English Department

Welcome to the English Department

Burnaby North’s English Department is the largest department at Burnaby North as every student must take at least one English course. The department typically includes 12-15 teachers who each teach a wide variety of required, support, enriched, and elective courses.  Together, we offer a variety of Language Arts courses to help students to understand and appreciate English language and literature. We offer both compulsory courses required for graduation and elective courses that allow students to deepen their study of literature and writing.  We encourage students and their families to consider all the choices available.

Our English courses are designed to help students develop their skills in reading, writing, speaking/listening and viewing/representing. In all English courses a variety of resources are used to promote skills and strategies for reading and to develop proficiency in oral and written communication.

To ensure their success, we also encourage all our students to read for pleasure outside of school.  Research has shown that reading for pleasure is key to academic success in all subjects.  We recommend reading for at least thirty minutes each day.

Program Information

Enrichment Activities

We encourage students to express themselves in their writing and to enter contests which interest them. We periodically receive contest information. While we do not sanction any particular contests, we try to pass relevant information on to our students. Contest information is posted on the bulletin board in the English Wing.

We also encourage students to participate in school and district literacy events like

  • Vikings Read!
  • Burnaby WORDS contest
  • Speed Book-Dating
  • Shakespeare Week
  • Banned Books Week
  • Viking View Club
  • Young Creatives Club
  • NaNoWriMo Club

Some of our teachers maintain websites for their students.  Check the Staff Directory for links.


Course Offerings

English courses are designed to help students develop their skills in reading, writing, speaking/listening and viewing/representing. In all English courses a variety of resources are used to promote skills and strategies for reading and to develop proficiency in oral and written communication.

Grade 8 Courses

English 8

This is a required course for Grade 8 students. Using oral, written, visual and digital texts, you are expected individually and collaboratively to be able to:

  • access information and ideas for diverse purposes and from a variety of sources and evaluate their relevance, accuracy, and reliability.
  • apply appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral and visual texts, guide inquiry, and extend thinking.
  • recognize and appreciate how different forms, structures and features of texts reflect different purposes and audiences.
  • think critically, creatively and reflectively to explore ideas within, between and beyond texts.
  • construct meaningful personal connections between self, text and the world.
  • respond to text in personal, creative and critical ways.
  • recognize how literary elements, techniques, and devices enhance and shape meaning.
  • develop an awareness of First Peoples’ texts.
  • exchange ideas and viewpoints to build shared understanding and extend thinking.
  • use writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  • assess and refine texts to improve their clarity, effectiveness and impact according to purpose, audience and message.
  • study the form, function, features and genre of various texts.

English Enriched 8

If you enroll in this course, you have been recommended by your Grade 7 teacher, and are passionate about reading a wide range of materials.  You are committed to improving your written and oral communication.  If the “Characteristics of Enriched English Students” description sounds like you, and you are ready to learn in an enriched environment, then please register for this class.  Some of the literature you will study will be beyond a Grade 8 reading level, and you will approach and study the material in more depth than in a regular English 8 class.

Grade 9 Courses

English 9

This course covers a wide range of topics, but all include the study of non-fiction and fiction texts and common forms of written communication (e.g. essays, poetry).  All ‘regular’ English courses are designed to help students develop the six core skills of language arts: reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing.

English Enriched 9

This course explores topics in more depth and is a “pre-AP” course for those interested in taking Advanced Placement English in grade 12. The course is open to students coming from both English 8 and English 8 Enriched.  Students must have a) a strong recommendation from their current English teacher, and b) a strong desire to read a wide variety of materials and write in many forms.  Students should be very self-motivated, able to work well both independently and collaboratively, and keen to help build a positive community of like-minded learners.  c) A work habit of “G” is required in your current English class.  As spaces are limited, meeting the entrance requirements does NOT guarantee admission into the course.  See “Characteristics of Enriched English Students” for reference.

Grade 10 Courses

English 10–The NEW curriculum begins in September 2018

We will be offering six versions of the new courses: one specifically for students moving out of the ELL programme, four for students in the regular English programme, and one for students in the Enriched programme.  All versions of the course will cover a wide range of topics and include the study of non-fiction and fiction texts and common forms of written communication (e.g. essays, poetry).  All the courses are designed to help students develop the six core skills of language arts: reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing.

Students enrolled in Grade 10 at BNS.(with the exception of Language Adapted students who must register in Composition & Spoken Language 10) will choose ONE of the following year-long options to earn their 4 E.L.A. credits required for graduation.  You may take additional E.L.A. courses for elective course credits.

