Class Introduction:

Class syllabus: Introduction: IB English A1

Per International Baccalaureate:

This course is built on the assumption that literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations and experiences of the world. The study of literature can therefore be seen as an exploration of the way it represents the complex pursuits, anxieties, joys and fears to which human beings are exposed in the daily business of living. It enables an exploration of one of the more enduring fields of human creativity, and provides opportunities for encouraging independent, original, critical and clear thinking. It also promotes respect for the imagination and a perceptive approach to the understanding and interpretation of literary works.

Through the study of a wide range of literature, the language 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 literary and cultural contexts, through close study of individual texts and passages, and by considering a range of critical approaches. In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the language A: literature course does not limit the study of works to the products of one culture or the cultures covered by any one language. The study of works in translation is especially important in introducing students, through literature, to other cultural perspectives. The response to the study of literature is through oral and written communication, thus enabling students to develop and refine their command of language.

My view:

This class will be taught in accordance with IB English philosophy, where emphasis will be on critical reading of literature and crafted (written/oral) responses to literature. Also, this is a seminar-styled course (we will be discussing at length and in depth everything we read), so it is crucial, for the sake of a vibrant discussion environment, that every student comes to class prepared, ready with questions and comments about literary text. My objective is that each student finishes this class with a deep appreciation for literature and an intimate understanding of the writer's craft.

IB students are expected to demonstrate more independence and initiative in their work than those enrolled in less rigorous courses. In my class, as in college level classes, it is expected that students commit to doing assignments, knowing that what they learn in practice will build to the level of skill needed to do well on the assessments. Feedback is important, but generally speaking, the assignments are practice and prepare students for the guidance and feedback received in class. We practice together to prepare for independent assessments.

We will be reading the following texts (order subject to change):

1st semester:
Short Story Unit: Various Authors
1984 by George Orwell
Poetry Unit (Poet to be determined)

2nd semester:
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (this unit might be changed)
(3rd book/unit yet to be determined)

Projects and Essays:

This course is devoted to training young writers the art of responding to the great literature we read. The goal is that, through seminar and through writing, students develop the language for communicating their appreciation for the choices an author makes through narrative when shaping meaning and exploring what it means to be a creative human being.

Every unit will end with a major assignment or project; this is in addition to smaller writing (journal) assignments within each unit.

Most of what is assigned is practice for the end of the unit assessments, and not all assignments will be assessed. Of the assignments considered practice that will be graded, the marked value (5-10 points) of said assignments will have minimal impact compared to the essays and end of unit assessments.

Also, all IB English students will be required to give an Individual Oral Presentation (IOP) exploring a specific idea/aspect about one of the texts in the units of the 1st semester. IOPs are restricted to literature read in the Short Story Unit, the Orwell Unit, and the Poetry Unit. The presentations are 10 to 15 minutes long and will be assessed using a very specific IB rubric designed for IOPs. More detailed information about the Individual Oral Presentation will be handed out as we move through the first quarter of the year.

Lastly, a World Literature Paper will be due at the end of the year, focusing on one of the texts in the 2nd semester i.e. Kafka, Garcia Marquez, and Murakami (Murakami will likely be replaced). This final essay should be a well-presented, formal piece of work between 1,200 and 1,500 words. Rubric will be posted online.

Total point scale. 90%+ = A; 80-89% = B; 70-79% = C; 60-69% = D; below 60% = F (Grading policy under review)

Homework Policy:
Late homework will receive significant penalty; this includes projects, essays, and smaller assignments. After 3 days, late homework will reluctantly be accepted and a 50% penalty will be applied to the score. If a student is a week late with homework and still wants to turn in the assignment, then said student must arrange a meeting with the teacher beforehand.

Most major projects/essays will be assessed according to an IB rubric. A generic rubric will be posted on this website for student reference. Very limited extra credit will be offered throughout the year; students must not count on extra credit to save their grades.

(Syllabus subject to change depending upon class progress or need)