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English and Literature

The English Language and Literature Department adopts a variety of strategies to engage students in both English Language and Literature learning.

To create a community of dynamic learners and to provide platforms for independent thinking, routines and tools such as Chalk Talk and Padlet are harnessed in the teaching of writing. For example, Chalk Talk is employed to allow students to generate their own viewpoints, respond to their peers’ viewpoints, and to adopt multiple perspectives when addressing an issue.

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As part of the Oral Communication Module for English Language, all Secondary One and Three students showcase individual oral presentations. These presentation opportunities not only help build students’ confidence in public speaking, but they also train students to be critical thinkers and empathetic communicators.

The Extensive Reading Programme encourages students to read widely via exposure to different genre and activities. During Reading Periods, students are given extracts of books or short stories and engage in various activities such as ‘Hot Seating’, ‘Freeze Frame, writing of alternative endings, and/or discussions to enhance their understanding of the texts. The Extensive Reading Programme is also connected to aspects of the English curriculum such as oral communication tasks or writing tasks.

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Words Go Round

In conjunction with the Singapore Writers Festival, talks are organised for all Secondary One students. In 2019, a talk titled, “What Makes a Good Story”, was given by Mr Kenneth Kwek, a local author and screenwriter who recently published a children’s book, “Timothy and the Phubbers’.

The main aim of the talk was to introduce students to story writing strategies and methods shared by a Singapore writer. During the one-hour session, Mr Kwek shared some interesting details about his background as a screenwriter, film director and author. He went on to give students a few tips on how to make stories more interesting and engaging to readers.

As a continuation from the session, all Secondary One students engaged in writing their own stories collaboratively and individually. At the same time, students were also given the opportunity to participate in a few essay writing competitions which include the Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition 2019 in May and the New York Times Asia-Pacific Writing Competition 2019 in August.

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Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition

To hone their writing skills about topics that are relevant to the world today as well as to further develop critical and creative thinking skills, students are encouraged to participate in the Commonwealth Essay Competition to express their views, ideas and stories about global issues in various written forms.

The theme for 2019 was “A Connected Commonwealth”. It focussed on the different ways cultural, technological and environmental connections could be used by everyone across the globe to provide for positive change across the Commonwealth. The competition was well received by Woodgrovers.

Congratulations to Julia Thet Mon Soe from 3E1, whose poem, ‘At All Costs’, was selected as one of the Gold Award Finalists in 2019! Her poem can be found here.

Choral Reading in Literature

Choral reading allows students to experience the art of performative literature. Through choral reading, students are given the opportunity to explore how words can be expressed in various tones, and used to create atmosphere. Students also cultivate the value of teamwork as they coordinate the various elements and discuss how best to present their choral reading piece. Through this activity, they also uncover the complex relationships and feelings of the various characters from poems they study. As such, students also cultivate the value of empathy, as they are required to explore various perspectives and understand the themes in the poems.

National Schools Literature Festival

Selected Secondary Two and Three Literature students participate in the National Schools Literature Festival. In 2019, on 20 July, students participated in the Choral Reading and Set Text Debate competitions respectively. This festival allowed students to engage with Literature students from other schools and exchange ideas about the Literature texts they study. It also provided them an opportunity to work independently in teams, while broadening and deepening their knowledge and skills in the subject.

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Literature Trail

Students embark on a Literature Trail on Singapore Poetry to discover how poetry can illuminate various perspectives about Singapore and her development through various poems like Merlion by Darren Shiau and Placenames by Boey Kim Cheng. Students visit various locations around Singapore and engage in a different activity at each location. Students analyse a variety of poems, present their ideas to their friends and even conduct research about the locations. The trail enables students to cultivate a deeper sense of understanding and belonging to Singapore. The presentations also challenge students to venture beyond their comfort zones and cultivate confidence in expressing their analyses and views. Students also learn to appreciate the value of learning from one another during their friends’ presentations.

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Theatre Excursions

Our Secondary Three Literature students watch theatre performances each year which allow them to learn about the workings of theatre and drama as a genre in Literature. Through the plays, students became more aware about the issues in today’s world and learn about the complexities of the human condition. Post-show dialogues allow students to deepen their understanding of the plays and share their perspectives.

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