The Newton Country Day English program focuses on guiding students to think critically, to express themselves clearly in speech and writing, and to appreciate the ways in which language—especially the language of literature—communicates the full range of human feeling and experience. Students study a broad range of literary works from British, American, and world literature.
Teachers establish in their classes an atmosphere of open discourse, focused inquiry, and intellectual engagement. In class discussions, students are encouraged to support their ideas and opinions and to clarify and question complex ideas and ambiguities in the text. This process promotes close reading, the foundation of critical thinking and writing.
Frequent student writing assignments and timely feedback develop students' skills and help them learn in a self-directed manner. Composition is assessed on the basis of clarity, organization, and cogency.
Through studying the relationship between a literary work and its social and historical contexts, students achieve a deeper understanding of values and experiences different from their own; at the same time, inasmuch as great literary works possess a universal and timeless quality, students gain a clearer understanding of the moral dimensions of their world and of themselves.