Teaching English at Hebron is very rewarding. It is a subject that lends itself to varied and interesting discussions raised by the texts being studied and the writing topics. Being a Christian school, it is wonderful to be able to look at what Scripture has to say about these issues compared to society's views.
We believe in teaching texts that are excellent examples of literature and language, but that are also inspiring and challenging to us as individuals and especially as Christians. Some are classics (some students would never read these otherwise) and others are modern texts. The Bible itself, is of course, great literature: it has stood the test of time, has universal appeal, uses a wide variety of writing styles, is artistic, has emotional and individual appeal, and most of all, is God's true Word to us. As the Bible and man's writings reflect our inner thoughts, desires and experiences, the study of these books help us understand ourselves and others. In Philippians 4:8 God instructs us:"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things."
As we study literature, we believe our students will become more discriminating and discerning, enabling them to distinguish between what is true and valuable, and what is superficial and transitory. Not all literature is good. Some should be avoided entirely, even burned as we see in Acts 19: 18-20. Other literature should be read with careful discernment.
Good English skills are essential for understanding all other subjects. As students develop skills in oral, visual and written language and presentation their confidence in other areas grows. A good command of English is essential for gaining access to tertiary institutions and for further study.
The courses for the Year 9
and Year 10
classes establish a good foundation for later, more advanced study of English. The students cover a wide range of literature and language topics, concentrating on close reading skills and accurate, expressive writing. Listening and viewing skills are also developed, as students study advertising, static images and films. They may produce a newspaper, a short film of their own or a short drama performance. Independent research skills are also introduced and each student will participate in a class debate or produce a formal speech. Some NCEA Level 1 English achievement standards are offered in Year 10, which allows students to relieve some of the stress and pressure of the senior years and allows more flexibility in these courses.
The Year 11
, Year 12
and Year 13
courses develop an understanding of deeper themes and attitudes as well as a greater appreciation of the ways in which writers use language to achieve their effects and influence their readers. At each level, at least 22 out of 24 NCEA credits are offered. Having smaller senior classes enables the teachers to give students more individual attention and tutoring, and therefore, students are more likely to reach their potential. At Years 11 and 12, English is compulsory, but is optional at Year 13. If students do not study English at Year 13, it is imperative that they achieve their literacy credits at Year 12 in order to access tertiary study.
We are proud of the achievements of our students and wish them an enjoyable and successful year studying English.
Year 9 & 10 Writer's Festival
In Term 2 the Year 9 and 10 classes attended the Auckland Writer’s Festival at Aotea Centre. The Writer’s Festival is an annual week-long festival consisting of workshops and sessions by famous authors from both New Zealand and overseas. Special sessions are put on during the week for school age children and this year our classes were able to see several famous writers, including Irish author John Boyne, author of the renowned The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. There was also an entertaining lecture on Shakespearean language and a talk by the popular American author, Michael Grant, whose books many of the students have read. A more serious talk was given by author New Zealand author Jane Higgins about the importance of finding a message of hope in Young Adult Fiction. Overall the day was a great success, and one of our students even managed to get a book signed by John Boyne. The students left the event excited and talking about their favourite auth ors with a resounding consensus to come back next year.
We would like to congratulate all those who participated in the Speech Competition this year and of course, the winners. All the speeches were inspiring, full of wisdom for students and adults alike and showed how wonderfully grounded the students are in their faith. The decision was a difficult one.
The results are:
First: Nikhil Chauhan
Second: Joshua Winson
First: Damita Mathew
Second: Sarah Scott
Third: Joel Collecutt
Congratulations once again! We are proud of you all!
Secondary Speech Competition
|Junior Secondary 1st Nikhil Chauhan,
2nd Joshua Winson
|Senior Secondary (l to r) 2nd Sarah Scott,
1st Damita Mathew, 3rd Joel Collecutt
Senior Students' Visit to the Popup Globe
In Term One, our Y11, 12 and 13 students attended a performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Popup Globe. God looked after us so well! Besides the theatre being a replica of Shakespeare's original Globe in London, we even had authentic London weather - grey and drizzling! However, it did not drizzle until we were inside and we were given covered seats on the middle tier - a perfect vantage point. We had expected to have to stand for 3 hours with the groundlings in the rain. Here are some comments from some of the students who attended the performance:
"I really enjoyed the overall atmosphere and excitement that being in an authentic theatre experience gave." Ruby
"I absolutely loved it! Shakespeare has never been so interesting!" Lauren
"I loved the great, convincing acting and the audience involvement was superb." Abigail
"... a lot more interesting that I thought it would be." Joel
"It was an amazing experience! ... so cool to go with the school." Madeleine
" ... the actors really brought the play to life."
" ... amazing and hilarious ..." Sophia
A room with a view.
Year 13s enjoying their English lesson on the balcony in the sun.