The English curriculum is based on the belief that language learning is critical to responsible and productive citizenship, and that all students can become successful language learners. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills that they need to achieve this goal. It aims to help students become successful language learners.
Successful language learners:
- understand that language learning is a necessary, life-enhancing, reflective process;
- communicate – that is, read, listen, view, speak, write, and represent – effectively and with confidence;
- make meaningful connections between themselves, what they encounter in texts, and the world around them;
- think critically;
- understand that all texts advance a particular point of view that must be recognized, questioned, assessed, and evaluated;
- appreciate the cultural impact and aesthetic power of texts;
- use language to interact and connect with individuals and communities, for personal growth, and for active participation as world citizens.
The English curriculum takes into account that students in Ontario come from a wide variety of backgrounds and that every student has a unique set of perspectives, strengths, and needs. Instructional strategies and resources that recognize and reflect the diversity in the classroom and that suit individual strengths and needs are therefore critical to student success.
Students need to become familiar with the works of recognized writers from their own and earlier eras. By reading a wide range of materials and being challenged by what they read, students become receptive to new and widely varying ideas and perspectives, and develop their ability to think independently and critically.
Research has also shown that effective readers and writers unconsciously apply a range of skills and strategies as they read and write. By identifying and explicitly teaching these skills and strategies, teachers enable all students to become effective communicators. The English curriculum focuses on comprehension strategies for listening, viewing, and reading; on the most effective reading and writing processes; on skills and techniques for effective oral and written communication and for the creation of effective media texts; and on the language conventions needed for clear and coherent communication. In addition, it emphasizes the use of higher-level thinking skills, including critical literacy skills, to enable students to understand, appreciate, and evaluate what they read and view at a deeper level, and to help them become reflective, critical, and independent learners.