Communication, Rhetoric and the Literary Arts (CRLA)


ENG101: Reading and Writing Workshop 7

Seventh graders form an authentic community of readers and writers with a goal of transforming middle schoolers into self-identified authors and book lovers. The emphases in this course are agency, choice, fluency and volume. Students are challenged to read more than 25 books of their own choosing in the year at a minimum and to write more than they have ever produced before using an in-class system of checklists, notebooks and portfolios. In addition, they study titles as a whole class. The reading and writing workshop approach lends students ample choice and real reasons to explore subjects that matter to them as individuals. They learn to read like writers and to make purposeful, reflective decisions across a complete writing process that includes playing the role of professional editors. Students receive regular, one-on-one feedback from the teacher through conferences and comments.

ENG201: Reading and Writing Workshop 8

Eighth graders build on the previous year’s volume of reading and writing, adding greater confidence, skill development, and sentence mastery. The emphases remain agency, choice, fluency and volume, but students are encouraged to attempt literary classics and to develop a personal writing style, so they leave more than prepared to handle the reading and writing load when they enter the Upper School. In addition to reading more than 25 books in the year independently, students begin to analyze and read complex texts as a whole class. Harkness discussions and book clubs develop student habits and a community of literary scholars. The reading and writing workshop approach continues to provide ample individual choice at the same time there is a greater emphasis on expository writing, leading to a multi-page personal essay in the winter term. Students continue to receive regular, one-on-one feedback from the teacher through conferences and comments.

ENG301: Language and Composition 1

The goal of this course is to help students improve their reading and writing skills. By the end of this course, students read with confidence. But reading is not only about looking at words and pronouncing them. It is also about analyzing and understanding hidden meanings in texts. Students therefore also learn to make inferences about the texts they read. By becoming better readers, students also learn new vocabulary and structures they can use in their writing. Since writing is a form of expression that students will need for the rest of their lives, this course is useful not only for supporting their English class but also for any course requiring academic proficiency in English.

ENG302: Language and Composition 2

The goal of this course is to help English language learners to write coherent and logical academic English. They improve with feedback across a full writing process, as well as exercises in reading comprehension. The classroom is a collaborative space, using class activities and assignments to become better readers and writers together. Significant class time is dedicated to expanding academic vocabulary and reviewing the basic rules of grammar. All these outcomes prepare a foundation for successful continuation of studies in the Upper School at King’s.

ENG303: Introduction to Literary Genres

Ninth graders at King's Academy step into the Upper School and join an inquisitive, dynamic and formative literary community. As readers, they analyze texts in a variety of genres — poems, stories, novels, screenplays and essays — to inform their own projects as writers, developing greater confidence, expression and stamina. Through a workshop model, students engage in an authentic writing process in which they work intimately with their own ideas to refine and develop their craft. The reading curriculum provides students with both choice and rigor, utilizing a combination of whole-class and independent texts. The goal is for students become avid readers for life. In addition, students review the fundamentals of English grammar and syntax and expand their vocabularies to enhance their reading and sense of diction, building a toolbox for reading and writing mastery.

ENG350: Introduction to Literary Genres (Accelerated)

Accelerated English courses in grades 9 and 10 are designed for students who have demonstrated the motivation, self-discipline, ability and academic readiness to read and explore more difficult texts in greater depth and complexity, as well as to meet more challenging expectations in their written work.

ENG401: Language and Composition 3

The goal of this course is to improve students’ reading comprehension and academic writing. Specifically, the course helps students effectively organize their thoughts and ideas, analyze different types of texts, and respond to key ideas. Students read and discuss academic texts, further building their analytical reading skills. They also build accuracy in their writing by noticing and editing common grammatical and mechanical errors.