  1. Focused Literary Studies 10 / Composition 10
    1. This course is designed to give you exposure to a range of literary topics and opportunities to develop your writing skills with the express purposes of:
      1. increasing your literacy skills through close reading and analyzing of texts.
      2. developing and broadening your understanding of yourself and the world.
      3. developing higher-level thinking and learning skills
      4. working individually and collaboratively to explore and create coherent and purposeful compositions.
      5. developing your craft through processes of drafting, reflecting and revising to build a body of work that demonstrates breadth and depth of writing for a range of situations.
      6. learning how to cite sources and consider and evaluate the credibility and reliability of evidence and sources. 
  2. Focused Literary Studies 10 / Creative Writing 10
    1. This course is designed to give you exposure to a range of literary topics and invites you to express yourself creatively.  You will work on:
      1. increasing your literacy skills through close reading and analyzing of texts.
      2. developing and broadening your understanding of yourself and the world by exploring personal and cultural identities.
      3. developing higher-level thinking and learning skills.
      4. collaborating and developing your skills through writing processes.
      5. experimenting, reflecting, extending and refining your creative writing.
      6. examining a wide range of writing genres.
  3. Focused Literary Studies 10 / New Media 10
    1. This course is designed to give you exposure to a range of literary topics and opportunities to demonstrate your understanding of ideas through a variety of digital and print media.
      1. increasing your literacy skills through close reading and analyzing of texts.
      2. developing and broadening your understanding of yourself and the world.
      3. developing higher-level thinking and learning skills.
      4. communicating ideas through a variety of digital and print media.
      5. examining possible focus areas including: digital communication including blogging/vlogging; journalism/publishing; media and film studies (these focus areas will be dependent on available technology and teacher-student interests and abilities).
  4. Focused Literary Studies 10 / Spoken Language 10
    1. This course will expose you to a range of literary topics and opportunities to demonstrate your understanding through reading, writing, speaking and listening.
      1. increasing your literacy skills through close reading and analyzing of texts.
      2. developing and broadening your understanding of yourself and the world.
      3. individually and collaboratively study, create and use language to produce original written and oral work.
      4. gain more experience and skills for performance and public speaking.
      5. work individually and collaboratively to explore and create coherent and purposeful compositions.
      6. develop your craft through processes of drafting, reflecting and revising to build a body of work that demonstrates breadth and depth of writing for a range of situations.
      7. learn how to cite sources and consider and evaluate the credibility and reliability of evidence and sources.

English Enriched 10

This course explores topics in more depth and is a “pre-AP” course for those interested in taking Advanced Placement English in grade 12. The course is open to students coming from both English 9 and English 9 Enriched.  Students must have a) a strong recommendation from their current English teacher, and b) a strong desire to read a wide variety of materials and write in many forms.  Students should be very self-motivated, able to work well both independently and collaboratively, and keen to help build a positive community of like-minded learners.  c) A work habit of “G” is required in your current English class.  As spaces are limited, meeting the entrance requirements does NOT guarantee admission into the course.  See “Characteristics of Enriched English Students” for reference.

“Enriched” Grade 10 Students MUST register for:

Focused Literary Studies 10 and ONE “OPTION” COURSE

If you select the Enriched course, you will earn 2 credits from “Focused Literary Studies,” and 2 credits from ONE of the other course “options” that YOU will determine (see below).  This means that you will be responsible for choosing HOW you will represent your learning in a particular focused area, and you should expect to work in a very collaborative setting with your peers.  The assessment for this course is portfolio based, so you must be prepared to create a substantial body of work to share publicly with your teacher and classmates.

You must choose ONE of the following options to pair with Focused Literary Studies 10 (Enriched):

  1. Composition 10
  2. Creative Writing 10
  3. New Media 10
  4. Spoken Language 10
    1. No matter your choice of elective, you will…
      1. learn how to cite sources and consider and evaluate the credibility and reliability of evidence and sources.
      2. increase your literacy skills through close reading and analyzing of texts.
      3. develop and broaden your understanding of yourself and the world.
      4. individually and collaboratively study, create and use language to produce original written and oral work.

Grades 11 Courses

English 11

These courses cover a wide range of topics, but both include the study of non-fiction and fiction texts and common forms of written communication (e.g. essays, poetry).  All ‘regular’ English courses are designed to help students develop the six core skills of language arts: reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and representing.

English Literature 12 Enriched (for gr. 11 English Enriched students)

This course is a combined course (in one block; 8 credits) with English 11 and is the “pre-AP” course for those interested in taking Advanced Placement English in grade 12*. The course is open to students coming from both English 10 and English 10 Enriched.  Students must have a) a strong recommendation from their current English teacher, and b) a strong desire to read a wide variety of materials and write in many forms.  Students should be very self-motivated, able to work well both independently and collaboratively, and keen to help build a positive community of like-minded learners.  c) A work habit of “G” is required in your current English class.  As spaces are limited, meeting the entrance requirements does NOT guarantee admission into the course.   See “Characteristics of Enriched English Students” for reference.

