English Language Arts

Language is fundamental to thinking, learning, and communicating in all cultures. In academic, business and social contexts, language enables us to communicate with precision, clarity, and artistry; apply the conventions of language; gather and organize information and ideas; and use communication forms and styles that suit our abilities, specific purposes, and the needs of the audience. On this page, you will find descriptions for English courses offered at GISS. 


The English Language Arts 9 curriculum is designed to empower students by providing them with strong communication skills, an understanding and appreciation of language and literature, and the capacity to engage fully as literate and responsible citizens in a digital age. Students are guided in learning to think critically, creatively, and reflectively; to construct a sense of personal and cultural identity; and to be respectful of a range of perspectives and worldviews. The First Peoples Principles of Learning are embedded in the ELA curriculum.


English 10 allows you to further develop the language skills you developed in grade 9. Correct usage of language at a more sophisticated level, as well as the use of complex sentences, is stressed. You will explore more deeply the various forms of English literary expression, including novels, short stories, drama, poetry and the media with a greater emphasis on analysing texts. Written work will focus on a transition from the basic paragraph and essay format to a more sophisticated writing style required for the upper grades. English 10 focuses on the increasingly sophisticated development of skills in:


• explaining, arguing, and entertaining

•responding to texts personally, critically, and creatively

•demonstrating understanding of diversity

• conveying and deriving meaning through oral language features

• identifying the influence of historical and cultural factors in texts and on texts

• analysing and evaluating literary, informational, and visual texts

• explaining and supporting personal connections to texts

• constructing meaning using text structures and features

• creating a variety of personal, informational, and imaginative texts

• creating thoughtful personal responses, evaluating ideas, and synthesizing and extending thinking

• using elements of style and form appropriate to purpose and audience

• using conventions of language that enhance meaning and artistry


Students will take one area of choice for English 11 (4 credits). In addition to exploring novels, short stories, drama poetry and nonfiction, students will be provided opportunities to study English Language Arts with a course of study emphasizing one of the following:


English Focused Literary Studies 11

This course allows students to delve more deeply into literature. Students can explore specific themes, periods, authors, or areas of the world through literary works (fiction and non-fiction) in a variety of media. Giving students the choice of a range of literary topics allows them to follow their passion and at the same time:

•increase their literacy skills through close reading of appropriately challenging texts

•enhance their development of the English Language Arts curricular competencies, both expressive and receptive

•expand their development as educated global citizens

•develop balance and broaden their understanding of themselves and the world

further develop higher-level thinking and learning skills


English Composition 11

This courseis designed for students who have an interest in refining their skills in written communication in a variety of contexts as they continue to explore, extend, and improve their writing. The course provides opportunities for students individually and collaboratively to study, create, and write original, authentic pieces for diverse purposes and in diverse forms. Within a supportive community of writers, students will work individually and collaboratively to explore and create coherent, purposeful compositions. They will develop their craft through processes of drafting, reflecting, and revising to build a body of work that demonstrates breadth, depth, and evidence of writing for a range of situations. The course provides opportunities for diverse learners to be supported in developing and refining their writing abilities.


English Creative Writing 11

This course is designed for students who are interested in using writing for self-expression and various creative purposes. The course provides students with in-depth opportunities to become better writers through the exploration of personal and cultural identities, memories, and stories in a wide range of genres. Within a supportive community, students will collaborate and develop their skills through writing and design processes. Creative Writing 11 is grounded in the exploration and application of writing processes, inviting students to express themselves creatively as they experiment with, reflect on, extend, and refine their writing.



English Spoken Language 11

This course provides opportunities for students individually and collaboratively to study, create, and use language to produce original pieces in a variety of modes. The course will provide students with opportunities for performance and public speaking. Spoken Language 11 will appeal to students who enjoy public performance or oral storytelling or who want to gain more experience and skill in this area. Specific groups of students who may be interested in this course include:

• students with strong verbal communication skills

• ELL students who want to develop their oral language skills

• students going into professions in which presentation skills are an asset

• students who may wish to help maintain oral tradition




English New Media 11

New Media 11 recognizes that digital literacy is an essential characteristic of the educated citizen. Coursework is aimed at providing students with a set of skills vital for success in an increasingly complex digital world by affording numerous opportunities to demonstrate understanding and communicate increasingly sophisticated ideas through a wide variety of digital and print media. The following are possible focus areas in New Media 11:

• Media and film studies

• Journalism and publishing

• poetry, song lyrics

•Digital communication




ENGLISH 11 First Peoples 

EFP 11 provides opportunities for students to learn about and engage with Indigenous creative expression as well as experience the worlds for First Peoples provincially, nationally and internationally. This course focuses on the experiences, values, beliefs, and lived realities of First Peoples as evidenced in various forms of text including oral story, speech, poetry, dramatic work, dance, song, film, the media and prose (fiction and non-fiction). One key feature of this course is the focus on texts that present authentic First Peoples voices (i.e. historical or contemporary texts created by or with First Peoples). EFP 11 is the academic equivalent of English Language Arts 11 and is designed to enable students to develop the English language and literacy skills and capacities they must have in order to meet B.C.’s graduation requirements. Pre-requisite for this course is English 10 or FPE 10.


