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A Level English Language and Literature (AQA)

Studying English at BSix
We try to make lessons as interesting as possible because an interested learner is an effective learner! There's plenty of discussion - in pairs, in groups and as a whole class, and of course there's also lots of reading. We illustrate the texts we study by showing films that help you understand the contexts, and there are opportunities for acting and role play in the classroom. If you genuinely love reading, and are the sort of person who always has a notebook or a novel in your bag, then this course will be perfect for you.

What's involved in the English Language & Literature course?
This A level mixes a study of language and literature. For Unit 1, you study a novel and a play, 'Property' by Valerie Martin and 'A Streetcar Named Desire' by Tennessee Williams. This allows you to look at lots of different kinds of texts so you get a broad range of reading experience. The focus of this unit is the voice of the characters, textual analysis and your own writing skills. For the exam you are asked to write an analytical essay (40%) and complete a creative, production task (60%) – you choose which you do on which text.

In Unit 2, we look at the way voices are expressed in different kinds of writing. We study the play 'All my Sons' by Arthur Miller and analyse a range of transcripts and journalism. We compare different kinds of spoken texts and analyse our set text with reference to the representation of speech as well as exploration of stylistic and thematic issues. In the exam you are given two unseen extracts to compare (50%) and an extract from the set text to analyse (50%).

In the second year, you will write a 2,500 word coursework essay comparing two modern poets (Carol-Ann Duffy and Sylvia Plath) which counts for 40%, and the final exam (60%) tests all the skills you've learned, and is partly based on an anthology of women's journalism called 'Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs'.

English beyond the classroom
BSix English students go out on a variety of trips during the two years. We attend conferences organised by the exam board to help you get better grades; we visit museums such as the Museum of London's 'Sugar and Slavery' exhibition; and whenever possible we arrange trips to the theatre or cinema to see productions of set texts on stage or screen. We also encourage you to get involved in producing your own magazines, whether it be writing poetry, short stories or journalism.

Typical essay questions in the exam:
Explore how Tennessee Williams portrays the relationship between Stella and Stanley.

Imagine that Dr Sanchez keeps a journal in which he records his impressions of his patients. Write his entry in the journal about Manon after she consults him about not being able to have a child.

Compare how information, attitudes and feelings are conveyed by the speakers in the two texts.

How does Miller use representations of speech and other stylistic techniques to present the relationship between Joe and Chris Keller.

Recommended reading:
Any classic novels, plays and poetry both broaden and deepen your experience of the ways English can be used. If you never have, then try Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, D.H. Lawrence, Jean Rhys, Oscar Wilde, J.B. Priestley, George Bernard Shaw, John Donne, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Blake, Emily Dickinson
For this course, the set books are:
A Streetcar Named Desire – Tennessee Williams
Property – Valerie Martin
All My Sons – Arthur Miller
Mean Time – Carol-Ann Duffy
Ariel – Sylvia Plath
And we also recommend:
The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter
Beloved – Toni Morrison
The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

What students say about the Language & Literature course:
"I like the reading, learning about different cultures and how people lived and thought in the past. I also enjoyed learning about more writers techniques, like personification and similes. We've learnt a lot." - Cheila Dos-Santos.

"I love the way the teachers use different techniques to engage us but at the same time allow us creative freedom." - Emily Cripps

"I chose it instead of Literature because I like reading all types of writing, not just poetry and fiction – we study journalism and conversations as well as really good modern plays."Tosin Aderoye

If you have any questions about our courses please contact the Admissions team on 0800 3892 947 or via e-mail to info@bsix.ac.uk and we will arrange for a curriculum specialist to respond to your enquiry
There are 3 A Level English teachers: Georgina Choat, Jessica Gossling and David Hampton. We are all experienced teachers with a passion for language and literature.
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