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The Amazing Lifetime Value of English Courses - Dr. Robert Rice

The Amazing Lifetime Value of English Courses


Dr. Robert Rice explains why your Seton English courses are among the most valuable you will take and will provide a head start in achieving your career goals.

Why are English courses, stressing writing and analytical skills, an essential part of a sound high school education?

If students are planning on going into jobs relating to math, engineering or other sciences for their careers, they may wish to hurry through their English courses, not realizing how crucial the skills they can acquire there are for true success in any field of endeavor.

Even homeschooling parents sometimes fail to grasp the value of well-developed writing skills acquired in “English” classes, finding the task of leading their children in the study of literature and writing somewhat daunting. It is, however, well worth the effort, for the rewards, personal and financial, are great.

The fact of the matter is, Fortune 500 CEOs and employers across the spectrum of professional disciplines place a high premium on a good command of the English language, critical thinking skills and the ability to express onself orally and in writing.

These are precisely the skills that your English courses are designed to teach you. Furthermore, the better you are in communicating your thinking clearly and persuasively, both orally and in formal writing, the greater your lifetime income is likely to be.

Study of the elements of grammar, logic, and rhetoric is foundational for a truly educated understanding of language—any language, not least our Mother Tongue. Without such study, we will speak and write at a level of discourse not reflecting a well-educated person. Such speech and writing may be good enough for our close friends and family perhaps, but not for leaders in the professions.

Students who focus only on courses relating directly to the field in which they intend to work, to the exclusion of English, may find their dreams shattered if they fail to develop a good writing style, or neglect the study of grammar and spelling. For a poorly written letter of application is not likely to procure them an interview—or acceptance into the college or university of their choice.

Understanding of the best organizing principles of essay writing is a key to good composition. Furthermore, understanding how to develop expository, argumentative, and analytical essays is important, not only for those intending to go into the law or politics, but also for anyone who needs to clearly explain “in plain English” the operations of a scientific experiment or to write a proposal for the funding of a new project.

Literary studies and analysis, part of the English curriculum, furnish additional benefits. The study of imaginative literature is, in the words of the literary scholar Marion Montgomery, “a long journey in pursuit of the human heart and mind.” In literature one discovers more deeply what it means to be human.

The student of literature, vicariously experiences many lives in the comfort of his own home: he is able to know the trials and the triumphs of mankind in a multitude and variety of forms otherwise impossible for one person to experience on his own. Wisdom comes from profound experiences deeply pondered, and great literature is the gateway to the wisdom of the ages.

Moreover, from reading great literature, one gains a better sense of the standard idioms and rhythms of the English language and a more copious vocabulary. The language one learns from modern movies, radio, and television is generally substandard, not to mention vulgar or obscene. Great literature, especially great Catholic literature, is the best antidote to the trendy drivel spouted by today’s media.

To conclude, the English courses in your Seton Home Study program are among the most valuable you will be able to take. They will help you become clear and persuasive writers and speakers, and as such, you will have a head start in achieving your career goals.

Furthermore, as well educated persons, knowing and understanding great literature, you will have minds filled with more valuable knowledge conducive to happiness than those lacking this kind of knowledge and intellectual experience.

You will be rich before you receive your first paycheck.

About Dr. Robert Rice

Dr. Robert C. Rice received his B.A. from U.C.L.A. and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. He was Associate Editor of the Middle English Dictionary at the University of Michigan, 1976-1981. He is Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature at Christendom College in Front Royal, VA.

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