Course Syllabus


Mrs. May’s IB English Course Syllabus

Contact Information:      (704)-290-1520   Email:  

I respond promptly to emails between 7:30am and 3:15pm M-F.



  • Copies of all the required texts
  • Binder
  • Loose Leaf Paper
  • Pens



1) Show up.          2)  Be prepared.          3) Be respectful.        4) Do your best.

In order to have a safe environment, please remember the following:  

  • No hateful commentary will be tolerated even if said in jest.
  • Wait until someone has finished speaking before speaking, including the announcements.
  • Follow all school policies.

Academic Integrity:

I expect total honesty from you regarding the completion of assignments. 

  • Lying, cheating, and plagiarism are serious offenses that can result in formal disciplinary action. 
  • Misrepresenting someone else’s ideas or work as your own is completely unacceptable and shows a lack of integrity.
    • It is never appropriate to copy someone else’s work.  This includes copying a peer’s answers on classwork. 
    • If you are unsure how to properly cite resources you have used, please ask me for help. 
    • If you are unsure whether or not it is appropriate to use resources during a particular assignment, ask me.  

The expectations listed above are in place to ensure your success.  If you do not meet the expectations, you will face the following consequences, which may vary in severity depending on the seriousness of the infraction.

  • Teacher –Student Conference:  If you violate one of the rules listed above, I will ask to speak with you outside of class to gain a better understanding of the situation and remind you of the policy.
  • Phone Call Home:  If you are unable to turn your behavior around or resolve the matter through communication, I will contact your parents.
  • Office Referral:  If the problem persists, I will refer you to administration or the intervention team which includes your guidance counselor.   


Absences: When you are absent from school, it is your responsibility to immediately find out what you missed and make up your work outside of class according to the school’s policy.  You should choose someone in your class to be your partner.  In the event of an absence, the partner will take notes on the classwork, discussion, and assessments that take place. Always check the calendar, Canvas, and handout drawers for anything you might have missed.

Formatting: Please format all written assignments using MLA guidelines.


IB Reading List

Junior Year 2022

Summer Readingplease pay close attention to the ISBN number for all books needed for the year.

  1. Read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster (ISBN: 978-0062301673)
  • CLOSELY read How to Read Literature Like a Professor and take good notes. Understanding the concepts discussed in this book will help you be more successful in IB Language A.
  • During the first two weeks of school, you will be assessed on your reading and comprehension of this book as well as your ability to apply the analytical skills discussed within the book.

 Although it is not required, I strongly encourage you to read one or more of the books listed for Semester One.

BOOKS WE WILL READ DURING the SCHOOL YEARPlease procure a copy of each of the following books WITH THE CORRECT ISBN NUMBER BEFORE each semester begins. This means you will need all three books listed for Semester One by the first week of school.

Works may be read in a different order than listed.


  1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini  (ISBN: 978-1594631931)
  1. The Essential Neruda Selected Poems Edited by Mark Eisner (ISBN: 9780872864283) 1940
  2. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (ISBN: 9780804171472)
  3. Selected Short Stories by author TBD (will be provided for you)


Assessment component


External assessment (4 hours)

Paper 1: Guided literary analysis (2 hours 15 minutes)

The paper consists of two literary passages, from two different literary forms, each accompanied by a question. Students write an analysis of each of the passages. (40 marks)



Paper 2 Comparative essay (1 hour 45 minutes)

The paper consists of four general questions. In response to one question, students write a comparative essay based on two works studied in the course. (30 marks)


Higher level (HL) essay

Students submit an essay on one literary text or work studied during the course. (20 marks)

The essay must be 1,200–1,500 words in length.


Internal assessment

This component consists of an individual oral that is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course.

