Three years of my life have been spent at high school, from September 2014 to June 2017. Over the years, I have come across many high school students, parents, and even teachers that contemplate the importance of English class in school and post-secondary education. English is the only class that is mandatory throughout all four years of high school, and grade 12 University English is a prerequisite for all university programs. There are many mixed feelings about English, as many will argue that it’s the most important course since we interact with it every day through communication; others will say that being graded in school based on your English abilities can prove to be unfair for foreign students who use English as their second language.
My home away from home for the past three years, AB Lucas SS. (Wikipedia)
This idea of English being a requirement for entry into all university programs has sparked a question that awaits an answer: Should grade 12 level University English be a requirement for entry into all university programs?
I believe that grade 12 University English should indeed be a requirement for entry into all university programs. Before you get all worked up and start an argument against me, allow me to explain my reasoning for the importance of English.
First of all, English class provides a wide variety of assignments and workloads to students, ranging anywhere from essays to group seminar presentations. This expands our understanding of the language and skills that come with it. From my personal experiences in English class from grade 9 to 11, I was able to determine my strengths and weaknesses when it came to English learning styles. For example, I found out that when it came to writing skills, such as essays, I was achieving very high marks. Throughout all three years of high school, writing essays was very simple and straightforward for me and I faced very little troubles.
Unfortunately, English isn’t just composed of writing; there are several components that make up the course. I quickly realized that I was struggling with oral presentations and public speaking skills. I had to present a group seminar on themes of a novel for my ISP in grade 10, which was one of the most difficult assignments I’ve had all year. Even though I had confidence in my writing, I knew my speaking skills were in need of improvement. The course teaches students a wide variety of learning skills that prepares them for different learning situations and gives them an understanding of what their strengths and weaknesses are, which is why English should definitely be a requirement.
A college presentation involving literary skills of speaking. Photo from Knox College
Secondly, the skills we learn from English is used throughout our post-secondary education and in our daily lives. In university, despite the program, everyone will definitely be asked to present seminars and lectures for the class. This means that throughout the minimal four years we spend at university, we will always be using the basic literacy skills we were taught in high school: speaking, listening, writing and reading. According to the article Importance of English Language Skills to Students by Medhat Mohsen, a principal based in Egypt, “To speak is to listen and to write is to read.” (Mohsen, Medhat). To achieve and accomplish in university, students will have to rely on communication much more, so strengthening these literacy skills will help us succeed in post-secondary education. Being able to communicate properly in university allows others to realize exactly what you are thinking, and having good vocabulary and confidence in speaking will assure others of your professionalism.
Photo from The Importance of English Language Skills to Students by Medhat Mohsen
Once we graduate from university, I used to think that everything we learned will be forgotten about, never to be used in our daily adult lives. However, as we find jobs and start to work, all these literacy skills will come back into play and we’ll then begin to understand why English class in high school was mandatory throughout all four years. In Importance of English Courses for Everyday Life, an article written by Van Thompson, it clearly shows how students shouldn’t take English courses for granted as they will be in our lives long after we graduate.
In the article, Thompson talks about how many skills that we adapt from English can be applied in real-life scenarios when we graduate. This includes the likes of research skills. Research essays done in English might be painful to do as a student, but it improves your ability to be able to look up the right things to find necessary information, which can serve you well in almost every career, including engineers, doctors, etc. Writing skills are also very useful even when university is over. The ability to organize thoughts in our head and produce them on a page concisely with detail takes skill and practice, all of which can be perfected during our times as students at school.
Having good vocabulary, grammar and literacy skills all contribute to success in the future. English class in school may not seem very important as a student, but once you look at the different learning skills that can develop, all of which serve later on in a daily basis for our own benefit, it really does seem mandatory and should be required for university entries. Being able to speak confidently, write powerfully, and listen carefully are all skills we pick up at school; it’s just a matter of time before we have to apply them in our lives.
A.B. Lucas Secondary School. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2017. Retrieved from <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A.B._Lucas_Secondary_School>
Charity Hudley, Anne H. “We Do Language: English Language Variation in the Secondary English Classroom.” N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2017. Retrieved from <https://annecharityhudley.com/book-we-do-language-english-language-variation-in-the-secondary-english-classroom/>
“Horizons 2012 Showcases Student Research and Creative Work.” N.p., 18 May 2012. Web. 5 July 2017. Retrieved from <https://www.knox.edu/news/horizons-2012-showcases-student-research-and-creative-work>
Mohsen, Medhat. “Importance of English Language Skills to Students.” N.p., 1 Aug. 2015. Web. 5 July 2017. <https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-english-language-skills-students-medhat-mohsen>
Neilson, Delvene. “Why Is Literacy Important?” 3P Learning. N.p., 24 Mar. 2017. Web. 05 July 2017. Retrieved from <http://www.3plearning.com/literacy-important/>
Thompson, Van. “Importance of English Courses for Everyday Life.” Synonym. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 July 2017. Retrieved from <http://classroom.synonym.com/importance-english-courses-everyday-life-1876.html>