English 12 has been planned to allow students to explore in depth the power of the English language through literature (novels, short stories, drama, poetry) and informational communication (media studies, nonfiction.)

Students will be provided opportunities to: 


• think critically, solve problems, communicate clearly, and learn and work both independently and with others

• respond knowledgeably and critically to what they read, view, and hear

• understand and draw conclusions from communications–whether written, spoken, or displayed visually–and to defend their conclusions rationally

• use language confidently to understand and respond thoughtfully and critically to factual and imaginative communications in speech, print, and other media

• develop the reading and writing skills required of informed citizens prepared to face the challenges of further education and a changing workplace

• express themselves critically, creatively and articulately for a variety of personal, social and work-related purposes

• use language appropriate to the situation, audience, and purpose and become comfortable with a range of language styles, from public to personal and from literary to conventional English

• realize their own potential as communicators Emphasis will be placed on analytical thinking, discussion and presentation in the essay format.


English 12 culminates in a provincial exam, worth 40% of the student’s mark in the course.


English Literature 12 is the study of the human experience through the written word. This is a survey course focusing on all the high points of literature in the English language – the so-called ‘cannon’ of English Lit – over the course of history from the emergence of the language as we recognize it, to the present day. Students will be exposed to a wide range of voices from within the English tradition and will be given opportunities to develop an appreciation for an evolving historical and cultural tradition. Emphasis will be placed on developing skills in interpreting and analyzing major works, developing critical thinking skills, and engaging in philosophical reflection.


Students will be given opportunities to:

• further increase their literacy skills through close reading of appropriately challenging texts from various literary periods

• extend their attainment of the English Language Arts curricular competencies, both expressive and receptive

• expand their development as educated and engaged global citizens

• connect ideas about the past with their own experience of being human

• engage in informed, high-level literary discourse


*It is expected that students taking English Literature 12 will have successfully completed English 10 and English 11, and will also be taking English 12 as required for graduation, separately from this course.



Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature is offered outside of the timetable at GISS–in the second semester–and counts as course credit for English Language Arts. Students in grades 11 and 12 who show an inclination toward English language and literature are encouraged to enroll.


The Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition program affords students the opportunity to be exposed to a wide range of great literary works and to further develop their skills in critical analysis of literature. Students are encouraged to read more widely and deeply, with an emphasis on careful reading strategies in prose and poetry, recognizing the author’s craft, developing effective expression of ideas in their own literary analysis, strengthening vocabulary, identifying literary devices, and gaining a greater appreciation for literature.


Grade 12 students taking the AP English program are also advised to take English Literature 12–in the first semester–which is an elective course.


The program culminates in the AP English Literature exam which is written by the student in May of his or her grade 12 year. A proficient result on the AP exam will often result in an advanced placement in enrolment at their choice of college or university after high school graduation.


For more information on the AP English program at GISS, please contact either Peggy Williams at pwilliams@sd64.bc.ca or Ray Colleran at rcolleran@sd64.bc.ca For more information about the Advanced Placement program in general, please visit https:// student.collegeboard.org/ 

AP Suggested Reading List 



This course prepares students who plan to enter university/college to feel confident in communicating and conversing in a university setting. Students will learn to use essential and powerful intellectual tools for success in post-secondary learning.

Among the important topics included in this course are:


understanding the elements of academic thinking and the Scientific Method,learning to think logically, selecting between valid and invalid research, between good and misleading evidence, understanding how hidden fallacies (faulty logic) can undermine clear, sound thinking, how research at can be influenced by outside forces, how to build a sound defensible argument and, most importantly, how to present one’s position, convincingly, in both spoken and the appropriate written form.

This class operates as a seminar (round table discussion) and students are encouraged independently to research, analyze and debate issues of concern in today's world. 


Each student’s focus in this course should reflect his/her personal area of interest and can be chosen from a cross-section of academic disciplines, e.g. Law, the Sciences, the Humanities, Education, Journalism etc.

After completing this course students will have tools and skills and, most importantly, the ethos* required to engage successfully in post-secondary studies, prepared and confident.




Seeking the truth is the central purpose in any academic endeavour - whatever the discipline. It is the heart of any serious academic work, and it is through this unending search that the greatest thinkers over centuries have refined and handed on to us these powerful tools which we use to keep the fire of knowledge burning.


*ethos = the character or credibility of the persuader.