New site developments

Monday 19 August 2013

Over the last year, I have concentrated on producing material concerned with the introduction of the new Subject Guide, and in particular material about the assessment process. This seemed appropriate since I know from workshops that many teachers were concerned about how to prepare their students for the new exams - with brand new components like the Written Assignment and the Personal Response at HL, and with how these would be marked.

With the May 2013 exam session now completed, we now have solid evidence of how the students have handled the assessment procedures (see the blog May 2013, considered ) The Subject Report for English B has been written and will be published in September. As soon as the Report comes out, I will be producing a review of it, summarising the key ideas and commenting on what can be learnt for future good practice.

There will be more to discuss about the assessment processes. Apart from anything else, there are revised instructions for the Written Assignment (including new marking Criteria) which are also due to be published in September.

However ... I intend to change the emphasis of the site slightly, by developing materials in new and different areas :-

Topics    I aim to devote more time and space to the Topics: how to approach them, and suggestions for teaching them in the most stimulating and relevant ways. Up to now, I have restricted my attention to the Core Topics - I felt, in the development phase of this site, that the Core was common ground to all courses, whereas the Option Topics were ... well, optional, and so it would be difficult to cover a wide range of different choices. I now take the view that the Options deserve exploration, not least because they are perhaps a little less predictable and well-explored than the Core.

The 'Options' section is now in full production. It will have an overall page discussing general criteria for selecting appropriate aspects and materials; and then a headline page for each Option, expanding the key word(s) of each topic and attempting to organise the various implied meanings into constructive patterns. These headline pages are intended to be starting points for developing your individual approach to each topic area - by stimulating the imagination, providing provocative questions to ask the students, and suggesting useful internet links. Over the next year, I intend to add specific detailed material to promote discussions with students.

Your contributions    I would be very glad to work with you subscribers (all 450+ of you, by now) so that the site reflects as widely and accurately as possible the experience of English B around the world. You might like to think about what you might like to see published in the following areas :

  •  Excellent student scripts    I would love to publish good student-written examples of the various different text types specified in the Subject Guide.
  • Guest Pages    I would like the site to be a platform for the exchange of interesting and unusual ideas, and so would urge any of you who have ideas about any aspect of the teaching of English B to consider writing a Guest Page. These are paid, of course - fifty euros per page, assuming a maximum of a thousand words. Contact me with your idea, and we can agree the approach.

In both cases, you can contact me directly at my InThinking email address -

Bad vibes
25 Sep 2013


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