IB Syllabus

Contact Information

Office Hours: Tuesday, 8:00 - 8:45am; M - Th afternoons, 4:15 - 5:00pm
Room: P10
School Phone: 972-502-4400
School Fax: 972-502-4401

Course Description

The IB English curriculum is divided into four semesters taught over a two-year period, 11th & 12th grade. The objectives are to encourage within a global perspective a personal appreciation of the power of literature while mastering the techniques of literary criticism. The uniqueness of the IB Language program is to develop an international vision for the connectedness of all peoples through the study of various literary works of different cultures, which naturally leads to a more profound understanding of one’s own heritage.

Through the study of literary works from a variety of languages, cultures, genders, and generations, students should gain a healthy respect and increased understanding of the worldwide community in which they live. The aim of their written and oral participation is to guide them towards a personal exploration of the human experience and their responsibility as a citizen in this historical chain of life. We will cover a broad range of literature of different periods, genres, styles and contexts. Students will gain a thorough knowledge both of the individual works, as well as the relationship between groups of works studied, focusing on the similarities and differences between literary works from different ages and/or cultures. Students completing the requirements of this course may be inspired to continue a life-long pursuit of knowledge.

The IB’s commitment to intercultural understanding is particularly evident in part 1 of the syllabus, in which students are introduced to other cultural perspectives through the study of works in translation, selected from a list that contains works in more than 30 languages. Through the study of these works, students gain a deeper understanding of how works of literature are an important part of their cultural contexts and how they reflect or describe experiences and values.
Aims of Language A: Literature (HL)*
  • Introduce students to a range of texts from different periods, styles and genres
  • Develop in students the ability to engage in close, detailed analysis of individual texts and make relevant connections
  • Develop the students’ powers of expression, both in oral and written communication
  • Encourage students to recognize the importance of the contexts in which texts are written and received
  • Encourage, through the study of texts, an appreciation of the different perspectives of people from other cultures, and how these perspectives construct meaning
  • Encourage students to appreciate the formal, stylistic and aesthetic qualities of texts
  • Promote in students an enjoyment of, and lifelong interest in, language and literature.
  • Develop in students an understanding of the techniques involved in literary criticism
  • Develop the students’ ability to form independent literary judgments and to support those ideas.

Objectives of Language A: Literature (HL)*
  • Knowledge and understanding
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of individual literary works as representatives of their genre and period, and the relationships between them
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which cultural values are expressed in literature
    • Demonstrate awareness of the significance of the context in which a work is written and received
    • Substantiate and justify ideas with relevant examples
  • Analysis, synthesis and evaluation
    • Demonstrate an ability to analyse language, structure, technique and style, and evaluate their effects on the reader
    • Demonstrate an ability to engage in independent literary criticism on both familiar and unfamiliar literary texts
    • Show an ability to examine and discuss in depth the effects of literary techniques and the connections between style and meaning
  • Selection and use of appropriate presentation and language skills
    • Demonstrate an ability to express ideas clearly and fluently in both written and oral communication, with an effective choice of register and style
    • Demonstrate a command of terminology and concepts appropriate to the study of literature
    • Demonstrate an ability to express well-organized oral and written arguments
    • Demonstrate an ability to write a sustained and detailed literary commentary

*(Description, Aims, and Objectives taken from Language A: Literature Guide: First exams 2013, pgs. )

Attendance, Late Work, Grading:

Students are expected to be present in class each day. A major difference in IB courses and non-IB courses is the pacing; this class moves rapidly through material. If a student must miss class, he/she is expected to communicate with the teacher so he/she will be prepared for the class following the absence. Daily assignments will be averaged together for one major grade per six weeks. The bulk of the six weeks’ grade will be tests, response journaling, essays, timed writings, and major projects. Expect four or more hours of homework per week.

Students are expected to complete all assignments in a timely manner.  Unless there are documented, extenuating circumstances, late work will not be accepted and the student will not receive credit for the work.

Research and Citation:

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to the structure of argument and varying styles of argumentative essays. In each six-week grading period, the student will be required to write essays that proceed through multiple stages or drafts. In the final drafts of all papers, students are directed to carefully evaluate, employ, and properly cite primary and secondary sources using the MLA documentation skills acquired in previous years. Though some students may have “forgotten” these skills through neglect or misuse, the coursework will revisit them regularly throughout the course of the year. Remember: when in doubt, cite a source.
Papers and Revisions:

A further aim of this course is to provide an opportunity to work on and experiment with personal writing style. In addition to lecture and in-class exercise, students will receive individual instruction and feedback on their writing assignments designed to help them develop:
  • The effective and appropriate use of a wide-ranging vocabulary
  • A variety of sentence structures, including appropriate use of subordination and coordination
  • Logical organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence, such as repetition, transitions, and emphasis
  • A balance of generalization and specific, illustrative detail
  • An effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure
This individualized instruction and feedback will take place in-class on designated workshop days as well as during tutoring hours.


I will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays after school for tutoring. One of the best ways for you to improve your writing is by coming to tutoring for help and counsel. Since writing is a process, the act of revision is CRUCIAL to learning the craft. You are required to revise most of your in-class essays for a separate grade. Therefore, availing yourself of tutoring helps you as a writer and helps you increase your chances of successful revision. In addition to working on your writing skills, we will cover a variety of topics designed to help you improve your test-taking and analytical skills.

Course Outline (including proposed texts)

Fall Semester, 11th Grade
Part 1: Works in Translation
  • Appreciate cultural mentality of other international groups.
  • Total: 3 works, linked by theme, culture, period, genre
  • Major Assessment: World Literature Paper #1
The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami                        ISBN 9780679750536
The Inferno by Dante Alighieri                                              ISBN 9780451531391
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky (Norton Edition)      ISBN 9780393956238

Spring Semester, 11th Grade
Part 4: Options
  • Novels into Film: Appreciate efforts to adapt literary themes and ideas into cinema
  • Total: 3 works freely chosen by school
  • Major Assessment: The Oral Presentation
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Norton Critical Ed.)   ISBN 9780393926361
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams                 ISBN 9780811216029
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick     ISBN 9780345404473


Each student should have:
·         A large (1 ½ or 2 inch) 3-ring binder for class notes, handouts, etc.
·         Tab separators for sections in the binder
·         3x5 inch note cards (400 will carry you to the end of the year)
·         A box or other containment system for the note cards
·         Three highlighters of different colors
·         Pens (black or blue ink only), pencils, and plenty of loose leaf notebook paper for notes and writing assignments

The following items are optional, but it would be a good idea to have:
·         A good college dictionary
·         A style manual that contains the guidelines for MLA and APA (for example, A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker contains formatting and grammar guides for writing academic papers)
·         A pocket calendar or appointment planner (real or virtual)

Classroom Behavior

Students are expected to behave in a manner that promotes learning, scholarship, and honor. Any breeches of school rules or acceptable behavior will be dealt with first with the student and then with the parent. Administrators will be informed as situations demand. Students are expected to be prepared and on-time to class each day.

Academic Honesty

Students will receive a copy of the Woodrow Wilson High School Academic Honesty Policy.  All students and faculty will follow the policy.


Students must attend class ninety percent (90%) of class time. This applies to excused and unexcused absences—the state law makes no distinction. If a student fails to attend the required number of classes, credit cannot be given without making up time missed and approval from the Attendance Committee.

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