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2015 AQA GCSE Spec and 19th Century literature - NQT help!

Discussion in 'English' started by rebeccajones2309, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. I'm starting at my first school next week and I was wondering if any fellow teachers are able to offer any advice or tips on how you are going to approach the nineteenth century texts on the course and how will you ensure your students remain engaged with the nineteenth century texts in the new specification? How will you keep the lower abilities and/or both genders on board? The panic is starting to set in (as you can probably tell!) so any advice would be very much appreciated!

  2. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter


    Firstly, do you know which novel you are teaching or whether you have a choice? Personally, I will need to think carefully about the group I have and personal choice when making a decision. Whilst I'll try and pick to suit the group as much as I can, choosing a novel I do not know at all could be a drawback - I'd love to do Pride & Prejudice but would think twice with a boy-heavy group! I'd discuss with colleagues in your new school as well - we are operating a system where no-one teaches a text in isolation so everyone has a co-teacher to plan with.

    Secondly, in terms of general tips on keeping everyone as happy and engaged as possible... Again talk to colleagues - different types of student work in different ways! Ours like being spoon fed, they like us telling them our interpretations and the interpretations of others rather than working out their own (although I try to minimise just chalk n talk). I know you have to do the whole novel for AQA as anything could come up on the exam but don't feel you have to analyse everything. Perhaps assign them a character or two to focus on as you read, do different ones across the class and share at the end. Depending on the students you might assign chapters to groups to summarise, storyboard, present on etc. I'm a HoD but I've never taught a full 19th century text at GCSE before for a closed book exam, so it will be as much a process of experimentation for me as well - don't be scared of that!!

    I'd definitely find the best film/TV adaptation you can (ideally not too different from the book) and drop in 10 minutes or so a week (depending on how long it is). Also our department are saving the 19th C novel for Y11 and students will have done lots of work on unseen 19th century prose during year 10 (in prep for the AQA language papers) so hopefully will be less daunted by the full text.

    Sorry I've not been able to provide a silver bullet. I think this forum will be a fount of useful information as we all begin teaching the new specs together! Above all, you're new - don't be afraid to ask more experienced colleagues for help, ideas, support, how they've done it before or even to pop in and see what you're doing!

    Good luck in your job!
  3. gloucesterroad

    gloucesterroad New commenter

    As PianoPete said, teaching a C19th novel for a closed book exam is new to most of us, so you are not alone!

    I have just been writing a SOW on A Christmas Carol for lower ability - lots of interactive, card-sorty tasks to keep them engaged. I haven't tested it out yet - on students or teachers - so it is by no means a finished product, but if you would like to have a look at it for inspiration, leave your email and I can send it all over to you.

    At the moment, it is only context and Staves 1+2 as my colleague is writing the second half, and we will need to look at gaps in it and plug them later, but it might help you with starting points.
  4. fineliner

    fineliner Occasional commenter

    Hi, I agree with some of the others posts. Firstly you need to select a book that you will want to teach, that you can be really enthusiastic about, that you can make engaging for your class. Next you need to think about your class, what is their reading experience? What are their preferences likely to be?. It might be a good idea to find out what the other teachers in your department are teaching and if you can partner up with a colleague so that you can plan together. When I did HoD roles I always gave NQTs the set above, below or parallel to mine for that reason.

    Once you have decided which novel you are teaching post again as we might be able to share resources.
  5. fineliner

    fineliner Occasional commenter

    Also, is your user name your real name? If so, you should change it.

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