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Help needed with Paper 1 Section A (AQA- Media and non fiction texts)

Discussion in 'English' started by mrsfabmoretti, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I've been asked to teach the above to a predominantly male C/D borderline class who are resitting their exam in June (this is the third attempt). The pupils already have three lessons a week with their class teacher; I teach a 'top-up' lesson once a week.
    So far, we've looked in detail at different texts and analysed the language and use of presentational devices, use of fact and opinion. We've also practised PEE paragraphs (a lot).
    I've now exhausted all of the texts I have and am stuck for ideas on what to do next.
    Any ideas of texts to look at next, or imaginative ways to teach the topic, would be much appreciated. Don't have the option of past papers and questions, as this is being covered in their ordinary English lessons. I really struggle to find non fiction texts for them to analyse.


  2. gruoch

    gruoch Established commenter

    Get hold of some magazine ads or advertising features.
    Print off some web pages - these are becoming quite usual as pieces for analysis, especially for graphics. I asked my class how they knew that a particular text was from a web site, so they had to read the cluses (hyperlinks, menus etc).
    I find that weaker groups have difficulty with:
    fact vs opinion
    person - 2nd appealing to 'you' - 3rd being authoritative for instance
    language - a lot of my D/E group scored 0 in November

  3. I have no way of knowing whether this works as an exam technique and it probably sounds too simplistic but I would train the kids to use a highlighter and ruler when analysing texts. Tell them that they are allowed to write on the text provided in the exam - some don't realise this is allowed. Give them a bullet point list of, say, half a dozen presentational features and the same number of linguistic features. Go through a sample text and show them how to pick out and highlight the key features. Train them to read a section at a time - rule a line between paragraphs and number the paragraphs. Tell them what to look for in each paragraph. Demonstrate that the idea mooted at the beginning as a rhetorical question will often reappear at the end as a statement of 'fact' (QED) even thought it may be the writer's opinion. Other ideas might be to cut up and mix up the paragraphs and reassemble in the correct order. Have each child read a paragraph silently and then tell class what it says. Get them to understand that they can make their own writing more interesting by varying their vocabulary - eg. 'picture', 'image', photo(graph), illustration etc. when doing their PEE.
  4. diamond_raindrops

    diamond_raindrops New commenter

    Hello there,
    We are doing exactly the same and seemed to have cracked it by getting the pupils to focus just on the exam questions.
    If you do the AQA A spec then the first 4 questions are pretty much the same year in year out. This is a huge advantage for you and your pupils because you can pretty much tell them exactly what the questions are going to be, approx how many marks and how to answer each question in particular.
    After putting our own year 11s in for early entry, we were able to use their online results analysis tool to see where they didnt do too well- our F pupils struggled with analysis of lang and H pupils werent answering the presentation and layout questions well.
    If you dont have this tool, you can get students to sit Paper 1- the first half and then use that as a basis for discovering where their weaknesses are.
    After my first few lessons with our booster classes, I discovered that they didnt know what "how are facts and opinions used" meant and panicked when reading the texts. So I have shown them how to break the texts down, to read around words/parts they dont understand, etc. The basics really.
    When I did the PEE technique for answering questions on the writer's viewpoint/following the argument I showed them what Explain means and worked with their own answers to show how I would improve their responses.

    Hope this helps! :)
  5. midnight_angel

    midnight_angel Senior commenter

    Hi, if you want to send me your email address (private message if, understandably you don't want to post it), I can send you some things I am working on with my current year 10s, who are of a similiar ability (mainly D/E grade students, a couple of Cs) who we are putting through for the new spec AQA English language unit 1 exam this summer.
  6. midnight_angel

    midnight_angel Senior commenter

    By the way, meant to add, once I receive your email address, I will try to get it to you asap, but I'm afraid due to reports due this week, I might not get round to it until very early next week.

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