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Why 4 Years of English?


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#1 Sgt Harbinger

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 04:59 PM

Well, time to start another school-related debate...Well, its time for me to start another topic period.

So my question to all of you is this: Why do most U.S schools require students to take 4 years of English, but not more then 3 years of everything else? Do you agree with it? Why or why not? What do you think?

The only thing I can say about it is that I don't agree with it.

So without further ado, let the debate begin.

#2 Elena

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:09 PM

Well, time to start another school-related debate...Well, its time for me to start another topic period.

So my question to all of you is this: Why do most U.S schools require students to take 4 years of English, but not more then 3 years of everything else? Do you agree with it? Why or why not? What do you think?

The only thing I can say about it is that I don't agree with it.

So without further ado, let the debate begin.


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#3 gwendelin

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 08:11 PM

Well, time to start another school-related debate...Well, its time for me to start another topic period.

So my question to all of you is this: Why do most U.S schools require students to take 4 years of English, but not more then 3 years of everything else? Do you agree with it? Why or why not? What do you think?

The only thing I can say about it is that I don't agree with it.

So without further ado, let the debate begin.



is the only reason you disagree is because you hate english? :P

I actually enjoy english very much and the things i have learned from the classes. Maybe the believe english will be a more useful resource as we mature? who knows...
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#4 padfoot

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:21 PM

English was one of my favourite classes throughout high school, I believe it's essential (even if your mother-tongue is English) to learn it in-depth for the future. Good grammar, spelling and knowing how to write properly is so important in life. There are some fluent young adults that don't know where to put capital letters or know the difference between their, there and they're. Or they just get lazy :P

As for other subjects being compulsory for only three years in America, can you choose to take those subjects for longer if you want to? Here in New Zealand we can take Maths, English, or any other main subject for a full five years if we want (I did). I personally thought five years was fine, although I could've done with even longer because my English is still not perfect. I guess it all just depends on how quickly individuals learn, and what they want to learn.

#5 Faraday

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Posted 04 November 2011 - 10:40 PM

In Scotland (when I was at school anyway) you had to do English, Maths, a modern lanuage, music or home ec, geography or history and at least one science option (including computer science) up until age 16, there were options for short courses too but that's not important. I think that this is a good thing because it means that all through many key developmental stages from childhood to early adulthood we are taught about our language in a way which reflects the level of understanding and type of use relevent to our age groups. Most people take English in some form until they leave school at 17 or 18.
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#6 Dax

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:54 AM

I'm sorry but it shouldn't just be four years, it should be beyond that. Illiteracy still exists in the US (a very small percentage) but it still exists. Furthermore there are kids out there who are in high school and can't even read at that grade level. Reading is almost fundamental this day in age, and "I dun meanz thuz txt you'z see'z or dem tweeets," I mean actual English. Not to mention you need to understand English to develop your skills at writing. Grammatical and spelling errors are rife, best to nail it down while you're young.

All these reasons however are besides the point. The main reason is that reading and writing are bare necessities in society. They give people the ability to analyze, which is beyond crucial in everyday life. You may not realize it while you're doing it, but reading a passage from lets say Shakespeare, breaking it down, seeing why Hamlet doesn't kill Claudius when he has the first chance for instance, helps you in real life. When your fridge stops working you have to analyze the situation. Is it making a rattling noise? Is there a bunch of water on the floor? ect. By repeating that skill over and over, you start to master it.

Furthermore reading and being forced to explore these worlds expands your mind. It makes you see things and experience people you wouldn't normally experience. It opens your mind up to new ideas and new concepts.

I think the thing that irks most people is not the reading but the writing aspect. That is somewhat subjective in relation to your teacher (more so during High school). However writing isn't any less crucial. It again forces you to analyze a situation, think about a concept, dive deeper than you had to before. Does it suck sometimes? Sure, but you gain so much more out of it. It makes you think, which is beyond crucial, it's essential. To be able to properly articulate what you mean, to have others understand you is utterly astounding. Humans rely so much on communication and the precision of our communication.

Overall as an English major I can honestly say what you learned in High school is a cake walk in comparison to what you learn in college. At least you never had to translate Chaucer and interpret it, line by line, word by word.

I should say that four years is barely enough to grasp the core concepts. Also while we're on the subject I should say that I believe math and science should be required four years as well. They are equally essential components in learning and it's a shame they aren't given the same urgency. English however is absolutely paramount in order to express, analyze, interpret, and communicate information.

#7 Maestro

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 07:40 AM

I'm sorry but it shouldn't just be four years, it should be beyond that. Illiteracy still exists in the US (a very small percentage) but it still exists. Furthermore there are kids out there who are in high school and can't even read at that grade level. Reading is almost fundamental this day in age, and "I dun meanz thuz txt you'z see'z or dem tweeets," I mean actual English. Not to mention you need to understand English to develop your skills at writing. Grammatical and spelling errors are rife, best to nail it down while you're young.

