The junior cycle English programme provides our students with a fundamental introduction to grammar and writing, as well as a fascinating mix of works from Irish and international authors and poets. An outline of the content covered in the junior cycle English curriculum is given below.
English I : The Ancient World
The nineteenth century Anglican Archbishop of Dublin and poet, Richard Trench, remarked that ‘grammar is the logic of speech, even as logic is the grammar of reason.’ It is inconceivable to embark on a programme of reading the great books and stories of Western Civilisation without the tools for the journey. This year’s programme, not only provides the student with a solid basis for the subsequent years, but also provides the cornerstone on this all other narrative subjects, writings and discussions are founded. In literature, students encounter the great heroes and characters of the past as real-life personalities whose challenges and travails mirror those of our present time in more ways than we can possibly imagine. Ancient literature forms the foundation for Western literary and intellectual tradition that continues to our own day; it provides much of the essential framework for making sense of people, events, and movements throughout the following centuries.
English III : The Renaissance World
The bridge from grammatical precision to articulate writing and speaking is a gradual transition. This year’s programme is a catalyst to that transition where the foundational preparation of the preceding years is moulded into written and spoken form. Students grow in confidence and maturity of language as they address eternal themes of love and fortitude in the context of the great literary masterpieces. The poetry programme, in particular, offers the students a unique insight into the fascinating metaphysical understanding, bridging the students‘ understanding between the physical reality of God’s creation and the metaphysical reality of His hand in action beyond the visible world.
English II : The Christian World
The great play has a pivotal role in the history and literature of the Western World. Understanding the context, construction and characters of the great plays furthers the students’ in-depth dexterity with the English language in its varied forms of verbal. While building upon the previous foundational work, this year’s programme places an emphasis on appreciation and understanding of different genres, periods and styles of writing across the centuries. The comparative analysis of different works is introduced and develops the individual’s ability to form considered opinions of the works in their historical context and meaning. Finally, the influence of Christian thinking and writing is clearly evident across the works studied, emphasising the enduring influence of the Christian tradition on subsequent Western philosophy and thought.
English IV : The Modern World
AS the culminating year of junior cycle English studies, this year’s programme brings the student face-to-face with the Modern World. The student encounters new styles of written expression and explores enduring themes of conflict and loss. It is a study which challenges the student to examine closely the content presented and to look beyond the obvious to the hidden and the implied. The murky reality of man’s fallen nature is explored in critical light. Through thoughtful examination and reasoned learning, the student is empowered to better understand man’s potentiality to act with evil, despite his eternal call to goodness, in the context of rich literary characters; both modern and ancient.