Individual oral (15 minutes)

Supported by an extract from one work written originally in the language studied and one from a work studied in translation, students will offer a prepared response of 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of questions by the teacher, to the following prompt:

Examine the ways in which the global issue of your choice is presented through the content and form of two of the works that you have studied. (40 marks)


Course Aims

The aims of all subjects in studies in language and literature are to enable students to:

  • engage with a range of texts, in a variety of media and forms, from different periods, styles, and cultures
  • develop skills in listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, presenting and performing
  • develop skills in interpretation, analysis and evaluation
  • develop sensitivity to the formal and aesthetic qualities of texts and an appreciation of how they contribute to diverse responses and open up multiple meanings
  • develop an understanding of relationships between texts and a variety of perspectives, cultural contexts, and local and global issues, and an appreciation of how they contribute to diverse responses and open up multiple meanings
  • develop an understanding of the relationships between studies in language and literature and other disciplines
  • communicate and collaborate in a confident and creative way
  • foster a lifelong interest in and enjoyment of language and literature.

Assessment Objectives

  1. Know, understand and interpret:
  • a range of texts, works and/or performances, and their meanings and implications
  • contexts in which texts are written and/or received
  • elements of literary, stylistic, rhetorical, visual and/or performance craft
  • features of particular text types and literary forms.
  1. Analyse and evaluate:
  • ways in which the use of language creates meaning
  • uses and effects of literary, stylistic, rhetorical, visual or theatrical techniques
  • relationships among different texts
  • ways in which texts may offer perspectives on human concerns.
  1. Communicate
  • ideas in clear, logical and persuasive ways
  • in a range of styles, registers and for a variety of purposes and situations


Areas of Exploration

Readers, writers and texts

“Just as the reader participates in the production of the text’s meaning so the text shapes the reader.”Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan (2005)


The area of exploration of readers, writers and texts aims to introduce students to the skills and approaches required to closely examine literary texts as well as to introduce metacognitive awareness of the nature of the discipline by considering the following guiding conceptual questions.

  • Why and how do we study literature?
  • How are we affected by literary texts in various ways?
  • In what ways is meaning constructed, negotiated, expressed and interpreted?
  • How does language use vary among literary forms?
  • How does the structure or style of a literary text affect meaning?
  • How do literary texts offer insights and challenges?

Time and space

“The ultimate boundary of world literature is found in the interplay of works in a reader’s mind, reshaped anew whenever a reader picks up one book in place of another, begins to read, and is drawn irresistibly into a new world.” David Damrosch (2009a)


Time and space aims to broaden student understanding of the open, plural, or cosmopolitan nature of literary texts by considering the following guiding conceptual questions.

  • How important is cultural or historical context to the production and reception of a literary text?
  • How do we approach literary texts from different times and cultures to our own?
  • To what extent do literary texts offer insight into another culture?
  • How does the meaning and impact of a literary text change over time?
  • How do literary texts reflect, represent or form a part of cultural practices?
  • How does language represent social distinctions and identities?

Intertextuality: connecting texts

“Any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations: any text is the absorption and transformation of another.” Julia Kristeva (1980)


Intertextuality: connecting texts can be approached in a variety of ways, such as through:

  • the study of a group of works from the same literary form (for example, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama)
  • the study of sub-categories within that literary form (for example, the novel, comedy, the sonnet, the essay)
  • an exploration of a topic as represented across literary texts (for example, power, heroism, gender)
  • a study of the way different texts address one same concept (for example, representation, identity, culture)
  • an analysis of how allusions by one literary text to another affect the meaning of both of them (for example, explicit intertextual references from an author to another author’s work)
  • a theoretical literary investigation (such as literary value or critical perspective).

This area of exploration aims to give students a sense of the ways in which literary texts exist in a system of relationships with other literary texts past and present. Students will further engage with literary traditions and new directions by considering the following guiding conceptual questions.

  • How do literary texts adhere to and deviate from conventions associated with literary forms?
  • How do conventions and systems of reference evolve over time?
  • In what ways can diverse literary texts share points of similarity?
  • How valid is the notion of a “classic” literary text?
  • How can literary texts offer multiple perspectives of a single issue, topic or theme?
  • In what ways can comparison and interpretation be transformative?

Core Essential Question: Truth?

  • What do we know?
  • How do we know what we know?
  • What is “truth”? Is there an absolute truth?
  • How is our “truth” shaped by our perceptions and experiences?
  • Can fiction reveal truth?

Global Issues

A global issue incorporates three properties:

  • It has significance on the wide/large scale.
  • It is transnational.
  • Its impact is felt in everyday local contexts.


