English Course Descriptions

Students and their families who have come to this page looking for information on the new National 4 and National 5 English courses may also find the downloads available at the end of this page very helpful.

 

In English you will be given opportunities to study texts: plays, novels, short stories and poems. You will write your own imaginative stories, informative reports and so on.

You will be encouraged to develop listening and thinking skills. Opportunities will be given to talk, give presentations and debate ideas. You will be asked to consider how your English and Literacy skills make links with other subjects you are studying at school and what you hope to do when you eventually leave school. We take an integrated approach to learning: we mean that your close reading may also develop your writing which may in turn stimulate talking and listening and so on.

S1 - S3 Broad General Education Phase

With the introduction of 'A curriculum for Excellence' our course in English covers three areas. The first we call 'Knowledge about Language' - in this part of the course we teach literacy skills including spelling and grammar. This should lead to more secure reading and improved writing. The second part of the course we call 'Texts' - in this section we read and respond to English texts such as poems, short stories, novels and plays. You will also get to choose your own texts from our Library and will be encouraged to read during class time. The third part of our course is called 'Opportunities' - here students are given a choice of topic and they work actively and collaboratively with other students to produce a 'performance' where they present the fruits of their work. Recent 'opportunities' have included: drama, debating, improving creative writing, journalism, verse and song writing, card marking, puppet theatre and hopefully many more. As a result of these three types of experience our intention is that students in English may become more confident individuals, effective contributors and successful learners. Some of our topics (such as debating, speech writing and Scots) also take into account what it means to be a Responsible Citizen. As you progress through S1 - S3 you could cover Levels 1 - 3 of the Experiences and Outcomes. Some students will progress into Level 4. The Broad General Education phase concludes with an introduction to the new National Courses with a special focus on the Added Value Unit (National 4 Level) which we expect all students to complete.

National 4 Senior Phase

Our entry requirements: Completion of Levels 1 and 2 Experiences and Outcomes

This course is designed to further your language skills both in your understanding of how writers produce text and manipulate language to create effects (This unit is called 'Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation) and in your ability to produce texts for yourself (This unit is called Creation and Production). Throughout this course you will be challenged and helped to listen, talk, read and write in such a way that you will be better prepared either for the world of further education or of work. In order to achieve a National 4 Award you need to complete an English Assignment (Added Value Unit) and two mandadtory units:

Unit 1: Analysis and Evaluation

Outcome 1: You will demonstrate an ability to analyse and evaluate straightforward written texts demonstrating that you understand purpose, audience, main ideas, supporting details and literary techniques including critical terminology. This is demonstrated by passing a close reading assessment.

Outcome 2: You will demonstrate an ability to analyse and evaluate straightforward spoken language demonstrating that you understand purpose, audience, main ideas, supporting details and how speakers use language to create spoken effects. This is demonstrated through listening assessments.

Unit 2: Creation and Production

Outcome 1: You will produce straightforward written texts in a variety of genres (creative and discursive). Our aim is to improve essay writing skills which respect the expectations of the various genres.

Outcome 2: You will take part in straightforward spoken interactions selecting significant ideas and content which pay attention to purpose and audience. You will demonstrate an ability to communicate meaning at first hearing using both language and non verbal communication.

Progression: National 4 is a useful course for those who plan to leave school at the end of S4. There is however a progression pathway onto National 5 the following year.

National 5 Senior Phase

Our entry Requirements: Completion of Levels 1, 2 and 3 Experiences and Outcomes. A completed Added Value Unit from National 4.

This course is designed to further your language skills both in your understanding of how writers produce text and manipulate language to create effects (This unit is called 'Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation) and in your ability to produce texts for yourself (This unit is called Creation and Production). Throughout this course you will be challenged and helped to listen, talk, read and write in such a way that you will be better prepared either for the world of further education or of work.

Unlike National 4 which is all internally assessed National 5 concludes with an external assessment which has two components:

Component 1: The exam (70% of your overall grade)

30% a one hour paper which will test your skills in reading for understanding, analysis and evaluation by answering questions on a non fiction paper you will not have seen before.

The second ninety minute paper has two parts:

20% a critical essay answering an unseen question on a text you will have studied in class

20% answering questions on a Scottish Text (this year we have chosen Norman MacCaig poetry) then going on to write an extended answer relating the ideas and / or themes in that text to other texts you will have studied by the same poet.

Component 2: The folio (30% of your overall grade)

This will consist of two pieces of writing in two genres: one broadly creative and the other broadly discursive. 15 marks will be awarded to each essay. As you will have opportunities to draft and redraft these essays there is a very high expectation that they will be submitted free from technical errors.

