I know for a fact that once you read that title you scoffed in utter disbelief at the irony of such rhetoric but let me assure you, it holds some merit. I know that 99% of people hate English, they hate it with a passion that burns deep within their soul, a passion that will continue to permeate throughout their very existence until the end of time and it’s understandable, lots of students hate English. Some say it’s because the texts are boring, others believe it’s a waste of time since they know the basic alphabet and how to write sentences, whilst others think it adds no value to their learning. What if I told you all these beliefs and opinions are wrong? What if English actually is important, what if it’s actually necessary for the future? What if you only hate English because you haven’t been truly exposed to what it actually is?
The purpose behind the entire English syllabus, encompassing English studies all the way up to Extension II English, aims at guiding students to appreciate literature, the value it adds to our existence, and how it elevates humanity beyond the limiting constructs of time and space to explore the universality of the human condition. In doing so, the HSC English Syllabus exposes students to something called the human condition or our innate human nature. This single concept is the foundational aspect of each human, establishing our basic emotions and characteristics and thus the perfect definition for the everyman. Many philosophers and psychologists agree that an in-depth understanding of the human condition allows us, as sociable beings, to better connect with others of our race. This is the case as it provides us the foundational framework for human behaviour and is the basis of human communication. Thus, as you study your prescribed texts, look out for the aspects of the human condition (e.g emotions, reactions, habits and other commonalities) and once you begin to take notice of them, slowly you will realise you understand why people do the things that they do, why they react the way they do and why they exhibit certain behaviours.
Now that we’ve established the inextricable connection between literature and the human condition in a seemingly philosophical fashion, let’s get more practical… your future. Regardless of the path you take after the completion of your HSC journey, you may choose to pursue any one of the countless possibilities available to you, including university, TAFE, apprenticeships or gap years. Believe it or not, the HSC English course is not the apex of your use of the English language, it is not the final stepping stone before you are rid of the burdensome pestilence that is ungodly amounts of homework, obnoxiously long words and monotonous essays. Rather, it is merely a stepping stone to even greater levels of English as university and TAFE courses don’t allow you to slack off in your writing. If anything, they make you wish you had appreciated your HSC English course more than you did. The harsh reality we students all face is that English is always going to be a part of our lives, regardless of the path we may take. The only thing we can do is to look for the positives in every situation and grasp these as they will ensure that your future will be nothing but smooth sailing from here on out.
Furthermore, English is something you should care about more than any other subject you will sit for your HSC. Want to know why? It is the one subject that every student in the state must sit, regardless of their capability and enjoyment for the subject. Because the ATAR is a ranking system, this means that your performance in English will most likely dictate your performance in the HSC as it is the one unifying subject whereby NESA can allocate your ATAR. Many students will complain saying that “ughhhh English is dragging my atar down” and this statement holds a lot of truth as English possesses this power to a more serious degree than other courses you will sit. In other words, if you want a good ATAR, sort out your performance in English and I promise you, it will take you far in the future.
All in all, English helps you to appreciate the beauty of humanity, instills within you the necessary skills for success in the future and dictates the outcome of your final year of high school so I believe it’s safe to say that English is something you should really care about! And if you don’t, have no fear, FCT is always here 🙂