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How do we get...There...from Here?

How do we get...There...from Here?

“Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches” (Milan Kundera)

The Media Mid-Terms are almost upon us.

  • A time to weigh up the progress of our students
  • A time to weigh up and audit our own knowledge
  • A time to plant, a time to reap
  • A time for love, a time for hate
  • A time to admit we tried reading One Hundred years of Solitude on 7 different occasions but it’s completely unfathomable and so now it’s lashed in the bottom of the sock drawer
  • A time to start thinking about Mock Exams.

And with those references to The Byrds’ jangling classic, welcome to the latest blast of caffeine fueled and sleep deprived (10 days into a new half-term) rant from me.

What does it all mean anyway? Why are we here? How on earth did Rahul win Bake Off?

Well, a very good question. The simple answer depends on the following:

  • What you are actually going to put in front of the students?
  • What you are going to do with the results?
  • How are you going to go on and build on the experiences you have (all) gained?
How do we get...There...from Here?

From other colleagues’ anecdotes, it’s clear that, actually, Media mock exams are not always as simple as they perhaps should be. While many of us are probably fairly well grooved in terms of curating the December/January English Lit and Lang mocks (“Hello Past Paper my old friend, I’ve come to copy you again”), mocks in the subject of Media, English’s cooler, Gitane smoking, Italian sports car driving, experimental theatre viewing hipster cousin, are definitely less straightforward.

So we will have to be a bit careful in our planning here. And Rahul won it because he was great in the early rounds and then he craftily morphed into a quirky, cartoon like befuddled cutie once his bonkers trifles started collapsing. I did predict it of course.

How do we get...There...from Here?

DON’T TURN AROUND

And of course what all of us Media Edutistas are concerned about is the whole 9-1 aspect. From past experiences, writing Media mocks has been something of a mish-mash at times. The very nature of the legacy spec meant that few of us even glanced at the exam topic until January and then crammed it all into those final frantic few months and weeks.

That approach, of course, has had to be completely reimagined now. The significance of the exam board’s chosen texts/CSPs now means that departments are now trying to create relevant mock papers from the huge range of compulsory material handed down to us to best try and replicate the likely scenarios their candidates may face in the summer. Shameless link to Edusites Mock exams

Let's (not) Go Crazy

Here is something for you crazy cats to weigh up. Don’t feel you have to be traditional in this matter. This is a whole new era of Media we are in now and you have to make the best choices based on:

  • Where are you up to right now?
  • How well you fell your students have engaged with this really wide range of topics

and essentially

  • Knowing what it is you want to get out of exams

Are you going to try and do the whole exam in its entirety? Remember, and for our newer colleagues, we are now talking about a pretty weighty two paper exam.

How do we get...There...from Here?

The New Order

Some colleagues are looking at the mocks slightly differently, so this may be an option worth considering. You could schedule a 90m mock exam in the first instance. Two full exam paper hits are fine (and probably the ideal way of going about things) but they will come with a price.

The Three Big Questions... you have to answer right now...

  • Have you done enough content to make two exams viable?
  • What are your plans for a rapid assessment regimen and then the scheduling of feedback?
  • Why did Donald Trumps’ White House intern try and WWF that CNN reporter?

All good questions.

How do we get...There...from Here?

It's a game of two halves Brian

Now this does involve individual teachers assessing accurately where they are up to in terms of their teaching of the texts/CSPs. It’s entirely likely that by now, some 14 months into the course, classes are fully versed in all potential exam texts.

Also, some groups may be on a very different pathway; one that has involved NEA work more significantly. That is perfectly fine. Chillax. It’s only just November. (Even if that lunatic in No. 21 has already begun erecting his scaffolding for the Chrimbo lights #garish #swansaren’tevenchristmassyyouidiot).

Either way, in this fledgling year of Media, colleagues may well want to adopt the approach of one exam now, followed by a meaningful and informed marking/ review of progress, followed by a second or even third iteration to build on (what will definitely be) the timing and content inconsistencies that your students are likely to be demonstrating. This may well be a better option than Bear Gryllsing it up the towering cliff face of the full hit, two paper, super-strengthened Media mocks.

How do we get...There...from Here?

Skillz to Pay the Bills

I don’t really know where that came from except my lad has just wandered past and informed me he apparently has them. Hmmm. In Fortnite maybe, definitely not in understanding Malthus theory in relation to A Christmas Carol. Or in managing to get his hair cut three times a year.

And, on a final note, before my Edusites helicopter whisks me off to the monthly conference in San Tropez, and before you make any telling decisions regarding the upcoming mock season, consider the following.

How do we get...There...from Here?

Really really think about how well equipped the candidates are going to need to be ahead of these exams and what you perhaps should be thinking of doing to get them at their fighting weight.

  • Have you looked at a mock paper?
  • Have you looked at our beautiful mock papers more to the point?
  • Have you read the indicative content of all of the questions?
  • Are you comfortable with that indicative content and the nuances involved?
  • Can you factor additional mock time in a little further down the line?

This is going to be crucial in what you decide to do for these absolutely vital mocks. Use an exam that you understand fully, that the kids will have a chance of engaging with, and that you can diagnose swiftly and effectively once they’re complete.

And on that note, I hear the swish of chopper blades.

Adieu EduTistas…

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