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English Language at A level: recognised by "good" Universities for Honours subjects?

Discussion in 'English' started by julief, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    Does anyone know where I could obtain a list of all those universities who are happy to make offers to students with English Language at A Level, and which courses are accessible?
    I'm concerned - and gutted - that Year 11 students at my school are being put off applying to take our fledgling AS language course because English Lit is being sold as "the academic course" and Lang/Lit as the "also academic course but with less reading". My HoD is clearly of the view that Language is the "easy" option. I need hard evidence that there is value in an English Language A level.
    Please don't just say, you need to be enthusiastic and get out there and sell it: I have been enthusiastic (after the teacher who wanted to teach it went off on maternity leave) and done my best to develop the course. We have 17 students in Yr 12 who are enjoying the course and will hopefully do well. I feel Language has been almost blacklisted and need statistics to try and give the course a fair chance again.
    Thanks in advance to anyone who responds. :)
     
  2. Having taught both A level language and A level literature, I am of the firm opinion that language is far more academically demanding, in terms of subject knowledge. I've taught language for a number of years and I'm still getting my head around all the linguistic terminology. A number of members of my department have refused to teach language, due to their perception that it is too complicated for them to understand!

    I would imagine looking at individual university websites and their entry requirements would be the best place. Over the years I've had numerous A level English language students go on to study linguistics or English literature at Oxbridge and many red-brick universities.

    Get some of your year 12 students to go and talk to the Y11 classes? I do this each year and it really 'sells it' to them. For the last 2 years, we've had more students staying on to do language, over literature.
    Ask your HoD to look at, or even teach some child language aquisition or grammar to your students, and see how easy they find it! Perhaps their opinion may change then. :)
     
  3. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    This makes me chuckle: one of my (lit) colleagues spent a good deal of time saying that Lang was the easy option and generally making out that the high results (raw and against ALPS) were due to the "lightweight"nature of the course. She then had to teach the Spoken Lang element of the new GCSE... and her tune has changed!!
    Some of our students do both Lang and Lit, although most choose one or the other, and we have had students go on to read Lang, Lit, combined degrees and Linguistics at good universities. I find telling them (and their parents) that the idea that Lang is a lesser subject is an old-fashioned idea pedalled by those who don't understand it work rather well :)
     
  4. gruoch

    gruoch New commenter

    I think that a lot of teachers with a Lit degree are finding the spoken language element of GCSE challenging.
     
  5. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I agree, gruoch - but it made the point very nicely that we're not just teaching glorified story writing, which was the previous impression!

     
  6. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    I have a real issue with this, and I think that it needs to be addressed before the next event. I am KS5 coordinator for my dept, and the only teacher who crosses over between Lang and Lit (and what a battle that was... but that's another story!)
    At our Sixth Form options evening, we make sure that we have a representative from each course to "sell" the course (although it's all very informal), and although there is some friendly banter about which course is "better" (nothing between them really, on the basis of our results, although Lang is ALWAYS marginally better than Lit), I would have a serious issue with anyone boosting one course to the detriment of another. My HoD tried it once in the year that I took over the role from a Lit only teacher. He won't make that mistake again!
    You are part of a department and I think this attitude is totally wrong and extremely divisive. I don't know how easy it easy for you to stand up to your HoD (you're probably much less stroppy than I with your boss!) but I do think that you need to bring up the issue and ask that it be resolved for next time.
     
  7. If a student takes English literature you can be pretty sure what the attitude of an admissions tutor will be. English language you might get a positive reaction, or it might be very negative.
    Whilst I don't think the curriculum should be fossilised so that no new subjects are allowed in, in the initial stages they should only be advised as fourth A-levels for able students.



     
  8. sleepyhead

    sleepyhead New commenter

    And yet, despite this, our results always top the Lit ones (not by much but enough to make me smile)
    As a fourth A Level, I think it's always a bad choice. We do get all of our students good results (nothing lower than a C for years), and often the 4th subject kids do so well that the drop something else in favour, but it is no soft option.
     

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