The Transitional Skills course is designed to support students as they take the leap from GCSE to A Level. Students will learn the requirements of study at Key Stage Five and develop their critical thinking and organisational skills. Althought the course is cross-curricular it is particularly suited to students who are studying subjects which require a lot of writing.
The four part course will take place over Zoom and activities will take place on Miro. Students will not turn on their cameras but may occasionally be asked to contribute verbally. There will be some active learning taking place on the Miro board and students will be able to download their work and some resources at the end of the course.
Expectations, pragmatism and challenge.
Our first session will deal with the expectations of A Level study. We will look at the difference between lessons; homework and independent study. We will also identify what qualities makes an A* student.
In this session we will also begin to investigate the expectations of an A Level essay and how to add depth without getting carried away.
Research, reading and critical thinking.
This session will be more hands on as students will be introduced to the basic tenets of good research. We will look at the power and pitfuls of the internet with particular focus on Wikipedia and we will learn how to spot good quality evidence wherever it occurs.
We will also discuss the conventions of footnoting as well as the danger of plagarism.
Composing and planning a piece of extended writing.
This session is focussed on the importance of having a road-map for your writing. Students will learn how to interrogate and understand a question; how to be discriminating in their use of evidence and how to ensure that their writing is evaluative and flowing throughout.
Students will be given a topic to plan and have the option to write an essay for feedback if they wish.
Language, coherence and the importance of word choice.
The final session will consider the importance of well chosen language in any subject. We will discuss the importance of defining terms and clarifying meanings both in conversation and in writing. We will look at a range of essays and identify the qualities that make them rigorous and clear pieces of writing.
Although my degree is in History, English Literature remains my first love. For many people though, English GCSE is merely a hoop that needs to be jumped through to satisfy employers and further education providers. Not everyone loves words but everyone needs to be able to express themselves clearly and be able to analyse the meaning of the words of others. I work with students who find words tricky, confusing or even boring and help them discover their uses and, occasionally, their beauty. I have had particular success with students who consider themselves more inclined towards maths and sciences as well as autistic and dyslexic students.
English Literature A Level
It is an absolute privilege to be able to spend my days talking to young people who are just discovering their first taste of literature. Most students can read and enjoy a text but making the link between story and message requires the ability to analyse, apply context and consider a variety of interpretations. Often students can discuss this quite happily but require support to translate their ideas onto the page. I teach techniques that allow students to consider their ideas in depth while simultaneously creating a wider hypothesis. We learn how to plan while still allowing scope for ideas to form and develop while writing. Most of all, we learn how to express our views confidently, coherently and with an appropriate amount of supporting evidence.
Having taught and marked for all the major exam boards, there’s little I don’t know about the expectations of a GCSE History question. Success at GCSE requires the ability to recall content but also the ability to apply that content to a particular enquiry. I encourage my students to develop active revision techniques which allow them to recall facts and events with confidence by building their chronological understanding. We will learn the structures required for particular questions as well as the process for tackling sources and interpretations.
History A Level
While recall remains crucial, for A Level students, this becomes their responsibility. My focus is on helping them understand the requirements of the questions they are asked and teaching them how to plan and draft a clear, flowing piece of writing which considers the focus of the question in new and interesting ways. You will learn the importance of a chronological narrative in supporting a causation focused argument and how defining your terms can alter the whole direction of your argument. You will also learn the importance of owning your research and expanding your knowledge with appropriate reading.