JFKS HS ENGLISH DEPARTMENT
All 7-12 English classes at JFKS offer Partner and Mother Tongue courses with an American curriculum that cover the following English competencies: reading, writing, speaking, listening, research, grammar, vocabulary, 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.
ENGLISH 7: Foundations of Storytelling
Students in English 7 learn the basic foundations of English competencies through closely reading a variety of texts including short stories, plays, poems, and novels. 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 and vocabulary are also reinforced in the class – and especially at the partner-tongue level.
ENGLISH 8: The Voice of the Individual
Students in English 8 continue building on the English competencies scaffolded in English 7 as they read and explore a variety of texts that highlight the individual experiences of a variety of characters. Students continue to develop their multi-paragraph essay writing skills. Students widen their knowledge of literary devices and apply them in order to gain an academic voice and content in their writing. Grammar and vocabulary continue to be reinforced in the class – and especially at the partner-tongue level.
ENGLISH 9: Individual in Society
Students in English 9 continue to sharpen their multi-paragraph writing skills in order to construct complex, well constructed essays and papers. Students in a mythology unit in order to construct cultural competencies and the ability to recognize common allusions in both spoken and written traditions. Complex themes such as conformity, racial tension, and memory are also explored in order to further cultivate culturally aware learners. Particular focus is put on analytical skills using devices such as tragedy, memoir, and symbolism, allowing students to sharpen their literary terminology and competency.
ENGLISH 10: The Individual’s Place in the World
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 visit Hohenschönhausen, a former Stasi custodial prison for political dissidents, to enrich the overall course experience. Students analyze the techniques of propaganda not only to understand the persuasive power of language in history, but also in today’s world.
ENGLISH 11: American Literary Tradition
11th grade English focuses on literature of the American tradition. Students choose between 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, immigration, and racial divides. Students continue to hone the skills of analytical writing by crafting essays with strong, individual voice.
ENGLISH 12: British and World Literature
In 12th grade English, students study British Literature 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 have the option of taking AP Language in 12th). 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.
The English Department awards the Barbaric Yawp, inspired by Walt Whitman, for the top writing student in 12th grade. These students must consistently demonstrate original, creative, and sharp writing. The English Department also awards a Harvard Book Prize for 11th grade students that demonstrate positive citizenship, stellar writing, and strong contributions to academic discourse in the classroom. The Harvard Awards comes from the Harvard Alumni association in Berlin. Students are invited to a special honorary dinner and receive a book of Harvard grad 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 for questions or visit our website at https://haywire.now.sh/.
STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY
The John F. Kennedy School English Department stands in solidarity with the John F. Kennedy School Equity Group in its commitment to dismantle racism and all types of discrimination.
As teachers of literature and language, we acknowledge the power of words, for both good and ill, and we commit ourselves to educating young people with a sensitivity towards this power.
Finally, in keeping with the first line of the German constitution, die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar, we uphold human dignity through the texts we read and discussions we hold.
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