English & Literacy

The English Curriculum

Principles Underlying The English Curriculum

The English curriculum is based on the belief that language learning is critical to responsible and productive citizenship, and that all students can become successful language learners. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills that they need to achieve this goal. It aims to help students become successful language learners.

Research has shown that when students are given opportunities to choose what they read and what they write about, they are more likely to discover and pursue their own interests. In keeping with this finding, the curriculum requires that students select some of the texts they read and decide on the topic, purpose, and audience for some of the works they produce.

In implementing this curriculum, teachers will help students to see that language skills are lifelong learning skills that will enable them to better understand themselves and others, unlock their potential as human beings, find fulfilling careers, and become responsible world citizens.

The Importance of Literacy, Language, and The English Curriculum

“Literacy is about more than reading or writing – it is about how we communicate in society. It is about social practices and relationships, about knowledge, language and culture. Those who use literacy take it for granted – but those who cannot use it are excluded from much communication in today’s world. Indeed, it is the excluded who can best appreciate the notion of “literacy as freedom”-UNESCO, Statement for the United Nations Literacy Decade, 2003–2012.

Literacy development is a communal project, and the teaching of literacy skills is embedded across the Ontario curriculum. However, it is the English curriculum that is dedicated to developing the knowledge and skills on which literacy is based – that is, knowledge and skills in the areas of listening and speaking, reading, writing, and viewing and representing.

Language skills are developed across the curriculum and, cumulatively, through the grades. Students use and develop important language skills as they read and think about topics, themes, and issues in various subject areas. As they move through the secondary school program, they are required to use language with ever-increasing accuracy and fluency in an expanding range of situations. They are also expected to assume responsibility for their own learning and to apply their language skills in more challenging and complex ways.