Communication, Rhetoric and the Literary Arts (CRLA)

It is the aim of the Department of Communication, Rhetoric, and the Literary Arts (CRLA) to develop students' ability to use and appreciate the Arabic and English languages, both orally and in written discourse, to cultivate their facility for verbal analysis and persuasive writing, and to introduce them to the major forms of literary expression. During their years at King's Academy, students progress systematically towards these goals. In addition to regular writing tasks, they participate in discussions and presentations to learn how to express themselves confidently before an audience and prepare them for a life of cultural interactions, academic pursuits, political and social engagement. Students extend their knowledge of the grammatical and literary complexities of language as well as its development, structure and beauty. Students study both Arabic and English in separate, year-long courses for four years, respectively.

Because King’s Academy attracts and welcomes students from around the world for whom English is a second or third language, the CRLA department seeks to ensure all students entering the school have the opportunity to receive additional support as needed. The regular English program is supplemented with an additional series of English courses in the English Language and Composition program, which students may be required to take before embarking on the study of a third language. Similarly, students with limited exposure to the Arabic language who need to develop a firmer grounding in the fundamentals of Arabic are required to enroll in an intermediate program offered at three levels before joining the regular Arabic language and literature program.

After building a strong foundation in the study of composition and literature at the start of their education at King’s Academy, juniors and seniors are given an opportunity to plan a course of study that challenges their proficiencies and engages their interests. The CRLA department – both the Arabic and English branches – offer two types of upper-level courses: seminars and portfolio courses, which allow students to focus on themes and genres, leading to original work that demonstrates mastery of concepts, skills and habits of mind.

Seminars are topics-based literature courses for juniors and seniors that develop critical perspectives on literary texts through careful reading and sustained discussion. A supportive classroom culture encourages and rewards inquiry, creativity, and shared responsibility for intellectual exploration. The primary focus of these courses will be effective reading and critical analysis of literature in a variety of contexts (such as cultural, social, historical and literary contexts) and with a variety of supplemental materials (such as art, film, historical documents and literary criticism). Students will develop a sensitivity to and appreciation for the power of carefully chosen words. They will explore the relationship of literary works to their own personal relationships, professional lives, and contributions as world citizens and leaders. Students will reflect on their reading and writing process to understand themselves and the world and to make decisions based on that reflection. Seminars will culminate in a capstone project in which students prepare a public presentation of their research and analysis.

Portfolio courses allow juniors and seniors to pursue original work focused on argumentative and persuasive genres of writing. Instruction is geared toward development of writing skills, as well as the understandings and habits of mind essential to the form. Emphasis is placed on process over product. Instructors provide regular feedback on written work and foster a collaborative, supportive classroom culture of literary practitioners. Regular readings from a diverse array of authors provide students with models to analyze, emulate and imitate. One focus for analysis throughout the course is the relationship between form and function. Each student’s style and voice is cultivated through the study of authors’ styles and voices; indeed, students begin to read as writers hoping to learn from the masters. Portfolio courses lead to a public sharing of student work.