As usual our mock for the AQA GCSE English Language exam a few weeks ago highlighted that quite a few foundation level students are completely hit sideways when it comes to the language feature question (question 3). Many left it completely blank. This, depsite having managed some analysis of language in their controlled assessments for OMM, R&J and poetry earlier in the year.
So in yesterday’s session I spent an hour and a half dedicated on language feature analysis with them. I brought in newspaper and magazine clippings, mostly from the Sunday Times, but a few others as well, and then ran through a reminder of technique on how to spot a good phrase/sentence that links strongly to the main theme of the article, then to zoom in on particular words or phrases within that to: 1) identify a feature of language, 2) quote it, and 3) explain an effect on the reader (but without using the dreaded empty phrases).
It worked really well, and what I was most in admiration of was my students’ ability to cope with Sunday Times type writing and vocabulary. Afterwards most of them agreed that from this exercise they saw the benefit in aiming to read more of those types of articles to improve their writing and vocabulary.
Some images and templates below (as asked for via Twitter).
- My example I went through first (how to do it)
2. The template I gave to students to have a go for themselves (if you want to use this just save image and copy/paste into a PPT slide and print off as a full page).
3. Some images of completed work done by the students in class