English Literature-OCR H472

Year 12 modules

Students will start in September with a bridging unit where key skills and knowledge of canonical texts will be taught.

Component 01: Shakespeare/Drama and poetry pre-1900

One teacher will focus on ‘Hamlet’: the areas covered will be themes, key scenes, detailed analysis of language, structure and form and relevant contextual factors.  Key thematic quotations as well as associated critical quotations must be learnt by heart and this will form a key part of work completed at home.

The other teacher will focus on Christina Rossetti; the chosen text is ‘Selected Poems’.  The poems to be covered are: Song: When I am dead, my dearest, Remember, From the Antique (‘It’s a weary life, it is, she said’),Echo, Shut Out, In the Round Tower at Jhansi (Indian Mutiny), A Birthday, Maude Clare, Up-hill, No, thank you, John, Good Friday (‘Am I a stone and not a sheep?’), Goblin Market, Twice, Winter: My Secret, and Soeur Louise de la Miséricorde.

Students will be expected to complete at least two full essays on both texts by the end of the first half term.

Component 02: Close reading in chosen topic area /Comparative and contextual study from chosen topic area, which is American Literature 1880 – 1940

By the end of January the teaching of ‘Hamlet’ will finish and be replaced by an introduction to the requirements of the prose examination.  ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald will be the first set text from the ‘comparative and contextual study’ module and students will be taught how to analyse key themes, as well as aspects of form, structure and language, in terms of the novel’s context and critics’ responses to it over time.

The other teacher will teach ‘A Doll’s House’ by Ibsen, making connections to the poetry of Rossetti, as required by the exam.

In the summer term, ‘Gatsby’ will be completed and teaching of the second American Literature text will start; at present this is 'The Grapes of Wrath' by John Steinbeck. 

Component 03: Coursework

The second teacher will begin teaching a drama text for the coursework unit of close analysis. Texts currently being taught include ‘A Streetcar named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams and ‘The History Boys’ by Alan Bennett.  The analytical skills will be similar to the poetry unit; the main difference will be the impact of dramatic form upon interpretation.

Students will be expected to complete a range of essays including the first draft of their close analysis coursework and at least one timed in-class response to both the Drama/poetry comparison and the American texts as preparation for the predicted grade examination at the end of June.

Pupils will receive detailed feedback based on their performance in the examination and subsequent lessons will focus on areas that need to be improved.


Year 13 modules

In Year 13 students will start studying the texts for the main comparative coursework essay, to accompany the close drama analysis in the coursework folder. These comprise a poetry text and a novel, and they vary depending on which teacher is taking the course, but past pairings have included ‘Ariel’ by Sylvia Plath with ‘On Chesil Beach’ by Iain McEwan, and ‘Feminine Gospels’ by Carol-Ann Duffy with ‘The Passion of New Eve’ by Angela Carter. The essay is 2000 words in length. Past comparative thematic titles include the following:

  • Compare the extent to which gender ID is presented as trapping characters
  • Compare the presentation of place/setting as symbolic of texts' themes
  • Compare the extent to which the division between the public and private self is presented as central to relationships
  • Compare the presentation of Desire in the two texts: to what extent does it lead to either affirmation or annihilation of individual identity?

This task aims to encourage students in further developing research skills acquired at in year 12 and to synthesise knowledge and understanding acquired through their studies in an extended individual comparison of literary texts.

They will be required to show knowledge and understanding of the functions and effects of structure, form and language in texts; some of the ways in which individual texts are interpreted by different readers; some of the ways in which texts relate to one another, and the significance of cultural and contextual influences upon readers and writers.

Once the coursework folder is complete at the end of the autumn term, with one teacher lessons will be spent revising ‘Hamlet’ and the American comparison texts, while the other will teach skills of analysis for the American extracts, the ‘close reading in chosen topic area’ section of component 2, before revising connections between Ibsen and Rossetti. For Year 13, there are mock exams in early March. 

How will students be taught?

A variety of teaching methods will be employed to develop their thinking, writing and analytical skills, as well as their confidence in presenting their own opinions. They will encouraged to lead as well as participate in seminar style lessons, undertake individual projects and work in small groups. Under staff guidance they will be encouraged to develop their own independent learning and research.

What can students do with this subject?

English Literature is widely recognised as an academic subject and complements many other areas of study at A Level. Analytical writing and research skills acquired through this course are acknowledged and valued by employers while continuation to A2 ensures that they are well prepared to study at degree level.