You may use one of the following fields of inquiry:

  • Culture, identify, and community
  • Beliefs, values, and education
  • Politics, power, and justice
  • Art, creativity, and the imagination
  • Science, technology, and the environment

Extended Essay Global Issues:

  • Conflict, peace, and security
  • Culture, language, and identity
  • Environmental and economic sustainability
  • Equality and inequality
  • Health and development
  • Science, technology, and society



When reading texts, students will encounter and interact with a multiplicity of perspectives, voices and characters. It is usual when reading and interpreting a text to assume that the views are to some extent representative of the writer’s identity. However, the relationship between an author and the different perspectives and voices they assume when they write is frequently complex, and this makes the concept of identity an elusive one. The figure that emerges from the reading of various texts by the same author adds to the complexity of the discussion. Conversely, the ways in which the identity of a reader comes into play at the moment of reading a text are equally central to the analysis of the act of reading and interpretation.


The concept of culture is central to the study of language and literature. It raises the question of how a text relates to the context of its production and reception, and to the respective values, beliefs and attitudes prevalent in them. This concept also plays an important role with regard to the relationship that is established between an individual text and the writing tradition preceding it. The application of this concept to the study of a text should prompt reflection on the extent to which it is the product of a particular cultural and literary context and how it interacts with it.


Creativity plays an important part in the experience of reading and writing. The concept is fundamental to analyse and understand the act of writing, and the role that imagination plays. When applied to the act of reading, creativity highlights the importance of the reader being able to engage in an imaginative interaction with a text, which generates a range of potential meanings from it, above and beyond established interpretations. Creativity is also related to the notion of originality and to the question of the extent to which it is important or desirable in the production and reception of a text.


The concept of communication revolves around the question of the relationship that is established between a writer and a reader by means of a text. The extent to which writers facilitate communication through their choices of style and structure may be an aspect to analyse in this exploration. The writer may also have a particular audience in mind, which may mean assumptions have been made about the reader’s knowledge or views, making communication with some readers easier than with others. Alternatively, the amount of cooperation that a text demands from a reader for communication to take place, and the readiness of the reader to engage is also important as a topic for discussion. Even with cooperative readers, the meaning of a text is never univocal, which makes the concept of communication a particularly productive, and potentially problematic one in relation to both literary and non-literary texts.



A text may offer a multiplicity of perspectives which may, or may not, reflect the views of its author. Readers have also their own perspectives, which they bring to their interaction with the text. This variety of perspectives impacts on the interpretation of a text and, therefore, deserves critical attention and discussion. The fact that the acts of reading and writing happen in a given time and place poses the additional question of how far the contexts of production and reception have influenced and even shaped those perspectives.


The study of the connections among texts constitutes the focus of one of the three areas of exploration, namely intertextuality: connecting texts. The complex ways in which texts refer to one another, appropriate elements from each other and transform them to suit a different aesthetic or communicative purpose are evidence of the importance of transformation in the process of creating a text. Additionally, the act of reading is potentially transformative in itself, both for the text and the reader. Different readers may transform a text with their personal interpretation. The text, on the other hand, can have an impact on the reader, which potentially might lead to action and to the transformation of reality.


The way in which language and literature relate to reality has been the subject of much debate among linguists and literary theorists across time. Statements and manifestos by writers have made claims about this relationship, which range from affirming that literature should represent reality as accurately as possible to claiming art’s absolute detachment and freedom from reality and any duty to represent it in the work of art. Irrespective of such a discussion, the concept is a central one to the subject in connection with the way in which form and structure interact with, and relate to, meaning.

The Learner Portfolio

“The learner portfolio must consist of a diversity of formal and informal responses to the works studied, which may come in a range of critical and/or creative forms, and in different media. It is the student’s own record of discovery and development throughout the course.”

You will be responsible for maintaining a portfolio that documents your learning in this class.  It should cover the entire range of the learning process, not just the final finished products.  This portfolio must be kept in the classroom until September 2021 after you graduate because it can be used to assess the authenticity of your ideas and work.         


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Course Summary:

Date Details Due