Why choose English?
You will develop independence, creativity and maturity. Whichever English course you choose, you will learn to think for yourself; you will acquire an intellectual toolkit with which to analyse any text that crosses your path; you will find that individual creative contributions are valued; and you will be working within a mature learning community that is both supportive and challenging. We focus from the outset on facilitating your development of good note-taking and essay writing skills, offering additional surgery support where appropriate. In all the English subjects, you will develop close textual analytical skills. You will develop the ability to present a coherent argument in writing and to show awareness of different possibilities of interpretation.
You will have the opportunity to join Voices, the student-run society through which students explore their interest in English beyond the classroom; it includes the Creative Writing Society, Poetry Forum, Book Club, The Phoenix, a student produced newspaper, and the Debating Society. Each year there are several theatre visits and educational visits; recent examples have included a Study Day on Frankenstein in London, and a production of The Tempest at the ADC in Cambridge.
Do you ever wonder why people use language in so many different ways or why opinions about how we use language can be so strong? Are you puzzled by how young children seem able to go from gurgling to speaking just by listening to the language around them? Do you enjoy expressing your opinions on spoken and written language, justifying your views and debating them with others? If so, you will find this course in all its variety particularly fascinating. You will also develop valuable tools for investigating how language actually works.
At AS level, you will:
- analyse a range of written texts (for example journalism, travel writing, advertisements)
- explore a range of electronic texts (for example MSN dialogues, blogs, text messages, web pages)
- study a range of spoken texts (transcripts of conversations, planned speeches by politicians)
- learn the terminology and grammar to allow you to compare how language is used and to what effects
- discover how children learn to speak during the initial years of life
- investigate how texts present different groups, institutions, individuals and events – and create your own representations through writing.
The A2 course builds on the skills and knowledge that you will have developed at AS level, and also focuses on language change and language variation. You will explore a wider range of texts, now taking into account historical changes in the English language, and you will also undertake detailed investigations into areas of spoken language that interest you.
You will learn mostly by investigation, group work and discussion. Some of the most interesting classes will be when students bring in their own samples of language for analysis. Your work will be supported by a rich set of online and intranet resources including a wonderful set of speech recordings from across the country.
Assessment will be through:
- Analysis of spoken and written language samples
- Your own language production pieces
- Investigations based on your own recordings