Amongst Edusites' many worthy aims and ideals is this. "It's that pause and consideration we want students to experience". I couldn't agree more. The best tasks are the ones we set ourselves and which require and effort: research, consideration and judgement.
Consider this passage from near the opening of Evelyn Waugh's 'Sword of Honour', the final part of the Trilogy of the same name.
'In his lonely condition he found more than solace, positive excitement, in the art of writing. The further he removed from human society and the less he attended to human speech, the more did words, printed and written, occupy his mind. The books he read were books about words. As he lay unshriven, his sleep was never troubled by the monstrous memories which might have been supposed to lie in wait for him in the dark. He dreamed of words and woke repeating them as though memorizing a foreign vocabulary. Ludovic had become an addict of that potent intoxicant, the English language.
Not laboriously, luxuriously rather, Ludovic worked over his note-books, curtailing, expanding, polishing; often consulting Fowler, not disdaining Roget; writing and rewriting in his small clerkly hand on the lined sheets of paper which the army supplied; telling no one what he was up to, until at length there were fifty foolscap pages, which he sent to Sir Ralph, not asking his opinion, but instructing him to find a publisher.'
'Addicts of that potent intoxicant, the English language' are exactly what we want you to become!
Edusites has more than 80 individual vocabulary exercises for GCSE to A Level. Here we have exercises 1-5 in both printable and slideshow editions as they appear on our main site.
Major Ludovic is one of many bizarre but entertaining characters we meet in Waugh's narrative of the Second World War. He has, unknown to the authorities (who have promoted him from the ranks) deserted his regiment in battle and subsequently contrived the deaths of two of his comrades. (Hence the reference to 'monstrous memories') In order to preserve this secret he has become increasingly reclusive.
Sir Ralph (Brompton) is Ludovic's former lover, an ostentatious aristocratic communist.
Fowler and Roget (as I'm sure you know) are, respectively, a dictionary and a thesaurus. They are recommended for what we are going on to do here.
The exercises we've set for you overlap the range of vocabulary you'll need to be successful at GCSE and go on to help you develop a range of vocabulary that will be useful at A-Level. (And a few that are more difficult than that!)
What aspects of the passage I've quoted are typical of GCSE and which are more clearly A-Level?
In GCSE we would expect to find:-
But for A-level we need to go further. To be confident of success you need to understand every word of the set texts.
In short, the differences are in the depth of knowledge that is expected in the level of understand of the words and combinations of words that writers use. Not that you can't follow the text as a straightforward narrative, or see that Ludovic is a very odd character, just as it is perfectly possible to enjoy a Shakespeare play as a narrative adventure. The deeper reading of this passage, however, shows that here Waugh has created a type that he challenges his readers to utterly detest: a Godless, sexually deviant poser with a dark and reprehensible criminal past and, above all that, a scion of the lower classes.
Obviously, we want Literature students to re-read the texts – but what we don’t want is for them to think that’s their job done.
Edusites and A Level English Language...Many of you will be looking to cover the topic of Child Language Acquisition (CLA) with Year 13 now, perhaps with an eye to providing it as a possible Investigation topic. On the Edusites English, we have 24 page printable booklet which contains a comprehensive guide to the topic, covering key concepts in a range of frameworks and the central theories in some detail.
NEA Investigation Basics Thinking about getting your year 13s started on Investigations? If so, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. There’s a great guide here on Edusites, written with the AQA specification’s NEA in mind, but it should help you out too if you’re an Eduqas or OCR English Language teacher. The guide fits the requirements of the current specification, and has an example of a nice approachable music-themed project that you could easily show to a class and work through with them, to help them get their heads around what an investigation is.
Autumn – and our minds turn to tackling the grittier of ‘language methods’ (or approaches, frameworks, or whatever they’re known as in your department). It’s grammar time! Having built up some confidence with ideas like lexis and semantics, it’s about this point in the term when things start to get a lot more technical and we want to really nail that terminology.
As an idea, Language and Power is so closely allied to Language and Gender, that it would make sense to teach this unit second as a grounding in ‘Power’ will provide a solid grounding in ‘Gender’. Equally, language-mediated via any form of technology, too, is frequently a site where power (and gender) relations are important and so dealing with Language and Technology last of all can work well.
Allusions in Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Picture the scene: last July I see my 2018/19 timetable in my pigeonhole. It has all my new classes, including AS Level Literature. I’m nervous – we split classes, 1 teacher teaches Othello and love poetry, the other Tess of the D’Urbervilles and unseen prose. Othello and poetry? That’s my jam. I’d feel happy there. Hardy and his endless ramblings about pastoral Wessex? Not so much… So, obviously, I end up teaching Tess.