Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written
Paper 1: 7.5%
Paper 2: 7.5%
This aspect of English teaching has always been an issue – when Controlled Assessments took up the majority of the course, context was an element that many students simply ‘bolted on’ and perhaps some teachers (me included!) were guilty of struggling to teach students how to link these ideas about context both explicitly and implicitly to the points they were exploring in their responses.
The new AO includes the word ‘relationships’ whereas the old, simply ‘relate’. I think this is a defining difference because it connotes that the relationship between a part of a text and its context holds a further meaning – ‘relate’ to me asked students to provide a link and no further explanation.
To begin to support my students in not only understanding context, but finding meaning in it, I integrated elements into the text (An Inspector Calls in this case) as we read the text and avoided a ‘context lesson’ which immediately separates the context from the ideas and meanings in the story.
After a few lessons reading and discussing, I gave students a resource to fill in which included aspects of context linked to the setting. This has proven very helpful as it has given them a foundation from which to begin discussion. Many students will now make reference to context before making a point, as they know it adds weight to their interpretation. I have attached one of the most useful resources I’ve used so far: