Virtual High School’s new grade 12 academic English course, ENG4U, is anything but status quo! In fact, the entire course empowers you to explore the idea of status quo and the extent to which, as poet and activist Sonia Sanchez asserts, “all writers are political.” Whether you are developing the power of your own voice, exploring how new media platforms influence society, or delving into the ways in which well-known and emerging writers create change or maintain things as they are, this course encourages you to think independently and explore the ideas that interest you the most. You’ll experience language in new ways that will enhance your abilities as a writer and introduce you to varied and unique literature.

ENG4U empowers you to think independently, select from the many texts available to you, and reflect on the concept of the status quo in art, literature, and new media. The works in the course have been chosen specifically because they are documents that examine the artists’ needs to have impacts on society. You will be at the heart of the process of discovery as you fashion your own responses to the exploration of new media, a novel, and shorter works, including essays, poems, and short stories.


View the full ENG4U course description here.

Beginning with a unit on the art of writing, foundational skills are reinforced to focus on clarity and concision in writing. You’ll also learn how to develop a strong, personal voice and effective oral communication strategies. These skills are carried on throughout the course, allowing you to frequently practise powerful communication that can change and challenge your world. The focus is on you and your development as a writer and communicator. You will have the opportunity to select topics, think independently, write drafts, and refine your revision process to produce your best work.

Moving further into the course, you’ll discover a unit on new media concerning subjects such as the changing nature of language, bias, and the importance of verifying information. Lessons on the latest trends—the codes and conventions—of the new technologies deliver ideas which illustrate how fully new technologies have become a part of everyday life. As you continue in the unit, you will consider connections to the concept of status quo and how you also have the power to provoke change as a writer.

With the idea of the status quo in mind, the texts selected for the novel unit and the short story and poetry unit will prompt you to explore the concept of status quo in diverse ways. Speaking of diversity, the texts in ENG4U draw from a wide range of time periods and writers to make the new course updated in more ways than one.

English is often studied almost as a series of artifacts, as if the works were museum pieces held up for display, separate from students’ own experiences and having only a single interpretation. However, a great deal of value comes from exploring different texts from your own diverse perspectives and responding to them in personal ways. This new ENG4U course puts you in a central position. By interacting with lessons that focus on relevant writing skills and critically exploring the varied texts and media encountered in our modern society, you will get to develop the skills necessary to make a change in your world.