 In order to be entered for the exam you will need to complete and pass two mandatory units:

Unit 1: Analysis and Evaluation

Outcome 1: You will demonstrate an ability to analyse and evaluate detailed written texts demonstrating that you understand purpose, audience, main ideas, supporting details and literary techniques including critical terminology. This is demonstrated by passing a close reading assessment.

Outcome 2: You will demonstrate an ability to analyse and evaluate detailed spoken language demonstrating that you understand purpose, audience, main ideas, supporting details and how speakers use language to create spoken effects. This is demonstrated through listening assessments.

Unit 2: Creation and Production

Outcome 1: You will produce detailed written texts in a variety of genres (creative and discursive). Our aim is to improve essay writing skills which respect the expectations of the various genres.

Outcome 2: You will take part in detailed spoken interactions selecting significant ideas and content which pay attention to purpose and audience. You will demonstrate an ability to communicate meaning at first hearing using both language and non verbal communication.

 

Progression: A pass at National 5 can lead to Higher the following year. 

 

Higher (until 2015)

 THE PREFERRED ENTRY LEVEL

Standard Grade 1 or 2 with at least a 2 in Reading, Writing and Talking or Intermediate 2 (A or B).  For those with aspirations of Higher, but who have an Intermediate 2 (C) or a 3 in their Reading or Writing elements at Standard Grade we recommend a two year Higher Course which may or may not have an Intermediate 2 exam in S5.

 

COURSE STRUCTURE

The course comprises two units: Unit 1: Language Study and Unit 2: Literary Study. There is a balance between coursework – which must be passed for the candidate to be presented for the external exam – and a final exam of two papers; one close reading of two papers weighted at 40% of final grade and the other two critical essays weighted at 40% of final grade.  However, unlike many subjects, these will not be taught separately: because of the nature of English and the inter-relationship between language and literature the course will be taught in an integrated way.  In addition, as from 2010 candidates will be required to produce a writing folio, from which two essays of different genres will be sent to the SQA for external marking. This will be weighted at 20% of final grade.

 TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES INCLUDING HOMEWORK, PLUS ASSESSMENT

You will learn in a variety of ways – in groups and whole class lessons in the classroom, and through the self-discipline necessary to complete the folio, the preparation for which must be completed largely at home.  Homework will be given most weeks and will often focus on close reading skills by reading non fiction articles found in newspapers or on the internet. Candidates will have to show an ability to work to deadlines.

 In the course of the year, there will be several formal assessments which you must pass in order to achieve each unit award.  If you fail these assessments you will normally be allowed one further attempt to pass.  If you fail for a second time, it is likely that you will be presented for the level below.  e.g. If after two attempts you still show that you cannot pass a unit at Higher, you will be presented at the level below – Intermediate 2.

 

PROGRESSION onto college, university or work. There is also the possibility of Advanced Higher

 

ENGLISH:  Advanced Higher

 THE PREFERRED ENTRY LEVEL

 Higher English at A or B. For those with Higher C we would recommend repeating Higher.

 COURSE STRUCTURE

There are three component units in the course: two mandatory 40-hour units (English: Specialist Study and English: Literary Study) and one optional 40-hour unit (to be selected from English: Language Study, English: Textual Analysis, English: Reading the Media, English: Creative Writing).

 

TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES INCLUDING HOMEWORK, PLUS ASSESSMENT

 

In the English Specialist study (mandatory) candidates must produce a dissertation on an agreed topic by 30 April. This dissertation will be approximately 4,000 words long. This dissertation will be produced in stages: proposal and brief outline, first draft, final submission. This piece of work will be largely unassisted therefore candidates will need to be able to demonstrate an ability to work independently and to keep deadlines.

 

In the other mandatory unit (English Literary Study) candidates will attend an exam (in May) similar to the Critical Essay paper at Higher only this time they will write one essay over a period of 90 minutes. This will be an extended piece of writing in response to an unseen question on previously studied text(s).

 

If Creative Writing is the option undertaken there is a folio submission of two pieces of writing from two different genres instead of any further examination.

 

Useful Links

SQA - English

www.englishbiz.co.uk

www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/learning/learningzone/

www.ltscotland.org.uk/knowledgeoflanguage/

www.bbc.co.uk/schools/bitesize/

www.ltscotland.org.uk/

www.hsn.uk.net/

www.higherstillnotes.co.uk/

www.sparknotes.com/

www.cliffsnotes.com/

http://www.highlandlearning.org.uk/


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