The English Department of Cathedral High School offers a thorough program of study involving the development of reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Department curriculum follows the school’s stated philosophy: “Animated by the principle and traditions of academic education, Cathedral focuses on the development of basic skills, unbiased perception, critical thought, and clear expression.” Clearly, the study of English language and literature may significantly affect such development and has, therefore, both a proper and prominent role in a Lasallian school.
The English Department conceives intellectual freedom as the immediate end of education. There are few vehicles better than literature for providing perspectives and points of view different from one’s own. Writing is an extremely effective means of forcing one to locate and defend thoughts. Reading, writing, discussion – these are the domain of the English Department; practice of these skills can only assist students in achieving that freedom of mind which characterizes the truly educated person.
A critical dimension of the department’s role in the school is its personal commitment to the individual student. It is a commitment to awaken the student to his own possibilities – to teach him to think for himself and to exercise his wit and imagination. English teachers are encouraged to discuss rather than lecture and to question rather than answer.
Since our students come to Cathedral with varying degrees of development in English skills and basic abilities, departmental programs are designed to meet these needs in reading, writing, and speaking. In devising and structuring its program of study, the department treats the following as axiomatic: (1) that literature may be reasonably evaluated and judged; (2) that writing is a discipline with certain standards and conventions; and (3) that writing, speaking, and listening are integral parts of a reading program.