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English

 

subject overview

As teachers of English at Harrow High, we want our learners to be critical thinkers and readers who are equipped with the knowledge and skills with which to make their own choices and decisions throughout their lives and who are compassionate, conscientious and creative. We want out learners to be effective communicators and we believe that mastery of the written and spoken word is fundamental to ensuring our learners have every opportunity to succeed in life.

unit overview autumn term - language

Subject: English Language Modern America: Descriptive Writing and Evaluating a Writer’s Methods

Skills

Autumn 1 Writing: Describe a scene from an Edward Hopper painting (with focus on character)

Lang AO5 and AO6:  Learners will be able to describe clearly, effectively and imaginatively using a range of effective vocabulary, language and structural devices. Learners will focus on describing in detail using a range of precise verbs, adverbs and adjectives with a focus on creating detailed imagery. Learners will be able to use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation (including correct use of commas, semi-colons and colons for effect)

Autumn 2 Evaluative question based on ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou extract

Lang AO4: Learners will be able to evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references. Learners will be able to clearly evaluate the effect(s) on the reader and show a clear understanding of writer’s methods (general and more precise). They will be able to selects a range of relevant textual references using quotation marks and makes a clear and relevant response to the focus of the statement.

Knowledge

Learners will need to know:

Autumn 1 Writing: Describe a scene from an Edward Hopper painting (with focus on character)

  • Context of Edward Hopper as a realist painter in 1930’s/40’s America
  • Knowledge of success criteria of showing not telling (precise verbs, adverbs, adjective, imagery, symbolism, personification, simile, metaphor, pathetic fallacy)
  • Knowledge of a range of sentence structures.
  • Knowledge of a range of punctuation.
  • Knowledge of how and why paragraphs are used (including the use of minor paragraphs)

Autumn 2:  Evaluative question based on ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou extract

  • The concept of evaluation (a judgement, a conclusion, a finding based on a range of evidence)
  • The concept of an embedded quote
  • The definition of a range of writer’s methods both general (describe character’s actions/appearance/relationship with others/describe setting/use dialogue/create contrast/create atmosphere/build tension/symbolism) and specific (verb/adverb/adjective/noun/ imagery/sensory language/simile/metaphor/ personification/ list/long sentence/short sentence/repetition)
  • Phrases to introduce evidence to support your response
  • Language of interpretation
  • Tentative language
  • Evaluative words and phrases

Rationale

In Year 9 Language, learners continue to develop their creative writing skills, developing their use of vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation to describe an image in a detailed and effective manner. Learners will use a range of Edward Hopper paintings as stimulus for their writing. Edward Hopper’s atmospheric scenes of characters in both urban and rural 1930s America encourage learners to use their knowledge of this era based on their study of ‘Of Mice and Men’ in Literature to create their own imaginative pieces of original writing, with a clear focus on descriptive rather than narrative writing. Learners should be encouraged to use their knowledge of writer’s craft from their Literature study in their own written work (e.g. colour imagery, symbolism).

In Autumn 2, learners will develop the evaluative skills needed for success in GCSE Language Paper 1 Q4, using a range of extracts from Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing’. An evaluative response requires learners to build on their AO2 skills from Year 7 and 8 and begin to draw their own personal conclusions based on the writer’s methods. This key critical reading skill is complimented by the Literature course, as learners will be exploring literary criticism and interpretations of ‘Of Mice and Men’. Learners are encouraged to apply these same critical reading skills to an “unseen” extract from a text, which deals with many of the same themes (racism, segregation) as the Year 9 Literature set text. Allowing learners to draw on their knowledge of early 20th century America in an “unseen” extract provides gives learners the confidence to tackle the skill of evaluation, which often poses a challenge to learners.

