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Discussion in 'English' started by clairemarie_wright, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. clairemarie_wright

    clairemarie_wright New commenter

    Hi, I will be teaching a very low ability Yr10 group from Sept. I have been asked to create a SOW/plan where we teach the literature texts through the language papers/skills.

    Has anyone done this? Is anyone willing to share plans/resources?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Yes. Which Literature texts are you doing? Which Language board?

    But there are plenty of generic activities you can do:
    - when studying the poems in the Lit anthology, have students summarise them to practise the Language summary question
    - develop extended writing skills by having them write letters from the perspective of characters in Shakespeare; newspaper reports/artciles about life in Victorian times, etc
    - have them practise the structure questions with extracts from the novel/longer poems, etc
    clairemarie_wright likes this.
  3. clairemarie_wright

    clairemarie_wright New commenter

    Hi, thank you for replying. We are using AQA for both Lang/Lit and study Macbeth, Christmas Carol, An Inspector Calls and Power and Conflict poetry. The students are roughly working at grade 1-2 in Sept.
  4. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    I have only ever taught the Language paper through the Literature texts. I'd stick pins in my eyes otherwise - the Language paper is so deathly dull to teach if you do it as a separate thing.

    All you need to do is use the characters and the events of the novel/play/poetry as the basis of language tasks. Write a diary entry in the voice of XYZ, pretend you're interviewing X character, pretend you're X, writing a letter to Y, and so on and so forth. Use extracts to do close language analysis and if there is a creative writing element to your Language paper (there is on mine, but I don't teach AQA), then get them to practise writing descriptive and narrative pieces inspired by moments in the texts. I always make sure when I do the language activities that I explain which paper this task would be in, and I use the exact wording and structure of the questions as they appear on the exam paper, so that the kids are familiarised with both the question formats and which questions appear on which paper.

    I also try and find non-fiction articles related to the texts to use, so that they're exposed to plenty of non-fiction styles of writing - newspaper articles about the author, or an event thematically linked to the text, an interview with a director about their production of the play, an extract from a biography, etc, and then they can also be used for comprehension and summary task practice.

    Hope that's useful!
    marefly1971 likes this.
  5. OneLooseCrank

    OneLooseCrank Occasional commenter

    I prefer to teach Language and Literature separately - I'd rather stick pins in my eyes than only ever teach Literature! The texts I like to read the most are current news, columnists, comedians, articles... If I only ever read the same book over and over again for my entire career I think I'd die of boredom!

    To wit; find an article that you and they will find interesting (BLM, environment, local news, international news, conspiracy theory, scientific discovery, whatever tickles your pickles). Use the structure of the exam as the structure of your interrogation of the text. This is what I do:

    1) Retrieval - summarise the ideas of the text, find different types of ideas, take an idea and find all of the quotes that show it etc.
    2) Analysis - decide what important classifications were used in the construction of the text. Learn enough classifications to be able to do justice to the most important types used by the author.
    3) Structure - draw a line through the text to show where there is a marked change in the classifications used. Multiple lines might be needed as classifications shift in different places.
    4) Evaluation - weigh up what made the text profitable to a publisher; the ideas you retrieved or the material the text was constructed from, discovered in the analysis. What makes it a good text, the ideas, or the language? Was the range of ideas or language particularly limiting? Make sure students are aware of things like purpose and bias.
    5) Write your own response, on the same topic, in the same form, but based around your own feelings and your own language choices. Make the text as powerful as you can through powerful ideas and powerful language.

    You can have one set of standard questions (just like the exam) covering these three skills (just like the exam) and provide lots of different texts to apply these skills to - unseen texts (just like the exam) that will give them more cultural capital. You could do a comparison too, but I don't in year 10 and start to teach that in year 11.
    Do questions 1-4 in one lesson, and question 5 in one lesson (just like the exam). And I would do this two or three times a short term to break up the literature. That's six lessons, plus a few others at the beginning of the year to teach a wide range of classifications, and have them produce a classifications poster that they can pull out and apply to each new text.

    It's two GCSEs... I highly recommend treating them as such! Some of the best lessons I have with the students is to have given them a divisive unseen text, explore the ideas and then the language, and then have a debate about how good the text is (evaluation). They get proper into it.
  6. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    Oh dear, I'm not sure what's going on in your school, but we change the Literature texts every two years...we're certainly not teaching the same texts over and over again, as that would be awful!

    I find - and I've done a lot of research, writing and training on this - that teaching relevant, contemporary non-fiction linked to fiction texts is incredibly effective in teaching the Language skills alongside Literature. For me, the problem when the two GCSEs are treated as entirely separate entities is that Language is often taught in an incredibly formulaic, exam-focused manner with every lesson being built around answering exam-style questions using random unconnected extracts, or, even worse, a diet of past papers. This approach is very common and can turn a lot of kids off English altogether. By mixing the two disciplines, the kids barely realise they're doing two GCSEs and they naturally build the skills required for the English Language paper without having to spend endless lessons experiencing death by exam practice.

    Obviously this is just my opinion and it's fantastic that you love teaching Language - personally I find it a dull, reductive and utterly uncreative syllabus that needs a thorough overhauling! Perhaps I could do with you in my department to inspire me, as I've hated it for ten years and my frustration with it just increases every year!
  7. OneLooseCrank

    OneLooseCrank Occasional commenter

    I lolled :)
    No, we don't change our GCSE lit texts... I don't have a problem with this though because I'm happy to be extremely knowledgeable about the literature we do. I'd be a poorer lit teacher if we changed to new texts every few years! Two babies prohibit me from learning new texts ;)
    I get a lot of joy in undertaking current news or columnists for language and having the discussion about writing style and evaluating the texts. Maybe my literature lessons are boring but the students really enjoy language lessons!
    My lang lessons are actually formulaic, but it gives the students a codified way of learning because they are familiar with the timings and expectations. I find that a mixture of the formulaic and the dynamic works best, and I save my dynamic teaching for literature...

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