Alpha’s English teachers believe that one of the greatest strengths of our department is that in all areas of our curriculum— new media, literary and film studies, creative writing, composition, and spoken language—we foster educated imaginations.  We help students develop their capacities to comprehend and connect, to create and communicate, and be actively engaged citizens in our rapidly evolving modern world.


English Department Open House Presentation


**Please see English Enrichment Program page for details on enrichment options

English Courses Offered at Alpha:

  • English 8 
  • English 9 
  • Composition 10
  • Creative Writing 10 
  • Film Studies 10 
  • Mystery 10
  • New Media Lab 10 
  • Composition 11/12
  • Creative Writing 11/12
  • Film Studies 11
  • Literary Studies 11 Enriched (pre-AP)*
  • New Media Lab 11/12
  • Power of Voice 11/12
  • English Studies 12
  • English Studies 12 First Peoples
  • English Studies 12 Enriched*
  • AP English Literature and Composition 12*


  • Film Cafe 12
  • English Literature 12
  • Cultural Empowerment Through Language 11 

Course Descriptions


This course provides students with opportunities to think critically as they explore, extend, and refine their writing skills. They will study a wide range of texts and develop their writing processes of drafting, reflecting, and revising through essays, reports, persuasive compositions, and creative works. Through this course, students will become more skilled and capable writers.  


This course is designed for students who have an interest in creative expression through language. Students will sharpen their skills as literary artists through the exploration of identity and story in a wide range of genres. Within a supportive community of writers, students will collaborate and develop their skills through writing and design processes that encourage students to reflect on, extend, and refine their writing. Possible areas of focus include contemporary creative forms such as slam poetry, oratory, rap, drama, song, and graphic novels; creative non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, song lyrics; multimodal creative forms that combine visual, written, and oral texts. 


This course combines the traditional study of literature with a relatively new art form: film.  Students will be introduced to texts, both literary and visual, from a variety of genres, time periods, styles, and writers/directors. As movies are visual narratives, students will learn to consider and interpret film as they would a short story, novel, play or poem. Like all English Language Arts courses, this class will help to develop reading/viewing comprehension with an emphasis on communication skills.


This course offers students the opportunity to experience the richness and variety of English literature, in its social, philosophical, and historical contexts. Reading widely is an important factor for an educated mind, and by reading works that are sophisticated in thought and style, students will strengthen their aesthetic and critical judgement. Any student who likes to read, discuss, and write about literature will love this class, but it is primarily valuable to students who are planning to study at university level and to enrichment students who wish to prepare for AP English Literature and Composition 12. The learning standards and levels of assessment for this course are the same as for a regular English 11 course. 


Crime, murder mysteries, whodunits—detective fiction has been hugely popular since its inception. These stories challenge the reader to try to solve the mystery on their own and entertain us by showing off the deductive skills of talented investigators. We will read key stories in the genre from the proto-detective Oedipus the King to the birth of detective fiction proper in Edgar Allan Poe and its development through Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler and noir movies, all the way up to the present day.  The course will include plays, short stories, novels, poetry, film and TV. Students will gain an appreciation of genre and literary history while developing their skills in literary analysis.


The New Media Lab is a hands-on, real-world exploration of media in the online age. We run an actual media website, producing engaging content for a general audience. We learn vital skills for the fast-paced digital world. Highlights include studying and imitating actual media websites online; self-selected topics including sports, gaming, beauty, music, style, technology etc. in a writing workshop to produce high quality work for publication; selecting work roles within our organization including social media strategy, graphic design and illustration, and editorial leadership; using blogging and wiki sites; and keeping up-to-date on topics of current interest. This course provides credit for New Media 10 and Composition 10. 


Students will individually and collaboratively study, create and use language to produce original pieces in a variety of ways to explore how voice is powerful and evocative. This course will be taught in a Socratic seminar format. We will be using a variety of texts including film, TED Talks and short stories. 



Film is a young but undeniably spectacular and popular storytelling tool. Films, like good books, give us the ability to transcend place and time and explore different worlds. In this introduction to visual storytelling, students will view and discuss films from a variety of genres, styles, time periods, and writers/directors. Film Café will help students develop their critical thinking and communication skills as well as an appreciation for artistic expression.  


This is a fun class with an academic focus for students who like to read, discuss, and write about literature. It offers students curious about literature the opportunity to read some of the most inspiring, witty, and wise texts written in English over the past 2000 years. In this course, students will develop a critical appreciation for the richness and variety of English literature, in its social and historical contexts. 


This course will enable students to enhance their language proficiency in the areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will critically inquire into, deconstruct, create and communicate a range of different texts. This course will encourage students to continue to develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of cultures in Canada while still developing and preserving pride in their own heritage and language. 

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