Subject Lead for English: Ms Celia Robb
English Literature by Ms Celia Robb
If you take a moment to think about it, language is interlaced throughout every aspect of our lives.
You sit reading the news on your phone while drinking your morning coffee. On your way to school you pass a billboard with an extremely witty slogan and mull over how simple yet effective the message was. Throughout your day you will talk with friends and teachers, perhaps changing the tone and topic of conversation depending on who you are talking with and the situation.
Without realising, you have been using - and being exposed to - language in different forms and contexts.
Through studying A level English Language, you will understand how people communicate, plus how children acquire language; the effect society has on language and the factors enabling humans to acquire, use and understand it. Plus, how it is used in real-life situations, as well as the transformation of English over the centuries, looking at Old English through to Present Day English, and the social, historical factors that have shaped the way we use and perceive the way language is both spoken and used. Language works in subtle ways, subconsciously. If a clever mind is behind the pen, the language conveyed in these messages can effectively influence people’s thoughts, perceptions, and actions.
By studying A level English Language in-depth, you will gain invaluable skills for life. You will understand how to communicate effectively, critically assess information and challenge assumptions. You will also become aware of the wider context of language and the written form. Such as how language is used for social control, propaganda, and manipulation in the wider world.
Why Study English Language?
The A level English Language specification offers opportunities for students to develop their subject expertise by engaging creatively and critically with a wide range of texts and discourses. Students will create texts and reflect critically on their own processes of production, while analysing the texts produced by others. The specification explores the study of English language both as a medium of communication and as a topic, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, debate different views, and work independently to research aspects of language in use. Language is seen as a creative tool for expression and social connection, as well as for individual cognition. The study of language as a symbolic system used to assert power in society is also fundamental to the scope of this specification. The methods of analysis appropriate to the fields of English language/linguistics underpin all the elements of this specification, and these are applied to distinctive topic areas.
- 'Language, the individual and society' focuses on individual and immediate social contexts for language. The aim of this part of the subject content is to introduce students to language study, exploring textual variety and children’s language development. This area of study introduces students to methods of language analysis to explore concepts of audience, purpose, genre, mode, and representation. It also introduces students to the study of children’s language development, exploring how children learn language and how they can understand and express themselves through language.
- 'Language diversity and change' works outwards to consider larger-scale public discourses about change and variety, drawing on regional, ethnic, national, and global Englishers. The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore language diversity and change over time. Students will study the key concepts of audience, purpose, genre, and mode and will explore language in its wider social, geographical, and temporal contexts. They will explore processes of language change. This part of the subject content also requires students to study social attitudes to, and debates about, language diversity and change.
- 'Language in action', is by its very nature, synoptic, as it requires an ability to make connections across the course. The aim of this area of study is to allow students to explore and analyse language data independently and develop and reflect upon their own writing expertise. It requires students to carry out two different kinds of individual research:
- a language investigation (2,000 words excluding data)
- a piece of original writing and commentary (750 words each).
- (Students can choose to pursue a study of spoken, written or multimodal data, or a mixture of text types, demonstrating knowledge in areas of individual interest
Beyond A level
It is well suited to anyone who wishes to follow a career path which involves using language, from the writing of scientific papers to Journalism, from Education to Law, from Commerce to the Media. Managers at all levels depend on their communications skills to achieve their goals.