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English Language: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 5 or above in GCSE English Language and English Literature.

A fascinating exploration of language in our society

In this course we will study English both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right. Using a multitude of texts, we will consider the roots of English, explore theories about its influence on our attitudes, and evaluate different views of its power and usage - both positive and negative!

Students will also work independently to research aspects of language in use and on their own creative use of language. Overall, this is a rich linguistic course which will be fascinating for students with an interest in history, psychology, politics, philosophy, sociology, and, not least, English!

 

The course

We study the way groups such as young people, those with ethnic backgrounds and those with a disability are represented in the media. To do so, we will use key theories of language to better understand how and why language can influence society’s attitudes towards these groups.

We will also explore how children learn to speak, read and write language and debate how education and society affects children’s development and social status.

Skills developed include writing for a non-specialist audience, discursive essay writing, detailed analysis and evaluation of data, and applying a variety of theories and concepts to answers confidently.

The non-examined component (worth 20%) is an independent language investigation and a piece of original writing. Past examples include:

  • Does gender affect the language used in social network posts.
  • The semantic change of the word ‘like’.
  • The language of a specific social group.
  • The dialect of my South Yorkshire family.
  • How is language used by a political group?
  • How a child with autism communicates with close family members.

 

Beyond the classroom

Past activities have included:

  • A debating club.
  • Public speaking competitions.
  • Trips to the theatre and cinema.
  • Support for entering students into national creative writing competitions.

 

Progression

An English A-level is a valuable asset when applying to university or to potential employers. It shows that you have good communication skills, and that you are able to persuade, inform or connect with someone. It can lead to a higher or further education course in English or communications, as well as careers in journalism, teaching, the media, public relations, marketing, broadcasting, linguistics and law. It is a useful qualification for all courses, developing analytical skills and providing evidence of the ability to use language successfully.