For over 13 years Stuartholme has challenged and extended students through our English Extension subject. Taken in Year 12, English Extension is available to high performing students in addition to their normal English class.
Stuartholme’s Leader of Learning – English, Dr Donna McGrath explained the English Extension subject is suited to students who are orientated towards English subjects or who are higher-order thinkers and need further engagement.
As educators of girls, our role is to ensure the students are being challenged in a way that prepares them for life after secondary school.
“English Extension is a university level subject; it sets the students up for university study in research, writing and literary based theory,” said Dr McGrath.
Year 11 students are encouraged to apply for English Extension. If accepted they drop one of their other subjects.
Assessment for English Extension is not like that of normal subjects. Students need to complete a 1500 word task, an 8 to 10 minute oral defence of a complex transformation and a 3000 word fully theorised paper.
“Not every school offers English Extension,” Dr McGrath said.
“But we have found the students rise to the challenge; in fact across the board, they are better than the state mean in English Extension.”
The key to the success has been the focus of engaging the students.
While English Extension is not for all, engaging the students in reading is a priority for all teachers in the English Department.
“Girls aged around 15 years don’t want to be told what to read; overwhelming research has shown that to get the best out of them we need to engage with them on their choices,” Dr McGrath said.
In a classroom setting this can be done by offering students a range of books to study instead of offering only one choice to the class.
Dr McGrath explained that when provided with a choice the students are able to select a book that interests them, which makes them more motivated to read it resulting in a deeper understanding at the end. It also allows teachers to vary the curriculum through creating activities suited to individual texts and student interests.
Categories: Stuartholme School