English Literature 12 presents a survey of English literature focusing on the thought and culture expressed in English literary text from Beowulf (circa 900) to the end of the mid-20th century.  The course encompasses a range of voices throughout history that have contributed to the development of our English literary heritage.  This course is accepted for admission at post-secondary institutions.

*English 11 students who wish to take Advanced Placement in grade 12 MUST also register for English Literature 12 (for 4 credits, see electives below).

Advanced Placement Literature 12 (for gr. 12 English Enriched students)

This is a combined course (with English 12; 8 credits) open to students coming from the English 11 Enriched programme (the English Literature 12 Enriched course) and to students coming from English 11 provided they also register for English Literature 12 (see electives).  Students must have a) a strong recommendation from their current English teacher, and b) a strong desire to read a wide variety of materials and improve their analytical writing.  Students should be very self-motivated, able to work well both independently and collaboratively, and keen to help build a positive community of like-minded learners.  c) A work habit of “G” is required in your current English class.  As spaces are limited, meeting the entrance requirements does NOT guarantee admission into the course.    See “Characteristics of Enriched English Students” for reference.

Students registered in this course will write the English 12 Provincial exam at the end of Semester 1, are eligible to write the Advanced Placement English Literature & Composition Exam in May and may opt also to write the Advanced Placement English Language & Composition Exam (this cannot be written instead of the Literature exam).  NOTE:  Students with questions about the course are strongly encouraged to contact Ms Cowley for accurate information.


Electives for Grade 11 & 12 Students

Academic Reading and Writing 12

This elective class is designed for Grade 12 students who are planning to go directly to university and need to learn how to write university-level term papers for all subject areas. Work in this course will bridge the gap between high school level English and the reading and writing expectations of college and university.  Students will focus on college-style writing, including critical summaries, annotated bibliographies, analytical essays, and research papers. Strategies designed to improve higher-level reading skills will also be taught, as will proper research methods, vocabulary development strategies and many other skills that will help foster success at the post-secondary level.  A minimum mark of 70% in English 11 as well as a “G” for Work Ethics is strongly recommended.

Composition 11

This elective course is for students who are enrolled in ELL Levels 3 and 4 who want additional support and practice with their literacy skills beyond their required English course. Composition 11 is designed to support Grade 11 and 12 students learning English as a Second Language as they transition into Senior English Courses.  An emphasis on grammar, vocabulary use, and syntax is emphasized in this course.  Various writing styles will also be practiced to supplement their English 11 or 12 course.  This course is strongly recommended for students who are enrolled in the English 10/11 Semestered English Course.

English Literature 12

Literature 12 presents a survey of English literature.  English Literature 12 focuses on the thought and culture expressed in English literary text from Beowulf (circa 900) to the end of the mid-20th century.  The course encompasses a range of voices throughout history that have contributed to the development of our English literary heritage.  English Literature 12 is open to all grade 12 students who will be scheduled in the same blocks as those grade 11 students in the English 11 Enriched programme (see the grade 11 section for details).  This course is accepted for admission at post-secondary institutions.

Writing 12

This course in creative writing allows students to develop their potential as authors and poets. Students will explore the fundamentals of creative writing by writing creative non-fiction, poetry and fiction. Students will examine their own work and that of others in an attempt to understand what makes a piece of prose or poetry come alive. Students who enjoy writing are encouraged to register.  Please note that students are expected to have strong English skills as this is not a remedial writing course.  The course is open to grade 11 students, space permitting.  This course is accepted for admission at some post-secondary institutions.

Writing Development 11

This course is for any Grade 11 or 12 students who want to improve their writing skills across the curriculum.  Please note: ELL learners MUST have completed ELL Level 4 in order to register for this course. Students will focus on the processes of writing in a variety of genres, including: narrative, argumentative, and analytical.  Practical skills to improve syntax, vocabulary use, and grammar will also be addressed.

English Language Learner (ELL) Programme

All students in the ELL Program are tested to determine their English levels upon entrance to the program and on an annual basis. Each student’s program is tailored to develop the English skills necessary for academic success.

The ELL courses for Level 1 & 2 students are part of the Learning Support Services department, though they are often taught by teachers who also teach English.

The English Department offers two courses for students who are moving into the regular curriculum from the ELL programme:

  • Composition & Spoken Language 10–for students who have completed ELL Level 2 and are grade 10 age
  • Composition & Spoken Language 10 / English 11–Semestered–for students who have completed ELL Level 2 and are grade 11 age or older