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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:04 pm 
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DD2’s teachers have been mentioning English A level for several years now, she is year 10 so thinking about her choices. She keeps saying lately that she does not want to do it- reasons not given but judging from certain reactions it may not be rational or mature but based more on irrelevancies like specific teachers.

I simply want her to do subjects she enjoys and will get a good grade. She is really super at English Lang and Lit, always was (I guess we are talking Eng Lit A level or something here right? Excuse my ignorance but I and other half did not go through UK system and Dd1 is on a different, science and music trajectory.)

I don’t want to go too much into why she DOESN’T want to do it, when I talk to her, as that tends to crystallise her position! Rather I’d like some ammunition to sow some seeds for her to think about it seriously. Why is it good to do? What is fun or rewarding about it? Where can it lead, what doors may open? I need to be able to drop one liners here and there or she will smell a rat.

As I said the object is to encourage her to consider it from other angles not for me to push her into it. She has plenty of other viable options. I just see her light up sometimes when talking about her English assignments, having an area where she can shine and help her friends, and how she finds it a walk in the park compared to some other areas that get all the attention like STEM.

Or maybe it is ghastly and she is right?!?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:21 pm 
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silverysea wrote:
She keeps saying lately that she does not want to do it- reasons not given but judging from certain reactions it may not be rational or mature but based more on irrelevancies like specific teachers.

The teacher at A level is not an 'irrelevance' - they are in a smaller class so I think it's crucial that it's someone they can ask for help.

English is a solid choice for lots of degree in Humanites, Law, etc. You need to enjoy reading for its own sake - look at the specification to see what it's like.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:44 pm 
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I don't think that you can make subject choice decisions on things like teachers as it is something that can change and you have no control over.

I took English Lit A-Level and an English degree and loved it. If you take it at degree level it is a solid humanity that can lead to all sorts of diff rent careers. I went into magazine publishing and I had friends on my course who have ended up with a variety of careers from teaching, PR, Marketing, Sales, Law (with extra study) journalism, a museum curator...

My DS has made A-Level choices this year and although he really enjoys English and creative writing he wouldn't even entertain the idea of taking it as he felt it would limit his enjoyment in some way and he feels it is something he can continue to enjoy independently. He also has other strong interests that he feels will be more profitable for him in the long term!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:46 pm 
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Yes, you can't be sure which teacher you will have but if there's no-one in the department you get on with then you need to be very confident to take it at A level.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:59 pm 
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Location: Reading
Things can change a lot between year 10 and 11.
DD was asked during parents evening in year 10 whether she was considering Eng Lit for A level and said no. There was no way she was thinking about it. We were gobsmacked the teacher even asked tbh. At that point she knew she wanted to do maths and chemistry, probably german and something else.

A year later, german has gone out of the window and she has decided that since she really enjoys English lit at school and reading in general, actually she wants to do it. And her English teacher is delighted.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 6:59 pm 
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Guest55 wrote:
Yes, you can't be sure which teacher you will have but if there's no-one in the department you get on with then you need to be very confident to take it at A level.


I really don't think so. You can't make potentially career/life changing decisions on a teacher. The whole staff in a department could change between choosing your option and taking the course. At A-Level children need the maturity for independent study anyway.

Interestingly we have been having this discussion about a Computer Science GCSE option for my DD. A decision she is making now. The department doesn't seem great and the results are poor compared to other subjects at the school. However if it is a subject that she is interested in and wants to do I have advised her that this should not influence her decision.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:04 pm 
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Perhaps I am looking at it from another angle? I've had to 'sort out' a number of 'clashes' between staff and students who claim they are being victimised/infairly treated by staff. I would suggest if its a subject like English it's extremely unlikely that the whole department will change.

I am helping someone now who does not get on with any of the maths staff at his school ... it's fine if you can find a way through it, not everyone can.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:18 pm 
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If someone is mad keen to take a particular subject, then not letting 'not having a very good relationship with the staff who teach it' put them off is one thing.

But silverysea's DD doesn't sound particularly keen on the subject in the first place, nor on the teaching staff. When there are so many other subjects in the curriculum that she could choose, enjoy and do well in, why push her to take this particular one? The only degree for which English Lit is likely to be a requirement for is English Lit, which again is only one option in an even wider field of possibilities once one is looking at undergraduate study.

_________________
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:37 pm 
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Please find out what board she would be taking and what novels and poetry she would be studying.

That will make a huge difference. I did English Lit A level and an English degree and I absolutely loved and continue to be influenced by the books and poetry I was introduced to. I never tire of them and I know they will always stay with me.

But dd1 did English Lit A level and I did not really feel that she was introduced to the best of English Literature. Friends of her from other schools doing the same board were doing much more interesting and challenging books in my opinion.

DD1 started with 4 and then dropped a different one than was planned.

DD2 changed what she was going to be doing at the last minute and is now going on to read that subject at university.

Things can really change and in a most unexpected way.

Better to be open at this point to all options. She may well find in Y11 that she enjoys revising some subjects a lot more than others and that is key to which subjects would be likely to suit her. DG


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:22 am 
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I would recommend English Lit A level (but I would, wouldn't I ? :wink: ). It is regarded as intellectually pretty rigorous and it requires strong powers of analysis. It also facilitates excellent communication skills, since to obtain the high bands you need to be eloquent, expressive and succinct. Any essay-based subject will encourage strong writing skills and the ability to construct strong, persuasive written and oral arguments.

Many English grads enter the legal profession, publishing/journalism, marketing, research, education, and quite a few of my old students work for high profile NGOs. You can do anything!

Studying the A level will involve a fair bit of research and look across genres, time periods and literary context so it's interesting from that perspective as well.


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