Through a cognitive approach to literary analysis, the English Department's focus is to incorporate a wide array of resources including fictional text, literary non-fiction, and student generated conceptual insights to engage students to think effectively (in both written and oral forms) and solve the inherent problem of literary interpretation. Using both State and National standards as frameworks, the Department's focus remains directed towards bolstering students' capacities to critically and creatively think about how the study of literature impacts one's understanding of the "human condition." The North Salem Mission contends that a conscious attempt to use thinking skills as a guiding lens for academic focus provides the greatest return in terms of meaningful, long-lasting student learning and is the most effective way to prepare students to excel on formalized State and National assessments. Research clearly illustrates that students' capacity to critically and creatively think to solve problems is directly correlated to their academic performance, in both structured and unstructured settings. The use of literary analysis as the vehicle to improve students' problem solving and thinking skills is tangibly linked to the expectations conveyed by the North Salem Mission. The processes associated with literary analysis takes many forms requiring metacognitive reflection of author's purpose as suggested by literary technique and supported by textual evidence. Through use of sound pedagogical practices and careful consideration of multiple interpretations (formal critical analysis, student- generated interpretations, and historical theoretical underpinnings), our focus inexorably connects student performance with the North Salem Mission.
Student Writing Resources