All these reasons however are besides the point. The main reason is that reading and writing are bare necessities in society. They give people the ability to analyze, which is beyond crucial in everyday life. You may not realize it while you're doing it, but reading a passage from lets say Shakespeare, breaking it down, seeing why Hamlet doesn't kill Claudius when he has the first chance for instance, helps you in real life. When your fridge stops working you have to analyze the situation. Is it making a rattling noise? Is there a bunch of water on the floor? ect. By repeating that skill over and over, you start to master it.

Furthermore reading and being forced to explore these worlds expands your mind. It makes you see things and experience people you wouldn't normally experience. It opens your mind up to new ideas and new concepts.

I think the thing that irks most people is not the reading but the writing aspect. That is somewhat subjective in relation to your teacher (more so during High school). However writing isn't any less crucial. It again forces you to analyze a situation, think about a concept, dive deeper than you had to before. Does it suck sometimes? Sure, but you gain so much more out of it. It makes you think, which is beyond crucial, it's essential. To be able to properly articulate what you mean, to have others understand you is utterly astounding. Humans rely so much on communication and the precision of our communication.

Overall as an English major I can honestly say what you learned in High school is a cake walk in comparison to what you learn in college. At least you never had to translate Chaucer and interpret it, line by line, word by word.

I should say that four years is barely enough to grasp the core concepts. Also while we're on the subject I should say that I believe math and science should be required four years as well. They are equally essential components in learning and it's a shame they aren't given the same urgency. English however is absolutely paramount in order to express, analyze, interpret, and communicate information.


Well, I had planned to write an overly long post about why learning to read and write English is so very important even if your mother tongue is English. Seems I don't have to because Dax expressed it way better than I ever could.

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#8 Antares

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 10:09 AM

I had seven years of English at school and enjoyed it all. Well, most... of the time. In my native language, I had classes through 13 years of school, although I'm not so sure whether to count those first few years that mostly teach you how to read and write.
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#9 flying kiwi

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Posted 07 November 2011 - 01:02 PM

I'm sorry but it shouldn't just be four years, it should be beyond that. Illiteracy still exists in the US (a very small percentage) but it still exists. Furthermore there are kids out there who are in high school and can't even read at that grade level. Reading is almost fundamental this day in age, and "I dun meanz thuz txt you'z see'z or dem tweeets," I mean actual English. Not to mention you need to understand English to develop your skills at writing. Grammatical and spelling errors are rife, best to nail it down while you're young.

All these reasons however are besides the point. The main reason is that reading and writing are bare necessities in society. They give people the ability to analyze, which is beyond crucial in everyday life. You may not realize it while you're doing it, but reading a passage from lets say Shakespeare, breaking it down, seeing why Hamlet doesn't kill Claudius when he has the first chance for instance, helps you in real life. When your fridge stops working you have to analyze the situation. Is it making a rattling noise? Is there a bunch of water on the floor? ect. By repeating that skill over and over, you start to master it.

Furthermore reading and being forced to explore these worlds expands your mind. It makes you see things and experience people you wouldn't normally experience. It opens your mind up to new ideas and new concepts.

I think the thing that irks most people is not the reading but the writing aspect. That is somewhat subjective in relation to your teacher (more so during High school). However writing isn't any less crucial. It again forces you to analyze a situation, think about a concept, dive deeper than you had to before. Does it suck sometimes? Sure, but you gain so much more out of it. It makes you think, which is beyond crucial, it's essential. To be able to properly articulate what you mean, to have others understand you is utterly astounding. Humans rely so much on communication and the precision of our communication.

Overall as an English major I can honestly say what you learned in High school is a cake walk in comparison to what you learn in college. At least you never had to translate Chaucer and interpret it, line by line, word by word.

I should say that four years is barely enough to grasp the core concepts. Also while we're on the subject I should say that I believe math and science should be required four years as well. They are equally essential components in learning and it's a shame they aren't given the same urgency. English however is absolutely paramount in order to express, analyze, interpret, and communicate information.


I was going to say something very similar....although I think you probably put it better then I would have done.

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#10 The Midnight Q

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 05:59 AM

Well, time to start another school-related debate...Well, its time for me to start another topic period.

So my question to all of you is this: Why do most U.S schools require students to take 4 years of English, but not more then 3 years of everything else? Do you agree with it? Why or why not? What do you think?

The only thing I can say about it is that I don't agree with it.

So without further ado, let the debate begin.


That's probably why 4 years may not be enough if people still get things like these wrong. No offense.

