Course Goals for Mr. Bailey's English 12

    The Virginia Department of Education mandates 8 major goals for students

    of English 12. Here is a list of skills that I intend to help students master

    by the end of their senior year of English, based upon VDOE goals:

    1. Make an oral presentation that demonstrates media and technology skills. I know that public speaking creates anxiety for many students, but I promise to provide the least stressful environment possible. Once they get started, the vast majority of students find that the experience is not as difficult as they feared it would be. Stepping out of our comfort zones can be an occasion for personal growth. Research shows that students who learn that they can simply avoid whatever creates anxiety may not have the best outcomes as their lives proceed. Fears are meant to be conquered!

    2. Evaluate information from online media outlets for tone, accuracy, and bias, and use specific critical thinking strategies to help sort facts from opinions. I will never tell students what to think or believe, but I will supply them with tools to help them critically examine the information they consume. In this online age, it is more crucial than ever before to be thoughtful consumers of information.

    3. Become a more competent reader of multiple genres (drama, poetry, novel, short story, history, persuasive essay, etc.) through a deeper understanding of vocabulary, word origins, contexts, and the history of literature, storytelling, and persuasive writing.

    4. Learn about the literature of Great Britain in the context of its historical setting. I firmly believe that the teaching of literature should always be accompanied by learning about the history and culture that produced it. The history of events and ideas in England is intimately connected to the history of America. The Protestant Reformation in England set the stage for religious currents that led to the Puritan sect, some of whom were the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock. England's exploration and expansion of trade led to the Jamestown Colony. Our language, laws, and customs originate in England. We'll also compare British literature with American and other traditions to examine differences and similarities.

    5. Learn to interpret a variety of non-fiction texts. As outlined above, we'll be reading essays and historical backgrounds, as well as examining online news reporting.

    6. Learn to become a more clear and competent writer. Among the writing we'll do this year is: responding to college essay prompts and composing résumés (which we'll get to right away); writing informal responses to literary readings; creative writing projects; a short persuasive essay; and a research paper on a theme in British literature.

    7. Learn to view writing as a process, and acquire specific tools to help edit, revise, and format writing using the Modern Language Association (MLA) rules and templates. As a teacher of college composition courses for 10-plus years before coming to PHS, I hope to help prepare college-bound students for what they'll face in their next phase of education.

    8. Learn to improve skills in conducting academic research, synthesizing information, and properly citing sources for a research project. We'll also learn to recognize and avoid plagiarism. The standard penalty for plagiarism at the college level is an automatic zero for the course (which must be taken over again) and a permanent note regarding academic dishonesty placed in the student's permanent record. This may seriously jeopardize entrance into graduate schools or other training beyond that specific 2 or 4-year institution.