Maya Angelou’s autobiography is an engaging coming-of-age story, which compliments the study of ‘Of Mice and Men’ and approaches similar themes of racism and trauma from the perspective of a black, female writer. Like ‘Of Mice and Men’, there are numerous opportunities for structured discussion and debate around a range of complex themes which support learners with their ability to make thoughtful and evaluative interpretations.

unit overview spring term - language

Subject: English Language - Speeches of Power and Protest – A range of selected speeches

Skills

Autumn 1:

Reading skills:

Analysing a writer’s viewpoint and perspective:   Learner will be able to identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas in a speech.  They will be able to explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language to achieve effects and influence readers and audiences, using relevant subject terminology to support their views.

Autumn 2:

Writing Skills:

Persuasive Writing: Learners will be able to communicate clearly, adapting tone, style and register for a specific form, purpose and audience.  They will be able to organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts.  Learners will be able to write in the form of a formal speech, adapting tone and style for an audience of politicians. Learners will be able to use a range of vocabulary and sophisticated devices, including examples of rhetoric to effectively to express a point of view. Learners will be able to write in paragraphs using the full range of punctuation for effect. Learners will able to use a range of sentence types for effect.

Knowledge

Learners will need to know:

Autumn 1 Reading: How does Malala use language to express her views on education for girls?

  • Revise concept of persuasive writing
  • Revise form of a speech
  • The definition or rhetoric
  • The three rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos)
  • Subject terminology to identify language devices in persuasive writing
  • Success criteria for extended response

Autumn 2:  Write a speech to politicians expressing your views on climate change.

  • Revision of purpose, audience and form
  • A variety of factual information about climate change
  • A knowledge of different viewpoints around climate change
  • The definition or rhetoric
  • The three rhetorical appeals (ethos, pathos, logos)
  • A range of persuasive devices
  • A range of formal vocabulary
  • The full range of punctuation
  • The full range of sentence types
  • Correct paragraphing and a range of discourse markers
  • Effective introductions and conclusions

Rationale

In this unit, the focus in on non-fiction writing and introduces learners to much of the knowledge and skills required for success in GCSE Paper 2: Writer’s Viewpoints and Perspectives. Learners re-visit the form of speeches (introduced in year 7) and revise and develop their knowledge of persuasive devices from year 7 and year 8. Their knowledge of effective devices used in speeches is extended further by introducing the concept of rhetoric and the three rhetorical appeals.

In Autumn 1, learners will read and analyse a range of speeches, which focus on issues of social justice. These will include speeches expressing viewpoints on issues such as race, civil rights, gender equality, poverty and education. They will learn to identify and analyse a range of features and develop their understanding of how writer’s use specific methods for effect.

In Autumn 2, learners will use their knowledge of speeches and their features to write their own speech, expressing their views on climate change. They will use a range of

unit overview autumn term - literature

Subject: English Literature  Modern American Fiction Unit – ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck

Skills

Autumn 1: Sec A: How does Steinbeck present Crooks in ‘Of Mice and Men’? (extract)

Lit/Lang AO2:  Learners will be able to comment on, explain and analyse the language techniques and structural devices used by a writer to present a character in specific extract.

Autumn 2:

Sec A: How does Steinbeck present Curley’s wife (extract)

Lit/Lang AO2: Learners will be able to comment on, explain and analyse the language techniques and structural devices used by a writer to present a character in specific extract.

Sec B: Explore the significance of outsiders in the rest of the novella.

Lit: AO1/AO3:  Learners will be able to develop a personal response fully related to the text. Learners will begin to develop critical interpretations in more depth using well-chosen references to the text support a range of effective points. Learners will demonstrate their knowledge of relevant context and show a more detailed awareness of the relationship between text and context (including literary, social and political contexts)

Knowledge

Learners will need to know:

  • Context of 1930’s America: The American Dream, The Great Depression, ranch life, migration, racism and segregation, role of women, treatment of minorities.
  • Context of writer’s purpose: John Steinbeck’s life and work linked to writer’s purpose.
  • Literary Context: The Modern American Novel, social commentary
  • The concepts of gender stereotypes, loneliness, friendship, compassion, morality, hope, mercy, power and control, conflict, discrimination and marginalisation. 
  • The plot of a full-length novella and its key characters, settings and themes.
  • The concepts of symbolism, foreshadowing, repetition and the cyclical structure.
  • The concept of literary criticism
  • The basic concepts underlying feminism and Marxism

Rationale

In Year 9, learners are exposed to complex and challenging themes around race and gender, and are encouraged to think critically by developing a mature and personal response to a text, which is rooted in a real-life historical context. Learners will also be required to consider the role and responsibility of a writer – a key skill for the Literature GCSE.

