Subject English/es at A Level : possible barriers

Subject English/es at A Level : possible barriers

Subject English/es at A Level : possible barriers and enablers provided via the current GCSE specification Some personal reflections Context : Di Leedham [email protected] NALDIC (The National Subject Association for EAL) representative on CLiE Mainstream English/Literacy teacher since 1984 AQA English Language GCSE Examiner on the current specifications (first examination in 2017) Dropbox link A learners journey to English/English Lit GCSE (2017 onwards) and beyond KS2 : National Curriculum prescribed grammar teaching, with year on year linear content coverage and glossary of terminology Preparation/practice for high stakes/high accountability GPS test GPS test KS3 : Nothing specific : consolidate KS2

KS4 : Analysis/evaluation of writers craft, purposes, effect in both Language and Literature to be enacted via terminology and student success in doing so assessed in the mark scheme. No indicative content or terminology provided Positive marking (so no error penalties) In writing, a high tariff for ambitious/sophisticated vocabulary, full range of sentence forms and control/accuracy in punctuation, sentence demarcation and spelling. KS2 GPS test introduced 2013 GCSE cohort in 2018 updated 2016 cohort entering Y10 in 2019 for GCSE In 2021

Grammar Policy and Pedagogy from Primary to Secondary School : Ian Cushing GCSE English Language : current AQA Specification Paper One : Explorations in creative reading and writing 1 fictional extract : 20/21C 4 questions to assess reading 1 question to assess writing Paper Two : Writers viewpoints and perspectives 2 literary non fiction extracts : 19C + 20 or 21C 4 questions to assess reading 1 question to assess writing Quality of reading responses to be adjudged Simple/basic Some success Clear Perceptive/Sophisticated

Quality of writing responses to be adjudged Simple/basic Some success Clear/Consistently Clear Convincing/Compelling GCSE English Language : current Assessment Objectives AO1: identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas, select and synthesise evidence from different texts AO2: Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views AO3: Compare writers ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts AO4: Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references AO5: Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences. Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts AO6: Candidates must use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation. (This requirement must constitute 20 % of the marks for each specification as a whole.)

Language study is visible and assessed at GCSE - a variety of linguistics models/approaches could be adopted and would be given credit if deployed in ways which meet the marking criteria. Teacher familiarity with the new specifications is likely to support more confident teaching. BUT Little continuity between the study of language at KS2, KS3 and KS4 and no reliable bridges between GCSE and A Level Language - unless individual teachers have the knowledge or the motivation to build those connections. Teacher attention is still often focussed on the demands of the Literature courses (closed book, unprepared extract questions, 19th century prose text + Shakespeare + poetry anthology + another classic text). Coverage of English Language is not necessarily reflected in informal time allocation. A number of English teachers view Literature as the core business of subject English. It has content, particularly in relation to context, which can be taught and this is perceived as being responsive to popular Direct Instruction approaches. Some teachers assume an implicit reader writer transfer. An increasing number of English teachers are keen on Mastery models of English Language which prioritise rhetoric and the guided practice of vocabulary and sentence structures. This seems to help some students achieve but relentless repetition may demotivate others? It doesnt bridge well to nuances of A Level English Language. Teacher knowledge about language is still very uneven. Some are actively hostile to grammar. Many struggle to consolidate and develop residual KS2 GPS knowledge in a new context. Few have confidence or desire to address/adapt a range of language models critically/holistically. Not enough subject specialists! A provocation

Has there ever been a coherent, supportive pedagogical climate which actively encourages sign up for English Language and/or English Language&Literature at A Level? A Language for Life 1975 Personal framing as a teacher of language Traditional 1960s naming of parts grammar Classics legacy matriculation requirements English Literature degree with focus on language analysis English 5-16 HMI 1984 PGCE at Goldsmiths 1984 Kingman Report 1988

Becoming Our Own Experts Rosen/Barnes/Martin/National Oracy Project National Curriculum + start of GCSEs 1988 Teaching/Head of Department 1985 Active involvement in LINC networks and trialling resources Cox Report 1989 KAL in the National Curriculum + GCSE CWK EYFS/Language and Literacy Postgrad study Language In The National Curriculum LINC 1989

1992 Doing Critical Literacy : Hilary Janks EAL National Strategy + functional linguistics/LCT Coursework 1988 Controlled Assessment 2009 Spoken Language Study CA 2011 (until 2015) SPaG test (+ glossary) KS2 2013 Grammar for Writing -teacher-resources

Glamour of Grammar/Englicious NC reform and new GCSE Specifications 2015 QMUL Too soon to call? Anecdotal evidence suggests an increase in A Level uptake in English/es in 2019. Unconfirmed! But the view from the classroom remains bleak for many

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