It amazes me how people who have spoken English their entire lives still can't tell the difference between:
-then / than
-they're / their / there
-you're / your
-its / it's

...I often correct other people's grammar who are native speakers; and English is my second language!

----

Secondary school "English" classes are instead literature classes. Spelling, grammar, and sentence structure aren't being taught at these levels. Personally if there are prerequisite tests given to determine whether or not a student is eligible to advance in math courses, why not literacy testing?

Edited by sirbenedictvs, 11 November 2011 - 06:00 AM.

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#11 mischief.managed

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 10:06 PM

I'm sorry but it shouldn't just be four years, it should be beyond that. Illiteracy still exists in the US (a very small percentage) but it still exists. Furthermore there are kids out there who are in high school and can't even read at that grade level. Reading is almost fundamental this day in age, and "I dun meanz thuz txt you'z see'z or dem tweeets," I mean actual English. Not to mention you need to understand English to develop your skills at writing. Grammatical and spelling errors are rife, best to nail it down while you're young.

All these reasons however are besides the point. The main reason is that reading and writing are bare necessities in society. They give people the ability to analyze, which is beyond crucial in everyday life. You may not realize it while you're doing it, but reading a passage from lets say Shakespeare, breaking it down, seeing why Hamlet doesn't kill Claudius when he has the first chance for instance, helps you in real life. When your fridge stops working you have to analyze the situation. Is it making a rattling noise? Is there a bunch of water on the floor? ect. By repeating that skill over and over, you start to master it.

Furthermore reading and being forced to explore these worlds expands your mind. It makes you see things and experience people you wouldn't normally experience. It opens your mind up to new ideas and new concepts.

I think the thing that irks most people is not the reading but the writing aspect. That is somewhat subjective in relation to your teacher (more so during High school). However writing isn't any less crucial. It again forces you to analyze a situation, think about a concept, dive deeper than you had to before. Does it suck sometimes? Sure, but you gain so much more out of it. It makes you think, which is beyond crucial, it's essential. To be able to properly articulate what you mean, to have others understand you is utterly astounding. Humans rely so much on communication and the precision of our communication.

Overall as an English major I can honestly say what you learned in High school is a cake walk in comparison to what you learn in college. At least you never had to translate Chaucer and interpret it, line by line, word by word.

I should say that four years is barely enough to grasp the core concepts. Also while we're on the subject I should say that I believe math and science should be required four years as well. They are equally essential components in learning and it's a shame they aren't given the same urgency. English however is absolutely paramount in order to express, analyze, interpret, and communicate information.


This. I'm an English major, so I love English anyway! :P

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#12 Arie

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Posted 08 December 2011 - 11:11 PM

Well after taking English 101 this year I have learned that certain Americans need extensive amounts of english. Half my class could not even talk let alone write. It was insane. Like, the teacher had to go over subject verb agreement. Seriously??? We learn that in like 3rd grade!!! Grrrrr I could go on for hours lol.

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#13 mischief.managed

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 07:48 AM

Well after taking English 101 this year I have learned that certain Americans need extensive amounts of english. Half my class could not even talk let alone write. It was insane. Like, the teacher had to go over subject verb agreement. Seriously??? We learn that in like 3rd grade!!! Grrrrr I could go on for hours lol.

I think that's because English 101 is an intro class, usually.

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#14 Arie

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 11:38 AM

I think that's because English 101 is an intro class, usually.


Sometimes, but it's still a requirement at ever university. Doesn't matter if it is intro there are many skills people should already have learned in their years and years of school. These kids did not know that stuff, it was like they never took English.

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#15 The Midnight Q

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:03 PM

Sometimes, but it's still a requirement at ever university. Doesn't matter if it is intro there are many skills people should already have learned in their years and years of school. These kids did not know that stuff, it was like they never took English.


Not at mine. I took Rhetoric as my introductory English class which, again was a literature class rather than grammar class.
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#16 Arie

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 12:58 PM

Not at mine. I took Rhetoric as my introductory English class which, again was a literature class rather than grammar class.


My 101 was an acedemic writing course. No literature involved. It was painful.

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#17 The Midnight Q

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:22 PM

Ouch. Only "writing" courses I took were a couple business communications courses that revolves around writing office memos/emails, business letters to companies, rejection letters, etc. as well as verbal speech.

Only other English class I took in uni was British Literature, needless to say I didn't pay attention as much compared to some of my economics or strategies courses.
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#18 Arie

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Posted 13 December 2011 - 03:46 PM

Ouch. Only "writing" courses I took were a couple business communications courses that revolves around writing office memos/emails, business letters to companies, rejection letters, etc. as well as verbal speech.

Only other English class I took in uni was British Literature, needless to say I didn't pay attention as much compared to some of my economics or strategies courses.


You are so lucky. We are required to take 101 and 102 and both are a waste of time and money. For me atleast.

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