Language is a force that connects people together; it is a bridge from one mind to another. Therefore, reading, writing, and literacy in language are fundamental to all disciplines and to a person’s livelihood. This is why the most important class a student can take whether it be high school or university—is English. In Canadian education systems, English literacy—the ability to use the English language to listen, read, write, and communicate effectively—is an essential skill to possess. So much so that proficiency in English is required to graduate both high school and university.
Aside from the technical skills taught—that is, skills in writing, speech, critical thinking and information synthesis—students still often ponder the importance of learning about iambic pentameter, sonnets, poetry, literature, and the purpose of the author saying the curtains were blue. Essay writing is a skill that can be learned in a social science class, likewise, critical thinking can be taught through a natural science class. For these reasons, some would argue that English—as it is being taught now—should not be a required course. However, natural and social sciences all focus on interactions with the outside world. While learning about poetry, literature and why a curtain might have been blue allows someone to experience things on an emotional level that no other class could teach. Giving someone the statistics of how many Jews died resulting from Holocaust, and the data on the racial prejudice present in the 1930s Southern United States would be easy.
Novels like The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and To Kill A Mockingbird, while both being works of fiction, evoke a connection that incites an emotional response and thus, contributing to a more profound understanding of a subject. English classes help to not only expand skills in essay writing, speech delivering, MLA citing—it also helps expand the skill of transferring abstract ideas, concepts, and emotions from one person to the other.