ENG403: Arabic Literature in a Global Context

This 10th grade course familiarizes students with trends and developments in Arabic literature over the late 19th, 20th and early 21st centuries. Students practice close reading with Arabic literature in translation and with texts by Arab writers written in English. To facilitate discussions in a global context, the study of Arab writers is supported by translations and texts from other cultures. One major focus of the course is for students to develop the ability to criticize texts and to structure their arguments in analytic essays, which helps them understand and interact with political, social and economic issues in the Arab world. Texts may include, but are not limited to Ghassan Kanafani’s Men in the Sun and Returning to Haifa, Nawal Saadawi’s Woman at Point Zero, and Hisham Matar’s In the Country of Men. In addition, students study poetry by writers such as Mahmoud Darwish, Ahmed Shauqi, and Nizar Qabbani. Dramatic literature from the region may include Shahid Nadeem’s Dara and Sa’adallah Wannous’s The King’s Elephant.

ENG450: Arabic Literature in a Global Context (Accelerated)

Accelerated English courses in grades 9 and 10 are designed for students who have demonstrated sufficient motivation, self-discipline, ability and academic readiness to read and explore more difficult texts in greater depth and complexity, and to meet more challenging expectations in their written work.

ENG501: Elements of Argument and Style

This course prepares students for the rigorous academic writing expected in upper-level portfolio and seminar classes, as well as in colleges and universities. The focus is on helping students develop persuasive, audience-focused, expository writing that reflects the beginnings of individual voice and style. Daily lessons and engaging practices facilitate mastery of correct conventions, fluent sentence mechanics, effective rhetorical techniques, and compelling usage of English diction and idiom.

ENG601: Seminar: Lost in Translation

This course provides a bilingual learning environment where the Arabic and English languages are given equal status and instructional attention. It is designed to simultaneously develop fluency and content knowledge in both languages. In the course, texts are read and discussed in both idioms, and the approach is thematic and comparative: students examine how certain issues — love, coming-of-age, family, gender roles, women’s issues, food, culture and traditions — are treated by Arabs and Westerners. This course also helps students take into consideration the cultural, political and historical contexts of the texts read or watched. Class assignments and activities are designed to develop students’ skills in reading, critical analysis, academic writing, collaborative work and oral presentations. In addition, the course deepens their understanding of global citizenship, one of King’s Academy’s guiding principles. Students also present a capstone project to demonstrate their understanding and application of the course goals.

Prerequisite: An excellent mark in Accelerated Literature & Cultural studies (ARA450) in addition to head of department consent. (This course was previously listed as Arabic Language and Literature 2).

ENG602: Seminar: Gender in Literature and Film

“Is it a boy or a girl?” Even from before birth, our gender tells us who we are. It shapes our environment, our relationships, our activities, our career — almost every aspect of our life is limited based on this one classification. But what does it mean to be a man or a woman, and why? To what degree should our bodies control us? And how do culture, family, religion, and other social factors change the meaning of gender? In this course, students explore and develop arguments verbally and in writing as they examine gender in literature, film and culture, asking difficult questions that reach the core of this thorny issue. Why is there a sexual double standard, and how do we escape it? Is feminism a Western colonial ideology, or is there a place for women’s equality in the modern Middle East? How are dating and marriage different in different cultures and for different people — and is one form better? Why are LBGTQ+ people still feared and hated in so many parts of the world? Is gender a binary or a spectrum, and where do gender non-conformists fit in? This course requires maturity, cultural and personal sensitivity, and the ability to hear and consider competing perspectives in an environment of curiosity, empathy, mutual respect and self-reflection.

ENG603: Seminar: Historical Fiction

In this course, students explore the relationship between the complementary and intersecting disciplines of literature and history. By reading historical fiction alongside historical documents, students explore the historical framework that inspires and inhabits many great works of literature. Students also analyze the constructed and literary nature of historical narrative itself. Furthermore, students investigate the dangers and the value of historical fiction: its ability to distort the historical record as well as its ability to transcend it by capturing the essence of human involvement in history in ways that nonfiction accounts cannot. Participants also explore the way that reading historical fiction functions as a projection of contemporary concerns, helping us to learn about ourselves, our time, and even our future.

