The English Department at Dubai College has an outstanding record of achievement at both IGCSE and A level. The delivery of a challenging and stimulating curriculum aims to enrich students’ experiences, enhance their communication skills and broaden their horizons, promoting a genuine enjoyment of academic study. Writers such as Margaret Atwood and Darren Shan have visited the Department.
English Literature is a popular A level subject and there are usually three or four classes in each of Years 12 and 13. Students in Years 7, 8, 9 are taught in mixed ability classes. All students in the school take both IGCSE English Language (in Year 10) and IGCSE English literature (in Year 11). The Department is well resourced and is in its own stand-alone building, with an excellent range of written and audio-visual resources which supplement the school library. There are currently eight full-time members of the Department plus three part-time teachers.
At Key Stage 3 students will write creatively and analytically, discuss prose, poems and plays and evaluate, debate and respond to a variety of literary, non-fiction and media texts. All students will study a Shakespeare text in each of years 7 to 9, but also modern prose, drama and poetry texts. There is a strong focus on developing students’ speaking and listening skills and also on fostering an enjoyment of reading.
The Edexcel IGCSE English Language and IGCSE English Literature courses develop students’ understanding of the spoken word, their ability to convey meaning through written language and their skills in reading, interpreting and responding to material from a variety of sources.
IGCSE English Language has a focus on non-fiction texts and the examination is taken at the end of Year 10. In June 2018 93% of Year 10 students achieved an A* or an A in IGCSE English Language. IGCSE English Literature is taken at the end of Year 11 and 94% of students achieved an A* or an A in IGCSE English Literature in June 2018.
The qualifications equip students for A Level study and for entry to university but also for a successful life: the development of good English and communication skills is essential to our interactions with others and with the world around us.
The course aims to give the knowledge, skills and understanding that will be needed by students planning to progress to undergraduate study at a higher education establishment, particularly - although not only - in related subject areas. English Literature at A Level might appeal to students because they enjoy reading, or want to learn more about people and what motivates them, or want to read great writers’ ideas about the world, or because they enjoy analysis, or because they want to write more effectively, or because they want to develop transferable communication and critical thinking skills.
The Edexcel English Literature course aims to encourage learners to develop their interest in and enjoyment of literature and literary studies as they: read widely and independently - both set texts and others that they have selected for themselves, engage critically and creatively with a substantial body of texts and ways of responding to them, develop and effectively apply their knowledge of literary analysis and evaluation in writing, and explore the contexts of texts and others’ interpretations of them. This English Literature course will encourage students to be inspired, motivated and challenged by reading a wide range of texts. At A level, students are encouraged to engage with the richness of literature and cultivate their own critical responses, independent study and analytical thinking skills. Examination results are excellent, with the large majority of students achieving A*, A or B grades.
What makes a good teacher at Dubai College?
You have to have a lot of energy. You have to enjoy discussing ideas with students and be prepared to adapt to students’ enthusiasm for debate and for hard work. You have to be adaptable, have a passion for your subject and it certainly helps if you have a good sense of humour.
What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?
Confidence, understanding and empathy in their dealings with others, an ability to articulate their ideas in speech and writing, an ability to analyse, evaluate and understand texts of all kinds, and intellectual curiosity.
In your opinion, what makes Dubai College special?
Dubai College is special because it is a place where students discover more about ideas, the world, and themselves in a supportive environment. Students join a worldwide Dubai College community of like-minded people. Meeting Dubai College alumni is always a pleasure.
Mr M Donovan, Head of English