English A

Mark Twain International School

English A Literature Course Description


There are immense benefits of taking a literary course when in high school, as students will become socially- aware individuals who disseminate transnational mores and customs throughout the ages. Students’ exposure to new sentence structures, vocabulary, and imagery is vastly improved when studying literature. The general misconception is that literature courses are based on retelling ancient stories, an endeavor that does not add value to academic development. However, this detrimental vision is misleading. Literature builds on critical skills, like effective reading, and analytical writing, and speaking. Texts and forms of art that students  analyze may date back to the Middle Ages, but they are fundamental to the formation of a sound thinking process.

Students must think critically about a text in order to sharpen their linguistic and conceptual tools for conducting a literary analysis that reflects an awareness of the inherent ideas and the socio historical implications of these stories (Burke & Troscianko, 2017). Mostly, there are no true or false answers as long as a student justifies their position. Such critical analysis can be applied in any field of study and occupation and sets the foundation for the diversification of their careers.

Teaching Approaches

Unlike other courses where the study is teacher-based and information is passed onto students, literary studies take a different approach. Primarily, the two main approaches to teaching literature are paraphrastic and moral-philosophical based. They act as the base for analysis. While students progress, they are exposed to other approaches like personal-response approach, information-based approach, and the stylistic approach. The latter approaches are solely based on what the student can deliver throughout the learning process. The course tackles the expansion from canonical literature to modern and postmodern works that mirror the evolution of humanity itself. The students become astute critics of the literary canon by drawing on postcolonial knowledge and that exploring the epistemic violence that was perpetuated by the Western hegemony for hundreds of years. The course challenges the student, in accordance with the IB learner profile, to go beyond the highly confining modes of interpretation that affirm the values of a particular current of thought, and to strive to produce analyses which highlight class, race, and heteronormative biases.

Literary Skills

Students acquired most of these skills in early childhood and elementary schools.
However, choosing a literary course in high school will help you sharpen these skills because they can be reapplied and used creatively throughout a course that promotes debates and reflection about the place and time of fictional works and about the importance of challenging skewed knowledge traditions. Narrative skills, vocabulary, and phonological awareness can be transferred to other studies, as they improve cohesion, teaching cultural awareness and its importance to equal, fair communities. World literature probes cultural traditions, political tensions and the plight of the marginalized. Students will explore the various artistic modes through which these themes are reflected and undertake a critical evaluation to comprehend the main developments and crucial issues that are deeply rooted in today’s evolved, global cultures.

World literature also evinces the interconnectedness of common stories across cultures and expounds their functions in society. Through this awareness of interconnectedness and causality students acquire an overarching perspective of moral teachings and an overview of how different societies have developed through it. Understanding these concepts is similar to taking a global tour, and all students should anticipate having this experience because it is euphoric and transformational.

Student Expectations

Excelling in this course is a fairly simple endeavor, as long as the student is willing to draw on knowledge that will address the global issues the texts explore and contemporary expressions of the main themes. There are specific literary works that students can use in the course, but these works all reflect a wide range of cultural phenomena such as displacement, migration, colonialism, gender equality, and globalization and technology.

They can choose a specific number and give an in-depth analysis of their development and use across different cultures. This requirement enables the student to concentrate their efforts on giving quality work, unlike using multiple sources that do not add value to the learning process. Each student must also participate in discussion forums, Socratic seminars, and oral and  written examinations.


Choosing a literary course has immense benefits to a student’s education and future profession. The course fosters a passion for lifelong learning, while nurturing critical analysis and communication, skills which are beneficial in any field. The personal-response approach and  the moral-philosophical approach to teaching will benefit students in the deliberation process and prompt them to consider their engagement with the most pressing issues of the time. After meeting course requirements, students will see literature as an inextricable part of their lives and  will enthusiastically approach any future academic writing task.


Burke, M., & Troscianko, E. (Eds.). (2017). Cognitive literary science: Dialogues between
literature and cognition. Oxford University Press.