Radical Change: The New Language and Literature Guide Has Been Released!

Thursday 7 February 2019

For those of you who began teaching the Language A: language and literature course in August of 2011, we’ve come a long way.  We finally – or so we hope – have wrapped our heads around it all.  We have created sexy units of study that are also relevant and transformational for our students.  We understand what is expected from the Written Tasks, Further Oral Activities, the IOC, and the exams themselves.  And perhaps most importantly, we’ve found our groove, our momentum and confidence in teaching the course.

And now, with the official release on February 5th, 2019 of the revised guide for the Language A: Language and Literature course for first teaching in August of 2019 our world has been upended again. 

Although it’s somewhat daunting, I’m pretty pumped for this change.  That tension between feeling overwhelmed yet excited sums up my personal life too: my world was upended less than two weeks ago when my wife gave birth to our first child, a baby girl (both are healthy and doing well).  While the two aren’t comparable, and trying to force an analogy out of it would be painful for all to read, what I’m trying to inarticulately express is that change is inevitable.  In that change, in that frustration with all that is lost, there’s also opportunity for real growth.

Let’s get to specifics now because that’s why you subscribe to InThinking.  Please remember that because of copyright, we can’t publish the guide here.  It’s also important to remember that we aren’t the IB.  But we are both very well versed in this new course and we are here to support you in these big, and dare I say, radical changes.

You can find the guide on My IB, the IB’s portal for everything.  In case you find it confusing to find, I’ve provided the links below for what you will need.  Click on the links and go from there (note: you will have to first login to My IB and then it will take you to the specific site).

  1. Language A: Language and Literature Guide (first exams in 2021)
  2. Prescribed reading list
  3. IB Videos

I titled this “Radical Change” because I believe that’s what this new guide is – a radical departure from how we have done things in the past.  In anticipating what you will need, here’s what David and I are up to on our end and what you can expect before August of 2019.

  1. Examples of how to construct your course: this is going to be one of your most immediate concerns.  What’s required by the IB?  Is my course syllabus okay?  We will post examples and possibilities of what you can do while also recognizing there are other equally right ways to go about it (and wrong ways too). 
  2. Examples of how to plan units of study: the new course allows for so much flexibility and choice.  We will show you at least 10 different ways you can plan your units of study. 
  3. Explanations and connections to the areas of exploration and course concepts: what are they and how do we use them effectively in creating and planning a course?  We will show you how. 
  4. Resources, lessons, and materials tailored for the new course: as before, we will create content for you to use in your teaching.  Some materials are already instantly useable (see Crazy Rich Representations).  Other materials – lessons on textual bias in the news, for example – we will have to modify to meet the demands of the new course.   
  5. Exemplar material for the individual oral: this is the biggest change in assessment and one of the areas you will have plenty of questions.  Before August of 2019, we will be providing you with exemplar individual orals on the site.  We think that alone is pretty awesome!    
  6. Learner portfolio: this is part of the radical change from the IB.  It can be complicated to implement, but also transformational.  We’ll help you out. 

While we have been anticipating your needs, we also want to hear from you.  If there’s something else you need, let us know!  Hearing from you helps us help you.  We are pretty good at getting back to you in a timely manner if you have a question. However, to create something we think is quality and worth publishing takes time; it won't be instantaneous, but your comments will plant seeds for future posts.  Over time, like the current site which is approaching 750,000 words, you will have a wealth of information, a wide variety of exemplars, and lessons that you can use in your classroom.  Each subscriber and each school has different needs and David and I are here to meet each and every one of them to the best of our ability.

We will be updating you via the blog function every Thursday (evening UK time) to let you know what we have put on the site.  The blog post will provide you the link to our materials, but only current subscribers will have access our resources about the new course.  If it’s not there yet, you will see a note that says “Currently under construction!  As we update the site, this will be replaced by quality content before August of 2019.”  We are working diligently, but it will take time to get there too.  The guide was released only yesterday!

Finally, actions often speak louder than words. Our actions, including responding to your individual and specific questions in a timely manner; providing you with new teaching material each and every week; and giving you exemplar assessment materials to use with students have shown our worth.  Over the years, we believe that we have proven to you that we are trustworthy and knowledgeable, reliable and dependable, professional and polite, and finally creative in our approach.  We do not take your subscription for granted and we sincerely hope that you stick with us – as we will stick with you – through these new and complex challenges.



Tags: Tim, new course, Language A: Language and Literature, first exams 2021, changes, change, new guide

Comments 5

Sally Smitheram 10 February 2019 - 14:17

Congratulations on your new baby!

Tim Pruzinsky 11 February 2019 - 00:00

Hi Sally,

Many thanks for your warm wishes!


Louise Davison 3 March 2019 - 16:10

Hi Tim, I would definitely be interested in how you suggest to construct the course.

Many thanks

Louise Davison 3 March 2019 - 16:11

*we could

Tim Pruzinsky 3 March 2019 - 23:29

Hi Stacey,

I've put two sample course outlines on the site. Please give them a look and see what you think. I will be posting one or two more as well in the coming weeks. In terms of what I will actually do, my head of department takes the lead here and I follow (within reason and of course a lot of talking in his ear). I really want to be more creative than what I have initially proposed, but that suits me and my particular way of doing things. It's not for everyone and not for every department. What I post in two weeks will be much closer to what I will probably do, if allowed.


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