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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:58 pm 
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Can anyone tell me if, and where, it is possible to do a degree in an MFL and study the literature of that language? And can anyone tell me where it is possible to study literature in an MFL below degree level?

It seems nigh-on impossible to find a course at a pre-university level that includes any literature. I can't find an A-level - other than Cambridge's international A-level - that includes literature; and even the American Advanced Placement Program withdrew its French literature paper last year. My DD's head of MFL tells me that pretty much the only universities that still include literature in their MFL degrees are Oxford and Cambridge. Does anyone know any different?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:33 pm 
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Well, I certainly hope this isn't the case as I might have to go and jump off a cliff if it is! I have 2 MFL degrees and did several other MFLs as subsidiaries and had to study literature for all of them - even the rather obscure languages I did for just a year. Back then we did it as part of the A level courses too. I also have experience of Russian teaching at A level and there was a literature element. This is very recently. I will try to find out about French but I do think that, as far as I know, there is still a requirement for most boards that some literature will be studied.

As for universities - try the 'old' universities with good MFL departments - Sheffield, Newcastle, Manchester, Exeter, East Anglia. I really can't imagine there is no literature on these courses, it is unthinkable!


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Like Amber, I was quite surprised to hear this! And this from someone who did her level best to avoid the literature components as far as possible while at university :lol: , choosing modules such as linguistics and film study which were available as alternatives. However you couldn't get away with studying literature altogether, since it formed an intrinsic part of most MFL degree AND A-level courses back then. Anyone who did two MFLs and English at A-level would need to know approximately 16 works of literature in the minutest detail, and we weren't even allowed to take them into the exam room - all quotes and references had to be committed to memory. (That's probably what put me off more of the same at uni!)

Anyway it is a shame though, if this is indeed the case. Surely not at the older, more traditional establishments?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Mmm, well a cursory look through the websites of Manchester, Exeter and Bristol reveals 'literature' as mentioned in all their courses. To pick a newer university - Portsmouth - it doesn't look like it's offered there. Not quite sure where the head of MFL was getting her info from - perhaps she just meant it wasn't universally available.

Here's a tricky one though: how can I identify a sixth form level literature course, to run post A-level, for a student taking the A-level early? The choice of A-level board is pre-determined, and contains no literature.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 12:29 am 
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I did look to see if any of the Open University's "Young Applicants in Schools" modules would be suitable, but the only language ones they have seem to be for beginners or intermediates in a new language.

But couldn't the pupil simply spend some time reading some literature in the chosen language without the pressure of being examined in it? If they hope to proceed to any MFL degree, it would be valuable to be able to talk about a book they'd enjoyed in the language at interview (or in a personal statement) - in fact, I would have thought for Oxbridge it would be expected that a prospective student would have read much more widely, for "pleasure" than what is narrowly specified in the A level syllabus. A quick google reveals several "reading lists" that undergraduates are expected to get through before they arrive for their first year at several well-respected universities...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:25 am 
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Quote:
Cultural topic: the study of a target language speaking region/community or the study of a period of 20th century history from a target language-speaking country/community or the study of a novelist/dramatist/poet from a target language-speaking country/community or the study of a director/architect/musician/painter from a target language-speaking country/ community.[
/i]

That is from AQA's German A level syllabus. I agree it seems to indicate that the literature has been sidelined.

Quote:
You study German language modules as outlined under Language Work - All Degrees (below). In addition, you choose from a selection of modules that include: contemporary German society; history; film; linguistics; literature; and medieval studies
.

And even my old stamping ground (Newcastle Uni) seems to have sold out somewhat. This is most disturbing!

As Solimum suggested, why not just read? And if a formal study of literature per se is desired, there is always English Literature, which in my innocence I assume may still contain some literature?[


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 6:36 pm 
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The reason for looking for a formal programme of study, as an option, is so that the student in question isn't required to do an additional A level or AS level by the school. The French A level is likely to be completed in Year 11 or 12. It's also quite useful to have something to follow which has a pre-determined structure, even if you don't take an exam at the end of it.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:02 pm 
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
How about looking at the AQA "Extended Project" - basically you can choose any topic to research and present the results (probably as a 5000 word essay). The school needs to be fully involved in providing a supervisor/ mentor but having recently been to various 6th form open evenings several are using these as a "selling point" for their top students. It requires a lot of independent study and can be used as part of the AQA bacc or as a free-standing qualification (with UCAS points)

See http://web.aqa.org.uk/qual/projects/ext ... erials.php for more information, and some examples of previous projects


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:40 pm 
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I have considered the 'Extended Project Qualification' - and it may yet be the route we resort to - but I'm not sure how well an A-level student would cope with French literature without any actual teaching - and as far as I can tell, anything you are taught in the EPQ can't be included in it... (The required teaching relates only to project management skills.) I certainly wouldn't have wanted to have been let loose on Candide, Carmen or L'Ecole des Femmes without some help! The old A-level allowed the teachers to actually teach the literature.

I remember reading something about a diploma (in language, rather than literature). I might just have to go and investigate that!


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