ENG604: Seminar: Plays on the Page and Stage

This course invites critical readers, thoughtful writers, and experienced actors to hone their capacity for literary analysis, boost their acting skills, and develop a director’s vision. In the first semester students read great plays from world theater reflecting literary, historical and psychological themes. They alternate Harkness-style discussion with actors’ studio-style scene study. Having established a common language to coach the most honest acting out of one another, acting partners critique scenes from plays. Students use mini-research topics for short, colorful presentations that explore the concrete world of each play, and they carry out several integrated writing projects combining acting techniques and script analysis. Toward the end of the second semester, students pick one of the works previously read for performance in late April. Students drive all components of this spring production, allowing them to develop some basic skills in at least one aspect of technical theater, and to demonstrate their accumulated learning throughout the year. In the final weeks of class, as they turn to life after King’s, the actors prepare a classical and contemporary audition monologue. Students must elect whether this cross-listed course will count for either an Art or an English credit.

ENG605: Seminar: The Art and Literature of Immigration and Occupation

As global citizens we are regularly confronted with the harsh reality of occupation as well as with the challenges of voluntary and involuntary immigration. In this course, students explore the ways art and literature have responded to these realities in order to better understand the deep and meaningful relationship between people and place. For example, they might study how writers and artists have offered subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle critiques of the forced migration of Syrian refugees, or how they reluctantly embrace immigration to the West. They may survey how people in occupied territories throughout history have used language and art to challenge colonial authority. As an introduction to postcolonial studies, the course acquaints students with the powerful creative responses to colonialism and its aftermath and also provides students with an analytical framework for contemporary literature and art.

ENG 606: Seminar: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Dystopia

Speculative fiction — a term that usually includes science fiction, fantasy, utopian and dystopian writing, horror, and stories of the supernatural — has for centuries allowed writers and readers to escape reality. But speculative fiction simultaneously gives us the tools to imagine a different — and perhaps better — future, both for ourselves and for those who will come after us. Students in this course read and write different kinds of speculative fiction and consider what these fantastical stories can teach us about the realities of human nature and about our evolution as individuals and as a species. Students also consider the wide range of ethical and philosophical problems posed by this body of literature, including questions about the nature of truth and knowledge, power, science, colonialism and capitalism, free will, cultural differences, and human identity. As in all English seminar courses, students are expected to read attentively, to ask questions meaningful to them, and to intensively pursue these lines of inquiry in daily conversation and in well-crafted essays.

Note: Not offered in 2019-2020

ENG611: Portfolio: The Art of Nonfiction

Can non-fiction be art? This portfolio course for juniors and seniors is designed to develop the habits, skills, understandings, and yes, the art of nonfiction writers.  Numerous subgenres of nonfiction are studied and developed in writing projects, potentially to include reviews, guides, studies of people and places, newspaper- and magazine-style reportage, reports, memoirs, manifestos, as well as conceptual and personal essays. The work of master practitioners of nonfiction is read, analyzed and used as examples. Process is a major emphasis: idea generation, research, interviewing, drafting, revising and editing, critical and creative thinking. Students have the opportunity to submit work to authentic outlets for publication. In addition, students develop a considerable portfolio of work throughout the year that prepares them for the writing demands they will encounter at the university and professional levels.

ENG612: Portfolio: The Art of Poetry

This course introduces students to the close reading, study and appreciation of poetry through the ages, connecting it to its ancient origins and contemporary expressions in spoken word and song. The course studies the poet as aesthetic rebel and political revolutionary (in Romanticism, Modernism, and the school of “free” verse initiated by Walt Whitman), the poet as playwright (exploring poetry’s relationship to politics and leadership), and the poet as singer-songwriter. Units of inquiry examine poetry’s relationship to other art forms (painting and prose fiction), social-science disciplines (psychology) and modern movements (environmentalism). Students are required to complete weekly reading journals, write their own poems in imitation of ancient and modern masters, and memorize a small play list of favorite poems.

