Awarding Body:AQACourse Duration:1/2 Years

Minimum Entry Requirements

5 GCSE's at grades A* - C including Maths and English.

Course Content

English Language A-levels is one of the courses reformed from September 2015 onwards. Students will work towads the AS qualification at the end of year 1, then progress to the A-level qualification at the end of year 2

English Language is an exciting, analytical subject in which students will learn the tools and terminology of linguistic description, to respond to texts. Much of the content can be applied to everyday linguistic interactions. While students will have the chance to produce some of their own writing, an interest in how English is used in daily life will be needed, along with a desire to analyse its various components in detail.

AS qualification

This will be the focus of year 1, which will be assessed through 2 summer exams (100%)

Language Analysis

Students will be introduced to the skills of textual analysis - writing systematically about the language used in texts. 'Texts' will be taken in a broad sense and could include a range of written, electronic and spoken texts. Students will be required to use accurate terminology to describe specific features of language, in order to guide comparions of how texts create meanings and representations.

Language Diversity

Students will learn how language use is affected by an individual's gender, occupational, social and regional background. This will involve looking at previous case studies, as well as conductinbg some wider research. The exam will require students to discuss Language Diversity, prompted by a text (for example a transcript of doversation or statistics about language use by groups of people).

Language Discourses

Students will engage with attitudes that exist to language use, related to the topics of Language Diversity. The exam will invite students to write a piece of journalism on such a topic, for a stated audience (for instance an opinion article for university students on why people might change their regional accents).

A-level qualification

This will be the focus of year 2, including and extending the above topics and skills. It will be assessed through 2 exams (80%) and non-exam assessment (20%).

Language Change

Students will learn how the English Language has evolved historically, charting developments through the study of texts from different time periods. The exam will invite students to compare texts of similar genres and topics, but from diferent times (potentially back to 1600). Students will also study how English continues to change in modern times in the British Isles, in addition to its role as a world language. Attitudes towards these changes will be considered and evidenced through the analysis of journalistic texts.

Child Language Acquisition

Students will study the patterns of children's development of language. This will involve looking at spoken, written and reading acquisition. Students will learn theories about the wider process of acquisition and apply these to texts (for example a transcript of a young child interacting with parents at bedtime, a report of a school outing written by a primary school child, a page from a reading scheme book).

Original Writing (non-exam assessment)

In this A-level unit, students will produce their own original writing (750 words). This will draw on analytical studies of a range of genre (for instance dramatic monologue, short story, journalism). In the commentary element (750 words), students will write about their own drafting process that brought about the pieces, and how stylistic choices contributed to the intended purposes and meanings.

Language Investigation (non-exam assessment)

This involves students undertaking a linguistic investigation (2000 words) into an area of personal language interest. The task will involve aim setting, data collection (which might involve designing experiments, recording and transcribing language use, searching internet databases), linguistic analysis and evaluation.

Methods of Teaching

Teaching methods include use of ILT, class discussion, and individual or group presentations. Extension lectures and revision sessions take place at some stages of the year, as well as workshops to offer assistance on subject content. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own learning by completing written assignments and undertaking independent study through wider reading (using the weekly reading list) and use of the subject’s intranet site.

Financial Implications

There is a £10 initial cost at the start of the course for resource packs that will be used to accompany the teaching of units. Recommended textbooks are also available from the college bookshop. Additional costs could be incurred for optional trips to lectures and conferences.

The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Career Progression

Studying English Language at A-level is excellent preparation for higher education courses in the English Language/Linguistics field, as well as a range of other Arts, Humanities and Social Science subjects. Our students go on to a wide range of course and career disciplines. As a skilled language commentator and user, students will have access to a wide range of professions including education, journalism, speech therapy, publishing, law and management.

A-level English Language looks at the social science of language, its use by those around us and the detailed terminology through which we describe its structure and grammar. Our students find the focus of the course very different to GCSE English Language. Prior study of a foreign language often helps prepare students for the grammatical concepts A-level English Language covers. We will draw on content from Sociology, Psychology and Media Studies. There is some original writing in the course, but written responses will be predominately analytical in their nature.

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