Freedom! Unit Planning in the New Language and Literature Course

Thursday 14 February 2019

Before providing different two-year course outlines, I wanted to start with the sheer variety of what you can do in the new course in terms of unit planning.  When I think of units, I am normally thinking of 3-7 weeks with a focus on something very specific. 

Previously, in the old course (final exams in 2020), students had to study “Parts” and those parts were connected to specific outcomes with specific topics of study listed.  In some ways, the units became almost planned for us.  Because they don’t exist anymore, the course is really wide open in big, beautiful ways.

There’s so much freedom now and I for one find that empowering.

You’ll find the various ways we at InThinking believe you can organize individual units of study – and they are immense.  Please remember that there isn’t one right way and there are many possible ways to create individual units.  And please remember that while we are suggesting various ways to go about your unit planning, you must always adhere to and fulfill the IB requirements.  You can’t cheat the system. 

This link will take you to the “Types of Units” page.  It shows you how you can begin to think about organizing your course.  We hope this gets you mulling over new ways of doing things and collaborating with your colleagues in your departments about what is possible.



Tags: Tim, new course, 2021 exams, unit planning, units of study, new language and literature course

Comments 6

Alayna Garvin 15 February 2019 - 03:01

Thank you! As I was thinking about the units I already use in the current course, I was getting a bit overwhelmed. I appreciate your positive spin on this new course design!

Tayyaba Shahid 15 February 2019 - 03:07

Great Help!

Tim Pruzinsky 16 February 2019 - 10:07

Hi Alayna and Tayyaba,

Thanks for the feedback. It's good to know that as we build up resources for the new course, you are finding them useful.


Duncan Lally 17 February 2019 - 12:56

Hi Tim
Thanks for all the thinking you are doing. Some quick thoughts and questions.

- I love getting better at teaching the same texts as I revisit them year by year. The better I know the texts, the more I have to teach as a genuine "expert", and the clearer become the concepts underlying what goes on in writer-reader relationships, for example. Do you find this?
- On the other hand, I suspect our current choices are a little western-centric and now is a good time to revisit. Any advice on reconciling these 2 points?
- I do wonder how realistic the Guide's emphasis is student selection of texts. On the one hand, my students are way more in touch with current media products - Netflix series etc - and I find it exciting to be introduced by them to things I don't know about - e.g. for WT1, Part 2 etc.
- On the other hand, most don't read much at all - how valid are there suggestions going to be, realistically?
- As an OCD planner, my immediate reaction is to set up the areas of exploration as twice visited over the 2 year course. And of course cunningly divide up the concepts accordingly. I tend to assume that by "dealing with all the concepts all the time", none of them really get understood properly (teaching experience shows me consistently that I underestimate the time needed for deep understanding rather than box-ticking coverage). Can you relate to this?

It's one thing to be excited by freedom: another to deal with a Monday morning lesson when students were supposed to have excitedly and autonomously gathered a range of texts and only half did and the lesson feels a bit rubbish....Do you know what I mean? My question is: how can we as teachers provide a strong, clear lead to students in genuinely developing authentic autonomy? (!)

Tim Pruzinsky 18 February 2019 - 01:18

Hi Duncan,

Thanks for your thoughts and questions. Your questions are wide and vast. I have found - in the various schools I have worked - that every school is different. For that matter, every teacher (or colleague) is different as well. David and I are by no means the same and we believe that our differences makes the site stronger, for example.

Genuine collaboration with colleagues who I personally see each and every day has lead me to the most meaningful growth as a professional and with my students. While this might sound evasive, as I'm not directly answering your questions, I think the answer is in conversations with your department (and if you are a department of one, with your IB Coordinator).

The teams I have worked on in the past have asked the same things you have and the same tensions exist for many of us. But in the teams I worked on, wherever we were on the ideological or pedagogical spectrum, it was in conversation, collaboration, and planning that we grew as teachers.


Duncan Lally 18 February 2019 - 09:41

Cheers Tim!

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