Getting started

After reading the Language A: Language and Literature guide, you may ask yourself: 'Where do I begin?' These pages help you get started.

First of all it is important to recognize your own strengths. Whether inexperienced or experienced, you can draw on your teaching and training experiences in literature, linguistics or media studies. There are multiple ways of approaching this course. While we offer advice about how to structure, texts and resources, it is important to keep your own context in mind. Different schools, teaching communities and departments may have specific requirements. These pages outline some ideas to consider when planning a course.

Teaching realities vary greatly, and your program should reflect the specifics of your situation. Teaching in a one-person department on a small Pacific island is not the same as teaching in a large European city in a department of twenty. Here we offer ideas about the thinking behind the course, how to structure your course, timing, and how to integrate formative assessments into the teaching of the course to get you started. 

10 Basic points 

  1. There are four 'Parts' to the course: 50% of the course (Parts 1 and 2) focuses on language, 50% of the course (two parts) focuses on literature.
  2. Part 1 and Part 2 are the study of a variety of non-literary text types from a variety of sources. This requires a lot of initial teacher footwork.
  3. Part 3 looks at the contexts within which texts are written and received. At SL students read one work from the prescribed literature in translation (PLT) and one work that is the school's free choice (originially written in English). At HL students read one work from the prescribed literature in translations (PLT), one work that is the school's free choice (may also be a work in translation) and one work from the prescribed list of authors (PLA).
  4. Part 4 looks at detailed analysis of literature works. SL students read two works from the PLA. HL students read three works from the PLA.
  5. Paper 1 is based on the skills of analyzing texts that students develop in Parts 1 and 2.
  6. Paper 2 is based on the Part 3 (literary) texts. 
  7. The recorded individual oral commentary is based on the Part 4 (literary) texts.
  8. The further oral activity is based on Part 1 or Part 2. 
  9. All students must maintain a 'portfolio' of written tasks, which are based on all parts of the course. The first type of written tasks (called written task 1) is an imaginative piece, in which student demonstrate their understanding of course material by writing a text type other than an essay. SL students submit the best written task 1 from their portfolio.
  10. Besides these creative pieces, Higher Level also write critical responses to the texts they have studied in class in light of one of six prescribed questions. These, critical responses are known as 'written task 2s'. HL students submit two tasks: one based on Parts 1 or 2, the other based on Parts 3 or 4; one is a written task type 1, the other is a written task type 2. Note on the tasks that are submitted: If written task 1 is based on Parts 1 or 2, then written task 2 must be based on Parts 3 or 4. If written task 2 is based on Parts 1 or 2, then written task 1 must be based on Parts 3 or 4.

The course in a nutshell

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