ENG613: Portfolio: Creative Writing

Creative Writing dips into four different genres: journaling/personal narrative, short fiction, poetry/songwriting/rap, and drama/screenplays. This variety, while by no means comprehensive, is meant to inspire, giving students a short taste of a wide range of creative expression and writing styles. The course focuses primarily on writing and the writing process though there are weekly model texts drawn from regional and world authors that the students explore, challenge and imitate. The class writes daily, shares weekly, workshops regularly, and works purposefully to create submission-quality pieces through intensive revision. At the culmination of each unit, students create a genre portfolio, featuring 15-20 pages of polished work and a reflection on their progress and process. This course strives to instill a culture of writing; writing is not an obligation or chore, but rather a necessary, engaging, dynamic, and deeply personal form of expression. While this course offers a lot of freedom, it also requires responsibility and self-discipline. Creative Writing seeks to push students beyond their academic comfort zone while simultaneously fostering a sense of self-confidence in their written voice.

Eng701: Advanced Portfolio: The Art of Argumentation (AP Language and Composition)

We live in the age of argument — the angry, illogical, forceful negation of language and meaning — but this course teaches and celebrates the art of argumentation, the skillful exercise of rhetoric as an avenue to inquiry. With that goal in mind, students develop the reading, writing and thinking skills necessary to meet the challenge of the Advanced Placement examination in Language and Composition, which asks students to demonstrate a deep understanding of the principles and elements of rhetoric and language in order to pursue meaning. Students enrolled in this course are challenged to read sophisticated nonfiction from many disciplines and to write in many modes for a variety of audiences and purposes. In their quest for excellence, students should expect to build towards a mastery of grammar and mechanics, both as a discrete skill set and as part of the organic whole of any composed text. As noted above, students must sit for the AP Language and Composition exam in May.

Prerequisite: Requires approval of the department head

ENG702: Advanced Seminar: Provocative Voices in Literature (AP Literature and Composition)

The course title — Provocative Voices in Literature — has not been chosen lightly; students should expect to be startled, amused, comforted and afflicted as the texts they encounter will challenge some certainties they have about themselves or their world, even as the authors celebrate the dignity of all humans. In this college-level course, students read literature from several genres and from different periods, ranging from classic and contemporary American and British texts to translations from a variety of cultures. They respond to the literature in discussion and in writing. Authentic engagement demands close reading, that is, the slow, careful examination of the literal, metaphoric and symbolic meanings of each text as it pertains to the culture from which it originates and to the immediate, contemporary culture of the student. Students write both analytical essays and creative pieces, but always with the intention of deepening their comprehension of the craft and the magic of literature. The expectations for writing efforts are high: accomplished students compose sophisticated, well-organized arguments while demonstrating a command of diction and a recognition of what it means to write with style. Finally, students must sit for the AP Literature and Composition exam in May.

Prerequisite: Requires approval of the department head

ENG801: Advanced Inquiry: Film Studies

Film, arguably the most powerful mass medium in history, shapes identity, culture, ideology and desire. In this course, students harness its great power by studying the formal elements of film, including narrative, cinematography, editing, mise-en-scène, acting and sound. Using these fundamental building blocks, students write and present insightful and well-supported arguments that articulate how filmic form contributes to function and meaning in classical and contemporary films from around the world. Subsequent units in the course might include a survey of film genre, a study of a single auteur director, an introduction to film theory, a survey of film history, or a closer look at the filmic traditions of a particular region of the world. Students also apply their study of film to filmmaking, as they work in groups to write, produce and edit their own short film, which they will present in a public forum. This is an advanced course that requires a significant time commitment, as students watch a variety of films, write and revise critical essays, and produce their own film. Students taking this course should also be prepared to confront and discuss films that present controversial perspectives and mature subject matter. Students may use this course to replace either a seminar or a portfolio course.

Prerequisite: AP Language and Composition, AP Capstone Seminar, or permission of the instructor