Learners build on their Key Stage Three knowledge of the writer’s craft (AO2). Teaching of AO2 focuses on developing learners’ ability to analyse language in detail using accurate subject terminology and commenting on connotations of individual words, as well as their effect on the reader. This is a key skill for both the Language and the Literature GCSE. ‘Of Mice and Men’ enables learners to develop knowledge of more complex literary devices such as symbolism, foreshadowing and other structural features which they are required to comment on at GCSE.

‘Of Mice and Men’ provides opportunities for learners to be exposed to literary criticism as a concept and encourages them to consider alternative and multiple interpretations of a text (e.g. feminist and Marxist). This type of critical exploration of a text and its context encourages learners to develop the type of perceptive interpretations required to secure the highest grades at GCSE; it also exposes learners to an academic style of thought and writing to enable them to develop their own responses in a more mature and assured manner.

‘Of Mice and Men’ contains universal themes and concepts which are as relevant today as they were in 1930’s America and the teaching of this text enables learners to understand how such themes can transcend time and place. There are numerous opportunities to explore complex issues around morality and social conscience and learners are encouraged to develop skills of empathy and compassion. Year 9 learners are often able to make links between 1930’s America and issues surrounding migration, race and gender today.  

unit overview spring term - literature

Subject: English Year 9 Term Two – Power and Control – ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare  

Skills

Literature

Language analysis (AO2) – Learners will be able to retrieve explicit information from a fiction text and make developed inferences about a character. Learners will be able to identify specific words and phrases used by a writer to present a character and comment on the effect on the audience. Learners will be able to use embedded quotes and subject terminology in their analysis.

Analysis of a theme (AO1/AO3) - Learners will be able to retrieve explicit information from a fiction text and make developed inferences about a theme. Learners will be able to develop an informed personal response about a theme. Learners will be able to comment on the relationship between relevant historical context and the text.

Knowledge

Literature

Learners will need to know:

  • Concept of historical context
  • Shakespearean England (theatre, monarchy, supernatural/witchcraft, women)
  • Key features/terminology of a play (audience, stage directions, dramatic monologue, soliloquy, dialogue, asides)
  • Concept of a Shakespearean tragedy
  • Features of a Shakespearean tragedy
  • Character types – protagonist and antagonist
  • The concept of characterisation
  • The concept of a quotation
  • Subject terminology to identify language (adjective, verb, noun, adverb, simile, metaphor, personification, specific sentence types, persuasive devices)
  • Language of interpretation
  • Tentative language
  • The concept of a theme (focus on power)
  • The concept of power, revenge and corruption
  • Structure to develop an argument/personal response

Rationale

This unit builds on knowledge obtained in Year 7 in the ‘Introduction to Shakespeare’ unit, with the reading of one of the most famous Shakespeare plays, Macbeth. Reading the play in its entirety will allow full engagement with the plot, character and themes, whilst also providing the foundation for studying ‘Romeo and Juliet’ at KS4. Learners will explore the use of Shakespearean language in-depth, identifying key structural and language devices used to present character (Lady Macbeth, in particular) and commenting on their effect on the audience. Opportunities for close analysis of Shakespearean language will develop learners’ confidence to approach Section A of Paper 1 in their GCSE English Literature exam, a skill which learners nationally struggle with. Furthermore, learners will explore complex themes and concepts explored in the play such as power, corruption and revenge. Learners will identify examples/textual evidence in the play where core themes are conveyed and comment on the significance of this, providing practice for approaching Section B of Paper 1 in the English Literature GCSE exam. Learners will also be revisiting Shakespearean context to further develop their understanding of the play, attempting to link this knowledge to produce a well-rounded personal response, another requirement of Section B of the GCSE Lit paper. In this unit, learners will begin develop their critical writing skills by learning how to develop an argument in their essays. This will serve to develop their analytical writing across both English Language and Literature, particularly useful when exploring the importance of themes at KS4.

