The English curriculum at Raphael House recognises that reading, listening, writing, speaking, viewing and responding to texts is essential in order to develop the necessary critical thinking skills that enable us to interact and participate successfully in life. Such texts also provide a window to the world around us, enabling students to experience a wide range of values, cultures and viewpoints. Each year, English teachers work with age-appropriate themes and read a variety of texts, including short stories, poems, novels and films, encouraging students to write for a range of purposes and audiences. Students learn to use language and symbols to interpret and communicate meaning effectively, from static images, to creative responses to the Class 12 Project presentations.
Self-reflection/assessment is encouraged as a tool to inform and improve personal progress at Raphael House and students learn to work independently to present completed tasks by a set deadline. For senior students these can be long term, and require planning and motivation on their part. While independent work is encouraged, students also interact with their classmates in small and large groups in the English classroom. It is an opportunity to investigate cooperation and co-construction.
Raphael House has a strong oral tradition, celebrating the power of the spoken word as a tool for communicating ideas with clarity. From a young age, students are invited to speak to a range of audiences, gaining confidence and a sense of achievement from such presentations.
There are plenty of opportunities for students to meet with success in activities within and beyond the English classroom, such as contribution to the school yearbook, the school literature environment, participation in competitions and publishing work on the web. One of the highlights of formal writing in the Upper School is the Class 12 Project research document, a requirement that is unique to the Waldorf curriculum and excellent preparation for academic writing at tertiary level.
Students are given the opportunity to foster and enhance their overall well-being through creativity and imaginative experiences, with rich foundations being laid throughout their Lower School journey, Creative writing, film-making, zine production and creative responses all encourage free exploration of ideas through a range of media. This culminates with Class 12 students returning to a younger class in their final term at Raphael House to tell a story of their own creation, leaving a gift to spark the imagination of the next generation.