‘If you were appointed, what would you do to improve student enjoyment?’
My Principal queried two and a half years ago when I was internally interviewing for my current post: Head of English.
Student voice had not always been kind to my department, and I felt if we could get key stage three students enjoying the subject, that enjoyment would be embedded and blossom by the time the stress of GCSE took hold.
I wanted to move away from half termly schemes of work (term 1: poetry; term 2: novel, etc) because the international school I work in does not get recognised half term breaks it seemed nonsensical to me to continue to plan in this way. I’d previously worked in a school in the UK which had been starting to implement thematic teaching and whilst it wasn’t perfect, I knew it had potential in my new environment. My vision was to have three units per year and fill each unit with a range of reading (both fiction and non-fiction) and writing.
Finding the additional extracts for these units was made much easier thanks to the anthologies by Edusites.
IGCSE English Language
GCSE English Literature
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The ability to compare and contrast is one of the most important and challenging skills to master for the GCSE and IGCSE 9 to 1 English Language and English Literature. Previously compare and contrast techniques were tested only by Controlled Assessment in one of the four units of English Literature: now it reaches across both specifications as detailed below. It takes on much greater significance because some reading passages in GCSE and IGCSE English Language and English Literature are unseen.
And now question three. You little tricky brute. It should be so simple! Teach structural devices, and how to analyse them, chuck in a couple of nice sounding technical terms to boost their confidence, and voila! Eight out of eight? NO.
The language analysis in question two is a tricky little gem of a question. Most students feel pretty confident attacking this one, and usually even weaker students can pick up one or two marks. I’m going to split this into advice for those who are aiming for each separate ‘level’, because the advice I would give is quite different.
Earlier this week, I decided I should put my 25-minute drive to work to more productive use. Instead of listening to Radio 3, Radio 4, 5 Live, or Capital, I downloaded the AQA’s podcast ‘De-icing with Death and Jane Eyre’s flamingos’ as it promised to explain ‘how effective back planning can help students untangle a text from its context’ and the ‘importance of cultural capital’ in this process. It proved a thought-provoking 15 minutes.
Join Edusites English for AQA English Literature and English Language constantly evolving in collaboration with trusted teachers, specialists and academics, always with your classroom in mind. Edusites is renowned for subject expertise and targeted resources – including support for post-16 and resit teachers.
How to Use Unseen Texts and Poetry Effectively in the Classroom the assessment of reading skills in this paper is based entirely on unseen texts. Consequently whenever possible students should practice analysing texts as ‘unseens’ as the norm in their study of both English Language and English Literature try to harness good reading skills from Key Stage 3 onwards by introducing students to a range of non- fiction texts from the 19th to 21st centuries across a range of genres and increasing the challenge of these texts up into Key Stage 4
Videos and images used in the classroom can be huge distractions if used ineffectively. Chris Curtis has spoken about this very problem at the recent Team English National Conference and Rugby ResearchEd, and written about this very problem in his excellent blog here (http://learningfrommymistakesenglish.blogspot.com).
Catching up with your reading? Some expert subject based strategies for you to delve into.
Join Edusites English for Eduqas English Literature and English Language constantly evolving in collaboration with trusted teachers, specialists and academics, always with your classroom in mind. Edusites is renowned for subject expertise and targeted resources – including support for post-16 and resit teachers.
The Tibbets Paper 1 was sat in the Summer of 2018. The second of our feedback documents comes to you as a booklet which can be printed off for all of your students after sitting the exam for them to gain skills to apply in their next attempt.
Of all the challenges in the English Language exam, question one fades into the background when compared to the complexities of question four, or the mental gymnastics for the analysis in questions two and three. Question one sits there. Unobtrusive. Inoffensive. Nonchalant. A little dream of a question, really. “Find four things…”. Can’t go wrong, right?
Students having access to responses which exemplify a high grade 8 or 9 response gives a target for which they can aim. In the run up to exam season Edusites ‘Live Scripts’ can form the basis of a number of excellent lessons based on ‘what’ other students have achieved and most importantly how and why.
What is the problem with question four? It should be as simple as teaching the difference between analysis and evaluation, point them in the right direction, and watch them go. But it isn’t.