‘Macbeth’ serves to challenge the learners at every point – the language, characters and themes all provide a means to stretch learners as they approach KS4. For example, the powerful characters provide opportunity to explore the most extreme human emotions and expose the varying consequences of this. These emotions are often relatable to learners in different contexts, encouraging discussion and debate and contributing moral and spiritual refection and development. Additionally, the themes explored are complex and multifaceted, remaining relevant in our society today. Supported by the Language SOW, learners are encouraged to draw parallels with individuals in society today and comment critically on this.

Reflecting on learners’ own contexts, can aid the development of a personal response for any fictional text.

unit overview summer term - literature

Subject: English – Morals and Values – ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Arthur Miller

Skills

Literature

Language analysis (AO2) – Learners will be able to retrieve explicit information from a fiction text and make developed inferences about a character. Learners will be able to identify specific words and phrases used by a writer to present a character and comment on the effect on the audience. Learners will be able to use embedded quotes and subject terminology in their analysis.

Analysis of a theme (AO1/AO3) - Learners will be able to retrieve explicit information from a fiction text and make developed inferences about a theme. Learners will be able to develop an informed personal response about a theme. Learners will be able to comment on the relationship between relevant historical context and the text.

Knowledge

Literature

Learners will need to know:

  • Concept of historical context
  • 1950s America (New York, Migration, Economics, Family, Gender roles)
  • Key features/terminology of a play (audience, stage directions, dramatic monologue, dialogue, asides, prologue, epilogue)
  • Concept of a Greek tragedy
  • Features of a Greek tragedy
  • Character types – protagonist, antagonist, foil
  • The concept of characterisation
  • The concept of a quotation
  • Subject terminology to identify language (adjective, verb, noun, adverb, simile, metaphor, personification, specific sentence types, persuasive devices)
  • Language of interpretation
  • Tentative language
  • The concept of a theme (focus on honour)
  • The concept of love, morality, honour, loyalty, justice, reputation, betrayal, gender
  • Structure to develop an argument/personal response

Rationale

This unit, the last term before KS4, will expose the learners to a contemporary a former GCSE play, Arthur Miller’s, ‘A View from the Bridge’.  Learners will also explore the characterisation of the tragic hero, Eddie, in depth, tracking his downfall as the play progresses (drawing parallels with previous unit, Macbeth’). Learners will analyse the use of dialogue and stage directions, identifying key features of language and structure and commenting on their specific effects on the audience. This is a key skill (AO2) required for all papers in the English GCSE course. The learners will also have the opportunity to discuss and debate the morality of the protagonist’s actions, such as his perceived disloyalty to his family, to develop personal responses to the text. It will also encourage individual reflection about actions, their consequences and the involvement of the law in everyday contexts. Overall, this in-depth study of character development will aid the learners understanding of other characters in KS4 texts such as the transformation of Scrooge and the downfall of Romeo and Juliet.

Furthermore, the play arguably deals with the most complex and controversial themes at KS3 including exploring different types of love, justice, loyalty, betrayal and gender constructs. This will be provide the foundation for exploring more sensitive, multifaceted themes as part of the GCSE Literature course. Learners will identify examples/textual evidence in the play where core themes (with focus on honour)are conveyed and comment on the significance of this, providing practice for approaching Section B of Paper 1 in the English Literature GCSE exam. Learners will, once again, be revisiting importance of historical context to further develop their understanding of the play, attempting to link this knowledge to produce a well-rounded personal response. Making relevant links to historical context is a significant proportion of the marks awarded in their English Literature GCSE and therefore consistent practice of this in Year 8/9 is essential. In addition, in this unit, learners will further develop their critical writing skills by learning how to develop an argument in their essays. This will serve to develop their analytical writing across both English Language and Literature at KS4, particularly useful when exploring the importance of themes in the exam.

knowledge Organiser

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.