Part 4 Options

Part 4 is referred to with the tag 'Options' because it is the section of the course in which you have the most freedom - both in terms of the works you choose to teach and the learning strategies you encourage in the delivery of them. For these reasons, many people choose to begin the course with this part.

There are various ways in which you can conceive of Part 4, for example, it can:
  • Provide a means to balance particular kinds of works or literary genres in relation to those taught elsewhere in the course

  • Be used to introduce students to works form each genre in order to establish a 'level playing field' as you begin the course

  • Simulate student interest by choosing works in which you (or they) have a particular interest

  • Encourage new ways of thinking and responding to literary works

  • Establish opportunities for more 'creative' teaching and learning

Which works?

One of the reasons that Part 4 can be so rewarding to teach is that you have 'free choice' in your selection of texts. This means that you can select works from the PLA, the PLT or 'elsewhere' - in other words, you can choose any text - whether written in the language of instruction or in translation, that you deem to have 'literary merit'. Having free rein in this way provides you with the opportunity to attend to any of the objectives outlined above. A list of the more popular choices for Part 4 can be found here.

Why does the Subject Guide refer to 3 'options' in particular?

There are 3 'suggested' routes presented by the IB for you. These are referred to as:

1. The study of prose other than fiction leading to various forms of student writing

2. New Textualities

3. Literature and Film

However, you are not bound by any of them. For example, you could choose one of these suggested options exclusively, combine elements from two or more of them, or even ignore them altogether and adopt an approach entirely of your own. More information on the different possibilities are given in subsequent pages.

How is Part 4 assessed?

Students complete an Individual Oral Presentation, which comprises one of the two Internal Assessment oral tasks, and accounts for 15% of the overall grade. You mark the presentation and your marks will be moderated in and through the other internally-assessed oral task, the Part 2 Individual Oral Commentary.

The presentation is usually completed alone (although it can be done in pairs) and lasts between 10-15 minutes. The topic for the presentation should come from the student and provided it enables the student to score well against the criteria, can focus on a variety of possible aspects and assume various kinds of forms. It will be important for the student to note that one third of the marks are allocated for the delivery of the presentation itself, so as much attention should be given to the format as the actual content. More detailed help with the IOP can be found in subsequent pages.

A note on visual literacy:

Like all IB Diploma courses, the Language A:  Literature course is interested in development knowledge and skills that are subject specific.  However, diploma courses also seek to increase familiarity and expertise in generic attributes - whether personal or cognitive, that will make students more fully rounded individuals, and more effectively prepared for the world beyond school.  One of the aims, as stated in the opening pages of the course Subject Guide, is as follows:

Viewing is part of a general multimodal literacy. Written text is often found in combination with still images, moving images and sound. As students become adept at the other literacy skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, it is essential that they develop skills in understanding and interpreting the visual images used in conjunction with these skills. Considerations of visual analysis feature as a specific part of the course in part 4: options, where the study of topics such as graphic writing or film and literature are encouraged. In addition, moving images in the form of film are frequently used as part of literature teaching. While teachers of language A: literature are not expected to be art or media teachers, they should make students aware of the way images may be analysed for form, content and meaning in much the same way as a conventional written text. 

(Language A:  Literature Subject Guide, IBO, p.16)

With its potential for the selection of a wider range of literary works, Part 4 is an area of the course where you can do full justice to this requirement - particularly if selecting the kind of texts typified by options 2 or 3.

Selected Pages


Option 1: Non-fiction 13 October 2018

Remember that Higher Level students who study the course in English must include at least one work from each genre, which...


Part 4: A student guide 12 May 2017

This page is written with the students in mind. It presents advice of the kind listed on the previous page but in a way...

Marking the IOP 20 September 2018

Marking the IOP can sometimes present difficulties, not least because there tends to be a lot less exemplar material 'out...

Preparing the Presentation 14 December 2016

It is important, for example, that they are made aware of the different kinds of approach their presentation format might...

Option 3: Literature and film 12 December 2016

This could present a very attractive option, not least because watching movies will almost certainly absorb a significant...

Option 2: New Textualities 12 December 2016

As the title of this second option suggests, works in Part 4 can come from less 'traditional' origins.With the rise of the...

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