Language A: Language and Literature Course Syllabus (SL and HL): YEAR 1


Renton High School

Ms. Jennifer O’Roarty


phone: 425.204.3537

office hours: Mon, Tues, Fri (2:15-3:00) or by appointment



About IB: The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Language A: Language and Literature is a broad-based two-year course that aims to encourage students to be knowledgeable and inquiring, but also caring and compassionate. There is a strong emphasis on encouraging students to develop intercultural understanding, open-mindedness, and the attitudes necessary for them to respect and evaluate a range of points of view.


Course Overview: Language A: language and literature is comprised of four parts—two relate to the study of language and two to the study of literature. The structure of this two-year course at RHS is as follows:


PART 1: Language in Cultural Context (Autumn 2017)

PART 4: Literature – Critical Study (Spring 2018): Langston Hughes, Kate Chopin, William Shakespeare

PART 2: Language and Mass Communication (Autumn 2018)

PART 3: Literature – Texts and Contexts (Winter 2018/Spring 2019): The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald), A Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Gabriel García Márquez), The God of Small Things (Arundhati Roy)


A key aim of the Language A: Language and Literature course is to encourage students to question the meaning generated by language and texts. Helping students to focus closely on the language of the texts they study and to become aware of the role of each text’s wider context in shaping its meaning is central to the course.


In view of the international nature of the IB and its commitment to intercultural understanding, the Language A: Language and Literature course does not limit the study of texts to the products of one culture or of the cultures covered by any one language. The study of literature in translation from other cultures is especially important to IB Diploma Programme students because it contributes to a global perspective, thereby promoting an insight into, and understanding of, the different ways in which cultures influence and shape the experiences of life common to all humanity.


Course Aims

  1. introduce students to a range of texts from different periods, styles and genres
  2. develop in students the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of individual texts and make relevant connections
  3. develop the students’ powers of expression, both in oral and written communication
  4. encourage students to recognize the importance of the contexts in which texts are written and received
  5. encourage, through the study of texts, an appreciation of the different perspectives of people from other cultures, and how these perspectives construct meaning
  6. encourage students to appreciate the formal, stylistic and aesthetic qualities of texts
  7. promote in students an enjoyment of, and lifelong interest in, language and literature
  8. develop in students an understanding of how language, culture, and context determine the ways in which meaning is constructed in texts
  9. encourage students to think critically about the different interactions between text, audience, and purpose


Distinction between Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL):

The model for language A: language and literature is the same at SL and HL, but there are some differences. In the literature sections the number of texts prescribed is greater at HL than at SL. In the language sections students are generally expected to cover many more texts of all kinds at HL than at SL. Note: Expectations of language usage, of level of analysis and of critical reflection are the same across the courses.


Two of the assessment tasks at SL are modified from the comparable tasks required at HL. The first is the paper 1 textual analysis, where SL students address and analyze one passage, while HL students make a comparative analysis of two passages. The second is the written tasks, where HL students must produce four tasks, rather than the three produced by SL students. Two of these tasks are submitted for external assessment at HL, while only one is submitted at SL. One of the assessed tasks submitted at HL must be a critical response that addresses one of six set questions and requires students to explore the values, attitudes and beliefs that are implied in the texts they select for this task.


Classroom Guidelines:

Please refer to our student handbook regarding academic honesty and our attendance/tardy policy. Come on time and have work ready at the start of class on due dates. You will not be released from class for printing purposes. Unless we are using them for a specific classroom activity, please keep technology (cell phones, tablets, personal computers) stored away out of sight while you are in the classroom.


Course Expectations:

To maximize your success in this class: a) Keep up with the reading assignments, and pay attention to what you're reading. Have thoughts and questions, and bring them up in the analysis/discussions we'll have about the literature. b) Be organized, and bring what you'll need to class each day, including the book we're reading, paper, pen, highlighter (highly recommended in this course), an organized notebook. c) Have a willingness to share—out loud and in writing—as well as a willingness to listen respectfully to others' viewpoints and the manner in which they express them. d) Your consistent attendance is expected. If you are not here, you are expected to communicate with your instructor via e-mail. d) Have a willingness to try, even when it feels challenging. You may stumble; your classroom community and I will help you.


What You'll Need Each Day:


1) a 3-ring notebook with lined paper, and an organized way to keep class handouts

2) black or dark blue pen(s)--pencils are optional; pens are essential; highlighters encouraged

3) your homework diary or homework organization system

4) an open mind

5) a willingness to try, a willingness to learn, a willingness to share


Grading Policy:

Participation 10%

Homework/ Classwork SL: 50%; HL: 40%

Tests/Assessments/Other Projects (Summative Assessments) SL: 40%; HL:  50%
I have read the course syllabus for Language A: Language and Literature Course Syllabus (SL and HL).

Please sign and return to your course instructor: Jennifer O’Roarty


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Do you have access to Skyward (online grades/attendance)?  Y      N


Do you have any concerns regarding your student or are there any special circumstances that could help me serve your student?  Of course, if you would prefer to communicate this through email, my email address is











Let’s make this a positive and meaningful school year!