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Advice please

Discussion in 'English' started by ukred, Sep 29, 2019.

  1. ukred

    ukred New commenter

    Hi, I am a retired teacher who, after 5 years, has been dragged back to tutor my granddaughter :-D She is taking her GCSE English (my subject) next summer.

    PLEASE any advice would be welcome as I find myself in a strange situation that I don't even know is normal....so much has changed!

    The school have just decided to Change to AQA Language and stay with Edusec Literature.....a few weeks ago. I'd bought the stuff but I'm sure I can adapt. Is it normal to switch halfway like this? More importantly, without too much detail and definitely not as a means of criticism, I need to ask if it is normal to tell the students to write a set piece for the creative writing section of the exam and memorise it to adapt whatever the question? If I found that strange, I wasn't prepared for the teacher telling my granddaughter her 'set piece' we had worked on wasn't realistic, she's now saying she will write a story and my granddaughter could copy and learn it?!

    Is it me? Can things have changed this much? My granddaughter is really upset and I just want to help not interfere but I really don't believe in such prescriptive work and yes, I do know you have to teach to the exam. In the past I was the first English teacher to get EBD students with bad issues the very first GCSE English passes in a school I worked at. We worked very hard so that they actually had the skills to write their own stories!

    Advice please? How do I handle this?
     
  2. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    Unfortunately this is quite common, but the tactic is usually used with lower ability candidates.
     
  3. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Yes, I can imagine that this is reasonably common tactic.

    Would it be possible to request a meeting with the teacher? If she knows that a former English teacher is tutoring one of her students, she might feel more comfortable allowing your grand-daughter to take a different strategy in the exam.

    Alternatively, perhaps just focus on the other aspects of the exam. The creative writing response amounts to 25%, and the rest really can't be taught by rote.

    Good luck!
     
  4. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Sounds rubbish to me. But then most schools sound rubbish to me. I tutor privately.
    I hope she is in year 10. I find it more than odd if they have changed boards half way through the course. I have tutored pupils from schools that have sat one board for Lang and one for Lit. It has worked out well.
    AQA Paper 1 has an image as a writing prompt - or a question such as describe a difficult experience. I don't see how an image of an old man's face can be adapted to an image of a train in perilous conditions as a writing prompt. But hey, I am not being taught by your granddaughter's teacher.
    I do teach students to write to a sort of plan. They must use 7 types of punctuation - make sure she is confident with apostrophes. They must use a range of sentences. They must use similes, metaphors, rhetorical questions, alliteration, adverbs, adjectives, onomatopoeia, preferably speech. They must use paragraphs. I try to teach Freytag's pyramid. Some students understand and enjoy it. Others haven't got a clue. Trial and error.
    The mark scheme for Paper 1 Q5 and Paper 2 Q5 is the same.
    Start nagging the teacher. They won't like it but they will realise that you are serious and hopefully they will be helpful. If you can attend parents' evening- do so.
    It is possible that you have forgotten more than the teacher already knows.
     
  5. cwilson1983

    cwilson1983 Occasional commenter

    Creative writing is worth 50% of the English Language GCSE papers. It's something that shouldn't be ignored as it can severely drag down the overall mark/grade. I've seen this happen with students of every ability.

    I'd advise plenty of practice of fiction/ non-fiction with an emphasis on skills: understanding audience, form and purpose; development of ideas to improve whole text cohesion; and use of vocab/ techniques for effect. Oh and that little thing called reading can help too.

    Q
    "tb9605, post: 12930320, member: 2098554"]Yes, I can imagine that this is reasonably common tactic.

    Would it be possible to request a meeting with the teacher? If she knows that a former English teacher is tutoring one of her students, she might feel more comfortable allowing your grand-daughter to take a different strategy in the exam.

    Alternatively, perhaps just focus on the other aspects of the exam. The creative writing response amounts to 25%, and the rest really can't be taught by rote.

    Good luck![/QUOTE]
     
  6. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Mmmmm.... technically only Question 5 on Paper 1 (AQA) is Creative Writing. Question 5 on paper 2 is Writing to Present a Viewpoint and that would be VERY hard to prepapre in advance as the statement students have to respond to could be on anything. Sure, you have to be creative in your writing for that task too.... but it's not quite the same.

    Mind you, I agree with the rest of your advice! My point was more that if the teacher in question proves to be intractable and inflexible, it might be a better use of the OP's time to focus on the remaining 75% of the exam that can't be learnt by rote.
     
  7. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    The most important thing is that the creative writing/viewpoint writing meets the assessment objectives.
    If not, the teacher should be stating where and why the work is not meeting the AOs and what the student needs to do in order to meet the AOs. The AOs are the same for P1 Q5 and P2 Q5.
    If OP only retired a few years ago she should be similar with the old spec coursework. The requirements are not all that different. There was often a piece which was to be inspired by a film clip, film still, advert. It's very similar.
    Just get the new AOs and make sure that they apply to the student's work.
    I am intrigued by the idea of students learning an essay written by a teacher which is guaranteed to pass any Paper 1 Q5, regardless of image prompt or other question.
    Is it an academy?
     
  8. cwilson1983

    cwilson1983 Occasional commenter

    Both question 5 tasks on papers 1 and 2 are marked using the exact same mark scheme and demand the same skills to be demonstrated by students.

    They are only different in terms of form, audience and purpose. They are both creative writing tasks as they require students to respond to a given brief and to create a piece of fiction or non-fiction.

    Your post reads like pedantry for the sake of pedantry. I stated the percentage as 50% because: a) it is; and b) to discourage the OP from neglecting preparation for section B on both papers.

    Regarding learning a script that can be adapted to meet a given brief, this can be useful for some students. However, even with paper 1, the exact brief provided for both description and narrative options can vary considerably from one paper to another. Therefore, I would advise students to develop their skills and understanding of different texts so that they can, hopefully, write with success.
     
  9. dodie102

    dodie102 Occasional commenter

    Learning something to just dash out in some kind of ubiquitous writing blancmange fills me with horror. Learning the skills. Extrapolating ideas from the question to the finished written piece with clear methodical steps is fine.

    I suspect ukred that as a previous poster has suggested you may well be of more help to your granddaughter than the teacher. I think do some writing work for papers 1+2 and encourage her to read,read and read some more and to look at non-fiction too. Travel writing might be good for this.

    Good luck she's lucky that you are in her corner.
     

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