News from the English Department

16 May 2013

Head of English Mr Grant Hudson B.A. and dynamic new English Teacher Mr David Hutt have been very busy this year implementing projects and initiatives designed to arm students with the ability to apply their English skills to the creation of tangible products of which they can be proud, such as impressive film productions and magazine publications.

As parents already know, the school announced its intention to switch over to the new IGCSE (International GCSE) syllabus; this transition is now in full swing in the English department, with all lesson plans and activities now fully aligned with the Cambridge-based IGCSE curriculum.
Here are a few examples of what is happening in the Greenfields English department to nurture students’ innate literary talents:

· The school had several successful entrants into the national ‘Young Writers short story and poem competition’. Their works went on to be published in a nationally recognized text, a copy of which was presented to aspiring authors.

· Students now regularly produce their own school magazine. They each decide on something to contribute to the publication, and proceed to bring their ideas to life. Many skills are used in its production including writing, cartooning and story writing. In coordination with both the English and the ICT departments, each would-be publisher creates his or her individual page using software like Photoshop and Publisher, thereby honing computer design skills, encouraging students to work as a team and cultivating within participants the viewpoint that a valuable exchangeable product should spring from their creative efforts. Students even manage the proceeds of the finished magazine, electing whether or not to invest funds in more advanced software, superior paper quality, prize money, etc.

· In liaison with the Greenfields Drama department (and as a warm up for the Greenfields Theatre Company production in July), the English students of years 7 to 9 have been putting together a ‘Horror Com’ movie – all created, written and produced exclusively by the students themselves. Each student has elected a specific role as part of the production crew, be it an actor, a director, a cameraman, an editor or one of the many other key roles needed to put a production of this nature together. The Horror Com is the latest in a series of recent student-created productions in the English department, including an impressive series of films involving such themes as human rights and anti-bullying.

But the biggest news of all this year is the staggering boom in the sheer volume of reading that’s occurring in the Greenfields English department. As L. Ron Hubbard pointed out in an article entitled ‘Teacher’s Hat:

“…it is quantity of easily read material which produces the result rather than minute perfection at the start. The keynote is familiarity gained by quantity rather than particular beginning accuracy.”

“Spelling and grammar almost can be neglected if a properly intense reading programme is carried forward in sufficient quantity.”

In the spirit of these words the Greenfields reading game, originally masterminded by Mr Hudson as part of a published series of Hudson literary programmes, was re-launched. In this ground-breaking initiative, students advance through a series of ‘statuses’ as their quantity of reading increases. Increasingly desirable privileges are attainable as readers rise from lowly ‘Squires of Reading’ towards the ultimate goal of becoming a ‘King or Queen of Reading’. The figures of this fun and enlightening game speak for themselves, with over 40,000 pages of reading having been achieved in just the last term alone by an inspired army of avid readers in the Greenfields Upper School.

The Greenfields English Department