Having spent some time in Humanities and Maths it was now the turn of the English Faculty to take part in their teaching and learning discussions. There were two key items on the Agenda:
- 200 word challenge
- Teaching the poetry anthology at GCSE
200 Word Challenge
Rachel summarised as a reminder the purpose of the 200 word challenge which was to improve writing provision and performance within English. Rachel had conducted several learning walks to see how the students at Key Stage 3 were rising to the challenge of writing more extended pieces.
Students are given a different stimulus to write about every fortnight. It might be something serious, for example writing a letter to the local council to complain about lack of recreational space for young people, or something much less purposeful, like writing a eulogy for a deceased cartoon character. The aim was to write for 200 words, using their targets from the previous task and to correct their own work.
Rachel then asked for ideas on how to improve the challenge:
- Use of a computer room enabling students to edit and make it even better. Some classes were then going to use this to enter into the Radio 2 500 words competition.
- Students to be given a challenge of key facts or words they had to include.
- Students to bring in their own stimulus to encourage them in their writing (also to help the English teachers to use student ideas in the future)
- Link to the literature texts used at GCSE
- The final question was should this be continued into Year 9, the answer was yes.
Poetry Anthology – GCSE
Luke presented a booklet which was full of advice from the exam board and his own thoughts on how to improve the student’s answers during the Poetry Section of the English Literature exam. The main discussion came down to how students should be re-thinking how they would divide up their time in the exam and what they should be including in each paragraph. For example how to be successful in comparing two poems (one known and one unseen); how the unseen poem must be explained and put into context from what they can learn within the poem.
Thank you to the English Faculty for sharing their ideas and making me feel welcome in their meeting.