The philosophy of experiential learning at Timbertop extends to the English classroom. Robert Neal notes in his introduction to Writers on Writing: An Anthology (1992), ‘the only way of learning to write is to write; you can no more learn to write by merely reading about it than you can learn to swim, or weave, [or hike or ski or abseil or chop wood] by reading about that.’ The opportunities afforded students in the English classroom at Timbertop are aimed to equip them with the language and forms, so they might powerfully express their unique experiences and perspectives.

Through a study of poetry, short stories, contemporary media, Shakespeare and a novel, students explore and reflect on their personal understanding of the world gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts. They analyse and explain how images, vocabulary choices and language features distinguish the work of these writers. And they learn to present their insights in well-structured essays.

The English classroom at Timbertop places emphasis on creating a community of inquiry. Through discussion, students come to understand how interpretations can vary by comparing their responses to others’. They plan, rehearse and deliver presentations that respond to contemporary issues and reflect on personal experiences. They also review and edit their own and others’ work to improve the clarity, control of content, organisation, vocabulary and other presentation elements.

The wider reading program at Timbertop is generously supported by the Library and its intentions are similar to what Virginia Woolf explains in her essay, ‘How should one read a book?’ (1912): ‘[W]e can read such books with another aim, not to throw light on literature, not to become familiar with famous people, but to refresh and exercise our own creative powers. Is there not an open window on the right hand of the bookcase? How delightful to stop reading and look out!’ Indeed, the experience of turning up from the pages of a book to see peaks of Mount Stirling, The Bluff and Mount Buller would have been prized by the Romantics.

1. Written (65%)
2. Oral (15%)
3. Classwork and Module (20%)



Group 1 - English A: Literature
Year 11 and 12 - IB

Year 11 and 12 - VCE

Year 10

Middle School - Years 5 to 8