ENGLISH LANGUAGE Grade 12 AS

Overview

The AS and A Level English Syllabus at GEMS Wesgreen International School aims to develop learners who are: confident in working with information and ideas; responsible for their learning; reflective, innovative and equipped for new and future challenges; engaged intellectually and socially. We expect AS and A Level language learners at this advanced level to develop an understanding and enjoyment of a wide variety of different texts (both written and spoken). The syllabus is focused on helping these learners to gain pleasure and awareness of how language works in different ways, for different purposes and for different audiences. Learners are expected to show the ability to appreciate how different texts are shaped by their language and style. Furthermore, learners have chances to create their own imaginative and persuasive writing for different purposes and audiences as well as engage in researching, selecting and shaping information from different sources. A final component of the syllabus is that learners need to display the ability to analyse and compare written and spoken texts in close detail.

Learning Outcomes

The aims of all subjects state what a teacher may expect to teach and what a student may expect to experience and learn. These aims suggest how the student may be changed by the learning experience. The aims of the AS and A Level English Language Syllabus are to develop in students:

  • A critical and informed response to texts in a range of forms, styles, contexts and audiences.
  • The interdependent skills of reading, analysis, and research.
  • Effective, creative, accurate, and appropriate communication.
  • A firm foundation for further study of language and linguistics.
  • The ability to read with understanding and analyse texts in a variety of forms.
  • The ability to demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of English language and its use in a variety of contexts.
  • The ability to write clearly, accurately, creatively, and effectively for different purposes/ audiences, using different forms.

Ongoing Objectives

There are objectives that are covered and built upon throughout each unit of work. These include:

  • Identifying distinguishing features of given texts, relate them to the function and context of the writing.
  • Organising information when writing.
  • Commenting on aspects such as vocabulary, figurative language (e.g. use of metaphor and simile), word ordering and sentence structure, formality/ informality of tone, and the communication of attitudes, bias or prejudice, structure.
  • Writing for a specific purpose and/ or audience using appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style.
  • Articulating and justifying answers, arguments, and opinions.
  • Explaining and discussing own understanding of read texts and other materials.
  • Considering and evaluating different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others.
  • Selecting and using appropriate registers for effective communication.
  • Participating in discussion about texts/ genres and other works.

Unit Overviews

Term 1

Unit 1– Introduction to AS/ A Level Course & Moving on from O Level/ IGCSE

Approximate length: 13 weeks

This unit is the introduction to the course and gives an overview of the skills needed to analyse texts, both written and spoken, and to write them. The unit re-visits skills, concepts, and interests developed at IGCSE. It introduces ideas of spoken language to add to the analysis of texts in a variety of written forms. The repertoire of writing for different purposes/audiences, using different forms, is extended through the study of a range of models and through structured practice. Classroom activities in this unit include a variety of individual/ pair/ group and whole-class tasks. Skills are taught and reinforced at a basic level; more challenging activities are outlined; and a range of print, multi-modal and online resources is recommended, both for teacher-led class use and for further learner research.

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To read with understanding and analyse texts in a variety of forms.
  • To demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of English language (including, at A Level, spoken language) and its use in a variety of contexts.
  • To write clearly, accurately, creatively, and effectively for different purposes/ audiences, using different forms.

Week 1: Moving on from O Level/ IGCSE- The learners recollect as many as possible of the texts they have studied in the recent past (drawn from different subject areas – history, geography, science e.t.c). The focus would be features of any/all of these texts which learners found difficult. Revision of some features so language learners could be encouraged to consider how far they have tried to incorporate into their own writing aspects of style they have encountered in their reading.

Weeks 2 & 3: Types of written texts- Natural and scripted speech for analysis and as stimulus for personal writing using rhetorical devices such as emotive language, and patterning devices such as repetition, lists, questions, antithesis (use of opposites) and figurative language. Learners may need to be discouraged from thinking that natural/ spontaneous speech is just an inferior form of written language, or that planned speech is somehow ‘better’ because ‘mistakes’ are edited out (The ‘deficit-model’ approach).

