This specification offers opportunities for students to develop their subject expertise by exploring key language concepts and engaging with a range of texts and discourses. Students will explore the study of English language both as a medium of communication and as a topic in its own right, with an emphasis on the ability of students to pursue lines of enquiry, analyse texts produced by others, debate different views and produce a range of own writing using a variety of extracts taken from everyday sources. The focus is on how language generates meaning and identity for individuals and social groups including, gender, occupation and the variety of ‘Englishes’ around the United Kingdom.
“Studying English language has improved my ability to analyse and construct an argument across other subjects. It has taught me to appreciate that the spoken and written word can generate many meanings dependent on the context of both the creator and the receiver and therefore I have learnt to think about the way I use language every day.”
Language is seen as a creative tool for expression and social connection, as well as for individual cognition. The study of language as a symbolic system used to assert identity in society is fundamental to the scope of this specification. The course will also cover the variety and impact of global ‘Englishes’, child language acquisition (how we learn to use language) and language change since 1600.
Students are encouraged through a range of teaching techniques to develop their own ideas and analytical skills. Discussion, group work, reading and individual research offer a varied and interesting approach to the study of English language. Typically A Level courses are taught by two teachers and you will be required to conduct additional independent research and enquiry along your own avenues of interest. This supports you in developing academic research and study skills required at higher education, whether or not you choose to continue your English studies.
Two pieces of coursework are produced. Firstly, students will create their own original text and reflect critically on their own processes of production, while analysing the texts produced by others. Secondly, students also have the opportunity to work independently to research and investigate an aspect of language in use which is of personal interest to them.
The ability to work independently to follow a student’s own avenue of interest in the field of linguistics is critical. English language is assessed by two examinations: language – the individual and society, and language – diversity and change. In addition two pieces of non-exam assessments (language in action – investigation and original writing) are required.
What doors does this open up for me?
The skills of analysis, evaluation and communication that you will develop by studying English language are applicable to a wide range of careers and university degrees. Journalism, media, marketing, advertising, management, law, teaching, librarianship, business, administration and banking are a few examples. Students taking English language A Level have gone on to pursue careers in radio broadcasting, property management and sports journalism to name a few.