We celebrate words and the hidden profundities of language. We sound our “barbaric yawp” in wittily crafting lessons with meaning, rigor, and depth. We like the novel as a form of narrative expression. We uphold the sacred values of structured writing found within the five-paragraph essay.

All 7-12 English classes at JFK offer Partner and Mother Tongue courses with an American curriculum that upholds the four pillars of the language classroom: reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking. Mother and Partner Tongue courses offer different targeted language skills appropriate to student needs. All courses provide differentiated instruction and accommodations for myriad learning needs. Students may advance from Partner Tongue courses through a teacher recommendation, a parent letter of permission, and a writing evaluation. Students in all classes learn to value and respect other cultures.

Students in English 7 learn the basic foundations of literary study by closely reading texts of rich socio-historical significance. The fundamentals of the paragraph are honed throughout the year culminating in a multi-paragraph essay. Students also learn basic literary terminology, including plot, conflict, character, and narrative perspective. Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling curriculum are also reinforced in the class – and especially at the partner-tongue level. Themes of dystopia and adolescent transformation emerge in this engaging course.

Students in English 8 continue building on the literary foundations scaffolded in English 7 as they explore themes of identity, race, and “outsiders”. The multi-paragraph essay gradually becomes the norm for assessment. Basic form and content relationships are discussed in regards to texts read in class. Students widen their knowledge of literary devices and apply them in order to gain an academic voice and content in their writing.

Students in English 9 are established multi-paragraph writers that continue to sharpen their writing skills. Complex themes such as conformity, racial tension, and memory are explored in order to cultivate culturally aware learners. Focus on devices such as tragedy, memoir, and symbolism allow students to sharpen their literary terminology and appreciation.

Students in English 10 benefit from an established cross-curricular tradition focusing on themes of isolation, class-conflict, and madness. The Cold War study in History combined with dystopian literature in English produces a rich unit of study. In cross-curricular collaboration with the German department, the 10th graders also visit Hohenschönhausen (a former Stasi prison) to enrich the course experience. Students learn the techniques of propaganda and understand the persuasive power of rhetoric in our image-saturated world.

Students in English 11 choose between an Advance Placement Leistungskurs or Grundkurs. The AP/LK course prepares students for success on the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition exam offered in May. Advanced Placement credits can offer students credit at U.S. and U.K. universities. The American Literature emphasis in English 11 provides students a rich array of texts focusing on American dreams and fallacies, immigration, and racial divides.
Students learn the craft of literary analysis as an art.

Students in English 12 receive a British Literature curriculum in the first semester with a world literature focus in the second semester. Students are prepared for both the Abitur and Advanced Placement Literature and Language exams. Students learn the function of archetypes and the precarious role of fate in relation to the human experience. The world literature unit allows students access to more contemporary concerns such as immigration, media in society, and cross-cultural identity. Students in AP Language study argumentation, rhetoric, and logic through a wide variety of literary texts.

Students write a formal MLA research paper in all courses 7-12 on a topic of the teacher’s choice. The paper is usually built around a theme or historical time period established in a novel or play from the course.

One Barbaric Yawp award is given per grade level in recognizing especially creative, insightful, or original writing.

The JFK English Department supports the creative publication haywire – a collection of student art works. The student-led magazine highlights student writing achievement and serves as a valuable teaching resource for model essays. Contact haywirejfks@gmail.com for questions.


For questions please contact department chair Walter Connolly at gro.n1539862225ilreb1539862225skfj@1539862225yllon1539862225nocw1539862225.


John F. Kennedy School

Teltower Damm 87-93
14167 Berlin, Germany


Questions about the admissions process: welcome@jfksberlin.org

To submit an application via email: admissions@jfksberlin.org

Elementary School (EC-6)

Phone: + 49 30 90299 5711
Fax: + 49 30 90299 6377
E-mail: elementaryschool@jfksberlin.org

High School (7-12)

American Secretary:
+ 49 30 90299 5758
German Secretary:
+ 49 30 90299 5710
Fax: +49 30 90299 6868
E-mail: highschool@jfksberlin.org