Composing an Exceptional English Program

Posted by BASIS.ed on February 5, 2020 at 12:23 PM

Reading and writing are the building blocks of learning. When students have a strong foundation in language and literacy, it opens up the door to academic and professional success. It also helps them expand their worldview, appreciate different perspectives, and communicate effectively with others­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­—essential skills in today’s global market. At BASIS Charter Schools, we understand the importance of providing students with an internationally competitive education that will prepare them for future success. That’s why our English program is a cornerstone of the BASIS Charter School Curriculum, spanning from developing language and literacy skills to high-level literary analysis and advanced composition.

Designed to challenge and inspire

While the BASIS Charter School Curriculum provides a framework for the English program, our talented Subject Expert Teachers bring it to life in the classroom. All of our English teachers are content experts who extend their knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to students, leading lessons with creativity and purpose.

Our teachers have a great deal of autonomy in the classroom. Robin Martin, a grade 6 English teacher at BASIS San Antonio Shavano, remarks, “The freedom at BASIS [Charter Schools] is remarkable. I love that I can teach what would traditionally be considered material for grades 8 and 9 to students in grade 6. I love that the administration supports creative approaches to content.” BASIS Charter School teachers have the ability to present subject matter in their own way, and design rigorous and engaging courses with lessons that appeal to students’ different learning styles.

Through the lens of literature

Our English teachers find this autonomy greatly beneficial when choosing reading materials. While keeping fundamental requirements in mind, they strive to choose a wide range of literature to resonate with students. “We cover different genres (from poems and short stories to drama and novels) and different time periods (from the Renaissance through Post-Modernism), and we read works from both the Western and non-Western canon,” says BASIS San Antonio Shavano AP Literature and Composition teacher Kim Kinne.

student and teacher tutoring

As students engage with a wide variety of texts, they simultaneously sharpen their comprehension and critical thinking skills through literary analysis. Our English teachers encourage students to approach every text critically, and soon students come to appreciate literature at a higher level. As Ms. Kinne explains, “Great authors help us understand the human condition and wrestle with the questions that have intrigued us for millennia—they eloquently give voice to what we intuitively feel but can’t always express.” By the time BASIS Charter School students complete the English program, they no longer see a novel as simply words on a page, but as a lens through which they can view situations from many perspectives.

The art of essay writing

Just as fundamental as approaching a text critically, is the ability to convey ideas and connections gathered from the text in writing. BASIS San Antonio Shavano English teacher Mark Petrie explains this, stating, “Students learn how to recognize connotations in the texts that they read, and how to make logical connections and strong arguments. This not only improves their writing, but helps them to be more creative, critical thinkers.”

BASIS Charter School English teachers recognize that effective writing is an essential part of communication, and a critical skill for academic and professional success, so they try to infuse writing into every lesson. “[My students] practice writing in-class literary essays to prepare for the AP Exam®, and write essays based on literature and interdisciplinary projects,” says Mr. Petrie. By the time students are ready to work on their Senior Projects—an intensive, self-directed, original research project—they have mastered organizing their thoughts and arguments into a well-crafted paper.

Beyond guiding students to achieve academic success, BASIS Charter School English teachers strive to instill a lifelong love of reading and writing in them. “When a student reads a book that I mentioned on their own and comes back to me and wants to talk about it— when a student becomes interested in exploring literature outside the classroom— that is the most rewarding element of what I do,” says Mr. Petrie. That’s the true magic of teaching English at BASIS Charter Schools.

teacher helping student

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Topics: For Everyone