The members of the Department of English are experts in their field, committed teachers and passionate communicators. They have wide-ranging experiences of teaching the subject, as well as in related disciplines such as drama, creative writing and film. Their diversity adds to the dynamism of the Department and deepens the experience offered to the students.
The English courses have a two-fold design: to inspire a love of literature and learning, and to meet the requirements of the Irish Junior and Leaving Certificate programmes.
Our ambition is that pupils are able to read both critically and sympathetically, and are able to speak and write both clearly and accurately.
In the Junior Cycle programme, the pupils will encounter many texts, including Shakespeare (for example King Henry IV, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, etc.), poetry, and novels (for example Of Mice And Men, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Northern Lights, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, etc.). They will also learn the craft and skills for both essay and functional writing.
We respond to the greater freedom of Transition Year by studying a diverse spectrum of texts, from classics such as Catcher in the Rye, 1984, Brave New World and Heart of Darkness, to modern authors such as Philip Roth, Sebastian Barry, Ian McEwan, Orson Scott Card, and the Pulitzer prize winning graphic novel, Maus, by Art Spiegelman.
The texts for the Leaving Certificate programme are circumscribed by the set curriculum, but the teachers of English carefully pick texts that will appeal to the pupils and their sensibilities. The students are taught to develop their own engagement with the texts, which allows them to bring their own ideas and experiences into play, helping them become more confident and successful.
The Department of English is a progressive and innovative one. We have embraced the potential of information technology in our classroom and are developing more and more resources that enable better teaching and learning using Smart whiteboards. Pupils are encouraged to write and re-write, on paper and on computer, to become their own conscious editors and finally to deliver their work either traditionally or via email. Notwithstanding the potential of modern technologies, we also passionately believe that pupils gain greatly from classroom discussion and focused debate about books, authors and ideas.