and using parallel structure and clauses during the first two years of high school. As students move into their junior and senior years, they can delve deeper and learn that language usage isn't static and changes over time.

English Writing

  • Along with reading, high school students need to expand their writing skills through more sophisticated assignments and classes that include research-based and fictional texts. A high school-level writing curriculum should prepare students for college and career needs, according to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Students should develop the ability to analyze texts and craft supporting written arguments, convey complex ideas, develop a narrative and conduct research to answer a question or support a topic.

Content Connections

  • The secondary English language curriculum isn't always a standalone framework when it comes to the content. Some schools choose to incorporate other curricular areas into English classes and lessons. For example, the Common Core State Standards includes a section on language use in history and social studies as well as in science. Through an integrated curriculum that combines language and other areas, students learn how to read, write, research and speak about specific subjects that are key to other content areas.

References

  • Photo Credit Jack Hollingsworth/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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