The English program is based on two assumptions. The first is that mastery of one’s own language is essential to an individual’s personal development; he must be able to express himself clearly, communicate with and persuade others. The second assumption has three parts: that the experience of great literature allows us to enlarge our experience of and ability to deal with the world we live in; that contact with the best thoughts of the best minds can be a source of wisdom and delight; and that the individual can better appreciate his own values and those of his culture if he is familiar with the process by which they have evolved.
No Upper School English program can possibly provide students with all the instruction in language and literature that they will ever need. Properly understood, education is a lifelong process. An effective English program equips the student with the skills he will need to pursue formal study and to continue the self-educational effort that marks and makes the well-rounded individual.