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English Developing exam expertise for AQA GCSE English Language Paper 2

The changes to the new GCSEs are unparalleled in that a general school examination is being reformed simultaneously in all its aspects: specifications, content, demand, assessment process, grading and school accountability. In the new English Language GCSE teachers have been working rapidly to help all of our students grapple with the new demands; particularly comparing two complex non fiction texts (one written in the 19th Century) Daniel Willingham states: .It’s impossible to have higher order thinking without strongly established skills and lots of knowledge of facts’

The aim of Paper 2 is to develop students’ insights into how writers have particular viewpoints and perspectives on issues or themes that are important to the way we think and live our lives. It will encourage students to demonstrate their skills by:

  • in section A, reading two linked sources from different time periods and genres in order to consider how each presents a perspective or viewpoint to influence the reader
  • in section B, producing a written text to a specified audience, purpose and form in which they give their own perspective on the theme that has been introduced to them in section A

Our students now need a shift in English teaching practice in order to ensure that students have more focused cultural knowledge of any text; and a greater awareness and understanding of Tier 2 vocabulary so that they will understand the essential meaning . Our course "Developing exam expertise for AQA GCSE English Language Paper 2", therefore supports reading for comprehension and inference alongside targeting the context of the nineteenth century world. This course will enable teachers to develop and share a range of practical strategies to empower their students in taking this area of the exam.

About the Expert
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Vicky Hawking

Vicky has been the English Subject Facilitator for Brighton and Hove for the past nine years. She works to support English departments across the city by offering training and network meetings for English leaders and running the annual English Joint Practice Development day for the city. Vicky's other role is Senior Lead Teacher at Cardinal Newman School, where she currently leads on a whole school mentoring initiative to help disadvantaged students to progress further faster. She is a pedagogical enthusiast and obsessive reader who is keen to encourage the development of teachers and students.



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