English is a core subject for all students until the age of sixteen – but why? English is about more than just the study of books; it is a fundamental set of skills that every student needs to possess in order to succeed in life. Here are just a few of the transferable skills that your child will gain from the study of English.
Being able to read is a key skill that every adult needs to possess. In secondary school, a child’s progress in the English classroom will directly impact their progress in other subjects. I often hear teachers of other subjects remark that the main problem their students have is not academic knowledge, but the ability to actually read and interpret the question. Every subject is going to require a certain level of reading ability and English lessons are where this ability is often developed and cultivated.
The benefits of reading extend far beyond academic purposes however. Children who are readers will develop a natural empathy with others and grow up more broad-minded and tolerant of other cultures, perspectives and beliefs. Reading also has great benefits for our mental health. It is a naturally relaxing experience that has been proven to relieve stress levels. There is nothing better than escaping the stresses of modern life by losing yourself in a book. Furthermore, children who read the news and are informed on current affairs are going to be well-rounded individuals with the knowledge needed to become responsible and active citizens.
Writing is another skill that every student needs to master. We may not have to write creative stories inspired by images in real life, but most of us are going to need to show writing skills at one time or another. Every subject is going to involve writing in one form or other, even mainly practical ones such as PE or Dance. Many students find the idea of essay writing hugly overwhelming, and do not know where to begin. English is often the first place they encounter PEE paragraphs, which are a vital essay writing tool that can easily be carried across into other subjects. Students need to know how to plan their writing and break an essay down so that it flows in a logical order. There is a reason many English graduates go on to become lawyers; they have had a rigorous training in the process of constructing a compelling argument.
Writing will of course play a vital part in their future study and career plans as well. If your child is planning to study at university, then he/she will need to write a 500-word personal statement. This statement plays a huge role in the selection process and it is vital that it is articulate and well-structured. If your child goes down the apprenticeship route, they will still need to produce a statement of application. Job application forms and CV writing will of course also require strong writing skills from students. Training a writer means more than just preparing him/her for an English examination – we are also equipping them with the skills they will need to succeed in the wider world.
Another significant area of English that is often overlooked is oracy. This means spoken communication skills – something teenagers are sometimes accused of lacking. The issue I have found in some students is an ability to put into practice what we refer to in Linguistics as Accommodation Theory. This is where individuals adapt their language usage in line with the demands of that particular social situation. A job interview will require a different lexis to a conversation with friends in a cafe. English helps students think more about purpose and audience, and how to adapt spoken language effectively. Through debates and discussions, we also help them to grow the confidence to speak articulately and in detail about their thoughts or feelings. This will help them become more assertive in their future life as well, and ensure that they can represent themselves coherently and articulately.
Of course every subject plays its part in the development of young people, but the skills that are taught and developed in the English classroom can sometimes be overlooked. As English is predominantly skills-based rather than knowledge-based, students underestimate its importance. The skills tend to develop over a longer period of time without the student even always realising the ways in which they are growing and changing. The subject is about far more than just helping students to pass an examination – it is about changing lives for the better.
If you are looking for further English support for your child, you are in the right place! Bright Sky Tutoring offers English tuition for KS2, KS3, KS4 and KS5 students. To find out more, email email@example.com.