Week 4 & 5: Purpose- Learners identify distinguishing features of texts and relate them to the function and context of the writing. Being aware of a writer’s purpose (why apparently s/he wrote what s/he did) will help learners to analyse and evaluate both what was written (the content) and how it was written (the style). The focus is on the individual learner’s writing skills and his/her own purposes in writing.

Week 6 & 7: Audience- Communication is two-way. Consider who is being communicated to by any given text. Consider primary and secondary audiences.

Week 8 & 9: Context- In what context, or surroundings, does the piece of text appear? Some aspects of context are verbal – they are to do with the other words and texts surrounding the text we are studying. Other aspects of context are more social – they are to do with the social relationships surrounding the situation in which the text has been produced and in which it is being understood.

Week 10 & 11: Form- The ways in which a text is presented - its layout on the printed page, the ways in which it is heard or displayed, its aural or visual format- give immediate clues to the kind of text it is, even before we come to ‘read’ it in detail. Learners will need to practise the basic skill of identifying significant features of form, then moving on to the more challenging task of evaluating the effects of these features, relating them to context, audience, and purpose.

Week 12 & 13: Style- Learners create a systematic checklist to refer to. Candidates are required to comment on aspects of: texts such as vocabulary, figurative language, word ordering, and sentence structure, formality and/or informality of tone, structure, and attitudes (bias or prejudice). There is comparison of the style and language of the candidate’s writing and with that of the original text. Learners need to feel comfortable considering how a text is constructed: the habit of ‘deconstruction’ needs to become a natural part of classroom activity and private reading. Similarly, it is helpful to encourage learners to write in conscious imitation of styles they have studied, making deliberate choices of form, structure, and language. They should be encouraged to read and comment constructively on each other’s work.

Term 2

Unit 2 – Commentary

Approximate length: 3 weeks

In this unit, the learners are required to show understanding of how language works in a range of contexts with some ability to organise ideas and communicate textual analysis in written English. This unit has as its subject matter the acquisition of skills for writing commentaries for set passages for Paper This unit tackles the identification, understanding and appreciation of specific features of language, form, and style, and of how these features relate to purpose, audience, and context in a range of text types. Areas to be covered here include Media texts i.e. leaflets, editorials, news stories, articles, reviews, blogs, investigative journalism, letters, podcasts, advertisements and brochures. Others are Spoken texts i.e. podcasts, voice-overs, scripted speech, natural speech; Literary material such as letters, diaries, essays, (auto) biographies, and narrative/descriptive.

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To identify distinguishing features of the texts.
  • To relate them to the function and context of the writing.
  • To organise information in answers.
  • To comment on aspects of vocabulary, figurative language, word ordering and sentence structure, formality /informality of tone.
  • To comment on tone, bias, or prejudice.

Unit 3 – Directed Writing

Approximate length: 3 weeks

This unit has as its subject matter the acquisition of skills for directed writing in response to the set passages for Paper 1. It is best taken in combination with Unit 2. This unit deals with how to write for a specific purpose and/or audience, using appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style.

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To write for a specific purpose and/or audience using appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style.
  • To identify distinguishing features of texts and relate them to function and context.
  • To organise information in answers.
  • To comment on how writers communicate attitudes.
  • To comment on the formality/ informality of tone.

Unit 4 – Imaginative Writing (Narrative & Descriptive)

Approximate length: 3 weeks

This unit has as its subject matter the acquisition of skills for Paper 2 Section A. It is best when done in combination with Unit 5. This unit deals with narrative or descriptive writing and concentrates on developing the ability of learners to write imaginatively, using language to create deliberate effects, e.g. in conveying a mood or describing a character.

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To write imaginatively.
  • To use language to create deliberate effects.
  • To convey mood.
  • To demonstrate a knowledge of English language and its use in a variety of contexts.
  • To write clearly, accurately, creatively, and effectively for different purposes and audiences, using different forms.
  • To write a descriptive piece of continuous writing of 600– 900 words.
  • To describe a character.

