Awarding Body:AQACourse Duration:1 Year

Minimum Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at Grades A*- C including English and Maths.

Course Content

The course examines a wide range of topics focusing on how and why human beings communicate and the impact this has in informing and developing cultural identities. You will examine how we communicate with ourselves, our friends, parents and those in authority and how rules of communication change depending upon cultural identity, our understanding and perception of these rules and our wish to ‘fit in’. The course aims to:

• Emphasise cultural aspects of communication
• Provide a framework in which students relate their own life experiences to contemporary academic debates
• Engage students in a wide range of interesting and well supported coursework tasks
• Give students a thorough grounding in the analysis and understanding of cultural products and cultural practices
• Reflect developments in this field of higher education, but at a level that is accessible and stimulating for A Level students

AS Level
The AS course provides a thorough examination of personal communication, here the focus will be on developing ideas of self image and self esteem and how this leads us to develop self presentation. In exploring the effectiveness of our communication and our sense of self. This links closely with group identity, how do we change ourselves to fit into various groups in society, how do we manipulate group situations and develop leadership skills and how is this significant in shaping our identity?

Identity is a key word throughout the course and links very closely with an examination of the nature of culture. What is it that defines us? Not just as an individual but as a member of a particular cultural group. We will examine the difference between high and popular culture, exploring the value of a variety of cultural texts.

The course examines the nature of the texts that we are surrounded by in everyday life and teaches students the tools to be able to deconstruct these texts, examining both their nature and their purpose and the different ways in which they can be read.

A2 Level
The A2 Course explores further the topic areas covered at AS, developing the theories to include debate and detailed analysis on three cultural sites with a key emphasis on social and cultural rituals. These sites include spaces and places and fictions. You will study dominant and alternative approaches to the understanding of communication and culture. This will be further developed through an investigation of debates concerning capitalism, globalisation and consumerism in relation to cultural products and practices.

Methods of Teaching

The subject employs a high variety of teaching strategies: small group projects and case studies, individual research and whole class teaching focussing on the development of your understanding as well as written and analytical skills. Regular lunchtime workshops are run to provide support and extension activities.

Methods and Patterns of Assessment

AS Level
There will be two units providing an introduction to the study of communication and culture. Both units deal with the personal level of communication and candidates own experience of cultural products and cultural practices. The interaction between the individual and the broader cultural environment is a key area of investigation.

Unit 1 will cover:

  • The nature of culture
  • Definitions of culture
  • The meanings and practices of every day life
  • High culture and popular culture
  • The relationship between culture and value
  • Verbal and non verbal communication
  • Identity and self presentation
  • Group communication
  • Reading images and products

This will be assessed via an external examination of one hour 45 minutes and provide 50% of the total AS grade.

Unit 2 will cover:

• Three pieces of independent work, including a 500 word, 1000 word assignments the focus of which will be prompted each year by AQA with a choice of alternative topics and a web based ‘presentation’ on ‘me and my culture’

• The sites for study will revolve around - Communication, culture and the Individual and cultural contexts and practices

This is an internally assessed and externally moderated module and will provide 50% of the total AS grade.

A2 Level
Units 3 and 4 build on the work established in AS, providing an integrated and extensive programme of study. Texts and contexts are more challenging and there is a greater focus on the theoretical approaches to contemporary culture. Both units cover broader issues of cultural reproduction and transmission, with a plethora of critical opinions and perspectives; key concepts switch from identity to power.

Unit 3 will cover:

- A close study of two cultural sites: spaces and places and fictions.

- A study of dominant and alternative approaches to the understanding of communication and culture

- An investigation of the rationales for capitalism, globalisation and consumerism in relation to cultural products and practices

- This is an externaly assessed unit through a two hour examination providing 50% A2/25% A level grade.

Unit 4 will cover:
• A major piece of independent work, the focus of which will be prompted each year by AQA with a choice of alternative topics
• The construction and maintenance of our personal and social identities
• Analysis of social and cultural ‘rituals’
• This is an internally assessed externally moderated unit providing 50% A2/25% A level grade.

Financial Implications

There are a range of trips that develop the course content. We keep the cost of these as low as possible. The college also has a student support fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Career Progression

Many of our students go on to study a related degree in either Communications, Media or Cultural Studies leading to a number of jobs in the public sector and media industry.

Careers in public relations, human resources, teaching and business are all enriched by knowledge of communications as is any job that brings you into contact with people.

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