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Here Chris Barcock Chief Examiner was very keen to develop resources exploring the most common mistakes he sees in A Level scripts. In conjunction with detailed guides these thorough resources help your students not to fall into common pitfalls. The common mistakes waste time in an exam and offer very few if any marks and cause examiners to bang their heads against the nearest wall.
If you have any interesting responses to our questions please email them to us. We love to share examples of difficulties and successes that we see as teachers which illuminate and further learning and understanding.
The History of Literature on The Great Gatsby
Do you listen to podcasts? I have referred to The History of Literature before honestly the podcast on The Great Gatsby is beautiful.
We can listen to it on the bus in the car and walking the dog. In this time of uncertainty and personal connections increasingly complex listening to an expert offering his perspective. He tells us that ‘the book is short 55,000 words. Fitzgerald had in mind something new’. The presenter, Jack Wilson, sounds rambling and soft and is so easy to listen to.
Full of contextual details and history of the text. He sometimes responds to listeners questions about texts not related to the podcast then ties music, history and particularly loves the language; focus on specific words and combinations. ‘Fitzgerald sometimes puts italics in words to emphasise the pronunciation of words by characters’.
I can highly recommend it when looking for something soothing without gong bells.
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Like Dan Carlin and his Hardcore History podcast, Edusites focus on language starts with a hardcore blog from Chris Barcock. Chris is an expert wordsmith and was part of the team that devised the new GCSE and IGCSE and more recently helped devise the new A Level English frameworks.
Why study 'A Raisin in the Sun'? For them the 'American Dream' has been a false grail. History suggests that for Walter and Beneatha's children and grandchildren, despite civil rights legislation, it still might not have been the full realisation of equality and the American Dream.
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.
In any other normal year we would have been able to think about how to develop our student's skills in preparation for the English A Level course but 2020 has turned out to be anything but a 'normal year'. Along with the examiners very aware of the lacuna in the learning of students Edusites English has put together a range of reading intended to assist with the leap from GCSE to A Level English.