English is an exciting subject which gives us not only a better understanding of our own society, but also connects us to a world of ideas – to the past, to an imagined future, and to other places and cultures. At every moment of every day, new films and television programmes are being made, new novels, poems and articles are being written, and new plays constructed. The subject of English enables students to interpret the world around them from academic and critical points of view. It offers students opportunities to be creative, and to develop a better understanding of a wide range of texts, both fiction and non-fiction. It teaches students to express themselves clearly and succinctly, both on paper and in public speaking, and to use language accurately. These critical skills benefit students going into a wide range of tertiary studies and careers.

What is studied in English?

The Rangitoto College English courses aim to develop students’ understanding and appreciation of language, film and literature. The courses are based on the five key competencies set out in the New Zealand Curriculum, namely:  

  • thinking.
  • using language, symbols, and texts.
  • managing self.
  • relating to others.
  • participating and contributing.

Through the study of novels, plays, poetry, films and short texts, as well as creative and academic writing, teaching in English focusses on developing critical thinking skills, the collaborative exploration of ideas, and confidence in expression. 

Digital devices are encouraged and students are able to use computers, laptops and tablets both in class and for assessments. The aim is to enrich and extend students’ learning to enable them engage with and take ownership of their learning in a way that is relevant to their own personal experiences. Digital devices are a valuable tool to foster greater collaboration between students and provide opportunities for increased creativity in learning. Rangitoto College uses the Google platform and there is flexibility around which device students may choose to use. Device use and digital literacy is increasingly part of learning and we look to encourage and capitalise on this in both English and Media Studies.

English is compulsory from Year 9 to Year 12. The courses have been carefully designed to enable students to gain Level 1 literacy as well as University Entrance literacy. Alternative English courses, called English for Literacy (ENL), are offered to students who need extra help with the subject. These courses run from Year 9 to Year 12. The classes are smaller and aim to support students’ individual needs. For students who achieve highly in English, Extension, or (ENX) courses, are also offered from Year 9 onward. At Year 13, the English for Scholarship (ESX) extension course prepares students to enter the scholarship exam.  

Evelina Nestecka

I took English Literature because I want to analyse and study the origins of text.  I believe that this can help me understand the English language on a larger scale.

Evelina Nestecka
Year 12 - English Literature
Career Goal 
After school I intend on studying film directing. Analysis of text and knowing the roots of our language will prepare me for my career plans.

English Department

Srikar Kasha

I chose to do English Extension this year as a way to challenge myself, with the subject allowing me to compare my thoughts and opinions with those of others in various, interesting discussions that arise in the classroom.

Srikar Kasha
Year 12 - English Extension

Media Studies

Media Studies is an engaging subject that examines the dynamic role of the media in society and how it shapes the way we think about ourselves and the world around us. The subject encourages students to think critically about the power of the media and the impact – both positive and negative - it has on their own lives. Students are encouraged to investigate a number of media industries, including film, television, journalism and music, as well as keeping abreast of new media formats, making it a relevant subject for the ever-changing digital age. Media Studies helps develop critical thinking skills and broadens students’ understanding of society within a media environment that is constantly changing and developing. The subject also allows students to get creative and gives them hands-on practical filmmaking experience, where they write, produce and edit their own short film projects.

Media Studies programmes run from Year 11 to Year 13, where there is an opportunity for students to enrol for the Media Studies Scholarship exam.

Career Opportunities in English and Media Studies

Mastering English skills gives students the confidence to gain success in every arena of life, and success in English and Media Studies can lead students into a range of exciting career options. Some careers options include:

Writing, presenting and media production careers such as:

  • Journalism for newspapers, radio magazines or television.
  • Television and radio news presenter.
  • Magazine or newspaper editor.
  • Publishing.
  • Proof-reader.
  • Media production.
  • Website administrator.
  • Creative writing such as film, television and drama scripts, as well as writing weblogs, novels, short stories, poetry and song lyrics.
  • Book reviewer.
  • Film critic.
  • Travel writing.
  • Research writing on a wide range of topics, including business, social issues, history, environmental issues etc.
  • Advertising production and administration.

Legal careers such as:

  • Lawyer, barrister or judge.
  • Legal executive.

Careers in the field of language:

  • Speech and language therapist.
  • Interpreter.
  • Translator.

Teaching careers at different levels:

  • Early learning.
  • Primary.
  • Secondary.
  • Tertiary.
  • ESOL.
Head of Department 
Christine Parkinson

Masters of Education

I have been teaching at Rangitoto College since 1995, and love my job as much now as I did then. Before coming to New Zealand in 1993, I worked in the field of adult education and English as a second language, writing course books, and teaching both teachers and high school students in Soweto. I also had the opportunity to teach university students in the US and in South Africa. My goal in moving to New Zealand was to move into the area of high school teaching, and this has been a most rewarding experience.
Personal Statement 
In English and Media Studies at Rangitoto College, I have the privilege of working with a group of highly dedicated teachers, who I respect and admire for their skill at teaching, their commitment to their students, and their knowledge and interest in their subjects. Books and reading have been a passion of mine since early childhood, and translating this passion into teaching was a step I took with great pleasure. My aim for the department is for us as teachers to pass this passion onto our students, so that they can also feel the stimulation, absorption and joy that a great book can offer. The life of an English teacher is an enriching and challenging one; ours is an exciting subject, alive with potential and filled with new perspectives.