A New Year and a new course...

Wednesday 2 January 2019

Group 1 course changes...

As we look ahead to 2019 and all the things that a new year may bring, not the least will be developments in the Group 1 courses.  As you will know from previous posts, changes are very much afoot - and some fairly significant ones too; plenty of information will be forthcoming on this site as we work towards providing you with everything you will need to set about teaching the new literature course, but a few of the key elements (listed below) are worth mulling over as you prepare for the new term.

1.  Towards a conceptual basis
The new course will foreground a more conceptual framework to which most, if not all, elements refer.  The ‘parts’ that have so far defined pretty much everything - from thinking about course structure, text choice, assessment type and so on, will give way to three broad ‘Areas of Exploration’ defined as follows:

  • Readers, writers, texts
  • Time and Space
  • Intertextuality:  connecting texts

Further thinking of this kind will refer to seven core concepts:

  • Culture; Creativity; Communication; Perspective; Transformation; Representation; Identity

You may well be used to thinking conceptually about, for instance, ways in which the Learner Profile makes its presence felt in the current course - or Approaches to Learning, and these will continue to assume significant importance.   However, the three areas of exploration and the seven core concepts will present new doorways through which much of your thinking about text choice, course structure, teaching and learning in the classroom and more will go. 

2.  A change in numbers of texts
For each Area of Exploration, at least three texts will be studied.  

  • Higher Level students must have read and studied 13 texts and Standard Level 9.  
  • At least 4 texts must be in translation at HL and 3 at SL.
  • 4 texts can be freely chosen at HL and 2 at SL
  • HL students will cover 4 literary forms (hitherto referred to as genres) and SL 3.
  • Across the course as a whole students will need to have covered 3 periods at both HL and SL, and 3 (SL) or 4 (HL) places.

3.  A different kind of assessment model
Up until now, you will have thought about text choice and assessment tasks in reference to specific course parts.  This will no longer be the case; students will be able to answer examination questions or complete coursework/internal assessment tasks with a greater sense of autonomy, and in reference to more varied kinds of works.  

4.  The Reading List
Up until now, you will have referred to the Prescribed Book List (PBL) and/or the list of Works in Translation (PLT) when making most of your choices of text. These lists will be replaced with one  Prescribed Reading List, which will refer to names of authors rather than texts. The list will be fully searchable according to literary form, period, language or place. 

5.  Changes to assessment tasks
SL and HL students will be asked to complete two externally-assessed exams and one internally-assessed oral.  HL students will also be asked to complete a coursework essay, externally marked. 


  • Paper 1:  Analysis of an unseen literary text, with a guiding question.  Two passages will be set;  SL students will have 1 hr and 15 minutes to write about one whereas HL students will write about both in 2 hrs, 15 mins.
  • Paper 2:  A comparative essay that asks students to compare texts studied from anywhere in the course, from any literary form.  4 questions will be provided and will not refer to specific literary forms. 
  • Essay:  HL students only will write a coursework essay on any text.  This will replace the current Written Assignment and the interactive oral, reflective statement, supervised writing will no longer be required.


  • Individual Oral:   similar to the current Individual Oral Presentation, students will prepare  a response to any two texts, one of which will be in translation.  The focus will be on the way the texts present an issue of global concern, and the task will include detailed analysis of an extract from each work.

6.  The introduction of a Learner Portfolio
Although it will not be assessed, students will be expected to maintain a portfolio which records their thoughts and perhaps feelings about any aspect of the course as they go along.  This will include responses that are formal, as well as ones that are informal - analytical and creative tasks.

Inevitably, there will be a lot of questions that present themselves here, at workshops, in the online programme communities and of course, within departments.  As time goes on, and the guide is published, we will hopefully be able to answer all of them, as well as provide you with suggestions and advice about the best ways to prepare for these key changes.  Watch this space!

In the meantime, we wish you a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2019. 


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