Supervising and authenticating
Sample student responses accompany this guidance. The purpose of this component is for students to explore aspects of their chosen prose and poetry texts through the lens of different critical ideas and for them to engage with the notion that meanings in literature are not fixed and are influenced by many external factors that may be brought to bear on texts. This area of the course provides a challenging and wide-ranging opportunity for an introduction to different ways of reading and for independent study.
The introduction to the NEA should provide students with a detailed review of the above requirements and guidance on what it means to work independently e. The point at which students begin their NEA preparation will depend on individual school and college decisions. Schools and colleges may aim to introduce the NEA in the first year of the course. An appropriate opportunity would be the six weeks which follow the completion of AS examinations but other times will be available, especially where schools and colleges are not entering their students for AS.
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Schools and colleges will differ in how they approach the NEA and this may be dependent upon whether:. These approaches are equally valid and take account of the different contexts in which schools and colleges will be working. What is important is that each approach recognises that a degree of autonomy in student text and task choice is required. Ideally a range of differentiated texts and tasks will be seen across a submission for this component.
Students will, however, choose their texts and shape their tasks with your support and you will be supported by your NEA Advisor and the following offers you some guidance on how to help your students make these choices.
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This component is supported by the AQA critical anthology, which has accessible extracts on a range of theoretical ideas. The six sections in the critical anthology encourage students to think about how literature might reflect and be affected by ideas about:. Obviously teachers will have to decide how the critical anthology will be introduced.
Ideally, the theoretical material should be used to support and inform the reading of all texts studied during the whole course.
If this is done, students will have gained a solid understanding of how texts can be interpreted in multiple ways thereby enabling them to arrive at their own interpretations and become confident autonomous readers. If students are not introduced to theoretical material prior to their NEA study, teachers will need to ensure that they are helped in their reading of the chosen sections of the critical anthology, from which students can choose critical views to apply. By studying these critical theories, they will see how meanings in texts can be laid open for negotiation and debate and students may choose to read beyond the extracts provided in the critical anthology.
The NEA component allows students and teachers much more freedom in the choice of texts than the examined components and so enables the aptitudes and interests of students to be taken into account when texts are being selected. When supporting students with their choice of texts, the following guidance is useful:.
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We encourage schools and colleges to check task titles with their AQA NEA Adviser before students embark on their research, especially where there may be some uncertainty about the appropriateness of texts or the approach being taken. Of the two pieces of writing that make up the final folder, one must be a conventional response, of which examination essays are examples, but the other can be a re-creative piece if the student so wishes.
The re-creative option requires a different approach and could provide more enjoyment and challenge. However, it is perfectly acceptable to produce two conventional pieces of work.
The conventional piece could be presented in the form of literary journalism if the student so wishes, so long as it meets all the criteria. What is important, given that the NEA assesses all five assessment objectives AOs , is that each task must allow access to them all. Students should be familiar with this concept by the time they approach the NEA as all AOs are tested in all questions in the examined components 1 and 2. The exemplar NEA responses are good examples of how access to all AOs is enabled by the task and the moderator commentary explains how the AOs have been addressed by the student.
A conventional essay will focus on debate and invite students to explore potential meanings in a literary text using critical theories and ideas. As with the examination questions, tasks need to address the assessment objectives, but with NEA there can be more flexible approaches. Students should know their NEA text well so that they can discuss method in an explicit way, and can make judicious choices in their selection of supporting material.
Given that the text being written about in this exemplar response is a novel, the discussion will be on narrative method.
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Comment on characterisation, sequencing, structure, voices, settings and language should be woven into the argument. It is worth considering how key terms in the exemplar task wording enable different AOs to be accessed:.
Using ideas from the critical anthology to inform your argument, to what extent do you agree with this view? AO1 : Articulate informed, personal and creative responses to literary texts, using associated concepts and terminology, and coherent, accurate written expression. AO3 : Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received.
AO4 is targeted by the requirement to refer to the critical anthology, which is itself another text. In debating the extent to which A Clockwork Orange is a protest novel about the powerlessness of human beings against ruthless autocratic governments, the student will directly engage with different interpretations. A re-creative response, supported by a commentary, allows students to explore aspects of a text and its potential meanings while at the same time experience enjoyment in the creative aspects of their task. The purpose of a re-creative response is to offer a critical reading of the base text that has been informed by working with the critical anthology.
New light can be shed on a text and its potential ambiguities by re-creating part of it through a new voice and genre. There is no requirement for students to replicate the form and language of the chosen base text, but the selection of narrative voice matters.
Theory and independence
This is a double award GCSE where students also follow GCSE Literature giving them the opportunity to explore fictional texts from a range of genres covering prose, plays and poetry. This incorporates a Shakespeare play for exam assessment. This course allows students to access some of our classic heritage texts as well as more contemporary and modern literature teaching them the skills of reading critically, sensitively and in detail.
The structure of these two courses is designed to provide challenge and interest for all students bringing English into the modern age. It offers stretch and challenge to the most able of students and offers differentiation for those who need more support.
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