Unit 4– Writing for an Audience (Discursive & Argumentative)

Approximate length: 3 weeks

This unit has as its subject the acquisition of skills for Paper 2 Section B and is best studied towards the end of the AS Level course, as learners often find it the most challenging aspect. This unit addresses writing for an audience, with the outcome being a discursive or argumentative essay of 600–900 words, written in one hour under examination conditions. This may sometimes be in letter form.

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To write for a specific audience.
  • To present a view clearly, construct an argument carefully, and write coherently and persuasively.
  • To present a view clearly.
  • To construct an argument carefully.
  • To write coherently and persuasively.
  • To write in a specified form for a specified audience.
  • To understand and analyse texts in a variety of forms.
  • To write clearly accurately, creatively, and effectively for different purposes and audiences, using different forms.

Unit 5 – Text Analysis

Approximate length: 2 weeks

This unit is an introduction to A Level (paper 3) and builds on the reading and writing skills developed at AS Level. The potential range of material for reading and analysis is wider and includes transcriptions of natural (spontaneous and semi-spontaneous) speech as well as prepared/scripted speech. In the directed writing task, skills of commentary are extended to cover comparison of the candidate’s own style and language with the style and language of original texts. An element of comparison is required in Paper 3 in the analysis of specific features of form and style, and of how these features relate to purpose, audience, and context in a range of text types.

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To write for a specific purpose and/or audience using appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style.
  • To understand spoken and/or written language.
  • To distinguish features of written and spoken language.
  • To relate features to the function and context of the texts.
  • To identify and analyse distinguishing features of written and/or spoken language in texts.
  • To organize information coherently when writing.

Unit 6– Language Topics

Approximate length: 6 weeks

This unit develops interdependent skills of reading, analysis, and research, with an increased emphasis on spoken language. Learners require a firm foundation for further study of language and linguistics. Learners are required to focus on two out of three Language Topics A, B and C: Spoken language and social groups; English as a global language; Language acquisition by children and teenagers.

Term 3

Specific Curriculum Objectives Covered:

  • To develop a broad understanding of the significance of (two of) the three topic areas. Topic A: Spoken language and social groups Topic B: English as a global language Topic C: Language acquisition by children and teenagers.
  • To portray wider reading, research abilities and the interdependent skills of: reading, analysis and research.
  • To comment on how writers communicate attitudes, bias or prejudice.To explore specific features of spoken language which are influenced by context; the use of language to include and exclude; group identity, power and status, slang, jargon and other non-standard features; idiolect/sociolect/dialect; speech sounds and accents; and theories and studies of social variation in language.
  • To show appreciation of the main functions of spoken language: Referential, Expressive, Transactional, Interactional and Phatic.
  • To explore issues arising from differing ideas of ‘world’/’global’/‘international’ English; Kachru’s Three Circles (inner circle, outer circle, expanding circle); the local status of English – as an ‘official’ (second) language; ‘Englishes’ (standard and nonstandard varieties); Cultural effects – especially from e.g. British v. American English; National government attitudes: language planning policies; and Language death.

Assessment

Baseline Test: At the beginning of the academic year, the students write an internal and standardized baseline test, which is used to measure progress.

Formative: Throughout the units, the learners will complete quizzes, graded work and essays which allow the teacher to assess the learners’ attainment and inform their planning.

For each unit the students complete a pre and post write-up of the text type. This allows the teacher to assess progression across the units.

Summative: At the end of each term, learners complete internal and standardized tests which allow the teacher to measure the learners’ progress throughout the term and year. At the end of the academic year, the learners are expected to sit for the Cambridge International AS and A Level English Language Examination.

Action for blended learning

Due to Covid-19 safety measures, we are following a blended model of remote and face-to-face learning, which is technology-centred. In addition to the traditional copybook, we will use:

  • GEMS Phoenix classroom.
  • GCSE pods.
  • Microsoft Office.
  • Education websites and applications, such as Kahoot, Padlet, etc.

Next Steps

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