The High School English Department at Koç consists of 17 teaching staff and come from far and afield. We have teachers from the UK, USA, New Zealand, Argentina and Turkey. Most members of the department teach the full range of levels, grade 9-12 and teach approximately 4 groups. The department also offers an English Drama course, currently at Grade 10 but with the hope of extending to Grade 11, along with Media and Film studies in the future. Some members of the English Department act as Level leaders and for this responsibility they have fewer teaching periods to allow for the planning of the curriculum, assessments and the chairing of meetings. Each teacher has approximately 22 contact periods per week. Students are divided into mixed ability classes across the different levels, and we teach in a range of different teaching styles, drawing on a vast pool of resources that provides differentiation to access all learners.
Grade 9 students follow the Cambridge I.G.C.S.E English Language syllabus (0500- no coursework) and sit this exam towards the end of the year. We are currently averaging 73% A*-C but the aim is to increase this to 80% over the next two years. Although this is not compulsory the department encourages as many students to sit this as we believe it provides a solid English foundation course and one that prepares them well for the academic rigor of IB. It also gives the department a clearer picture of how our students are performing against an external curriculum on the world stage.
Grade 10 students complete an internally designed Koç course, created by the department and students are assessed through a range of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing skills through the study of a variety of Literature texts and Language analysis. Assessments take the form of common sit down exams, quizzes, oral presentations, essay writing and creative tasks. The course provides a bridge between the IGCSE and IB curriculum and is designed to introduce the type of assessments to expect in IB. In our current curriculum students study: the novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’, an Anthology of selected short stories and poetry, a play text (teacher’s free choice) and a Media unit which incorporates the analysis of Language and Power, Visual Media, Print Media and Film.
Grade 10 Drama elective is a course chosen by the students, from a pool of options that explores English through the use of Dramatic style and techniques. Two primary aims run concurrently within the work of this course. We seek to develop a range of specific dramatic skills, including movement and spatial awareness, mime, speech, improvisation and scripted performance. At the same time, through the medium of individual and group work, we seek to instill such personal skills as self-discipline, artistic and critical awareness, co-ordination, co-operation, organisation, self-confidence and creative imagination. These elements are taught with an emphasis on using English through a creative and practical medium to improve English Language skills (not offered academic year 2016 – 2017).
Grade 11 and 12 follow either the IB or MEB (Turkish Ministry) program
IB in grade 11 and 12 complete the IB diploma in English A: Language and Literature. They sit their final examinations in May of Grade 12.These groups are divided into SL and HL classes and approximately half of the year group choose the IB route, although numbers vary from year to year. Results are favourable in the department and are always well above the world average, with many students achieving 7’s at both HL and SL. Our curriculum is designed to provide both consistency and autonomy for our teachers, so we teach the set texts: 1984, Persepolis, ( for Part 3), A Streetcar named Desire and Carol Ann Duffy poetry ( for Part 4) and teachers have free choice for the remaining texts. Alongside the Literature components a Language component requires us to teach both Language and Culture and Language and Mass Communication, which the department has a wealth of resources to support teachers. MEB in grade 11 follow a slightly modified IB curriculum to account for the reduced contact hours. The same texts and skills are taught as in the IB program.
MEB in grade 12 complete a curriculum set and assessed internally by the department. A range of Reading, Writing and oral assessments are completed that are tailored specifically to the needs and interests of this year group. Although the curriculum is differentiated to appeal to a wide range of learners we aim for rigor and depth in our approach. Students complete a range of activities that are skills based and adapted to the needs of a grade 12 student. The students will complete an in depth analysis of a range of Literature and Language texts. This year the chosen novel is Into the Wild, and is taught in tandem with an analysis of Film and a teaching of the techniques filmmakers use to create their desired effects. Students are assessed though a combination of sit down exams, oral activities, creative assessments (like directing their own short films) and quizzes.
The English department’s main objective is to improve the level of English of our students in the full range of skills: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening and to provide a solid foundation level for their studies in English beyond the High school. We aim to achieve this by emphasizing the need to address our students as EFL learners and to incorporate a skills based curriculum, through a diverse range of teaching methods and styles.
We aim to provide an academically focused work environment, yet one that is friendly, respectful and encouraging. Our department is experienced and motivated and also aware of the differing individual needs of the students. Although we follow set Schemes of work the teacher has a creative freedom in how they deliver their lessons and therefore in line with the school aims have Autonomy and Accountability. The strength of the department is that is allows for flexibility and differentiated treatment according to the student’s developing linguistic confidence. We take calculated risks in our delivery of the curriculum and always aim to maximise the quality of leaning in the classroom.
We play to our strengths as an internationally diverse department and draw upon the wealth of experience from the different international education programs around the globe to plan a challenging, rigorous curriculum. Our teachers have a good sense of humour and there is a strong sense of collegiality and support. What unites us is our love of Literature and we aim to instil this passion for reading onto our students both inside and outside the classroom.