Negotiating the Difference: Learning to Write A-Level Essays in the Humanities

Charlotte is an English teacher in east London and carried out this research during the 2013-2014 academic year. This explorative study provides a snapshot of the process of learning how to write academic essays at A Level. The research involved three sixth form students who studied one or more of the following Humanities subjects:  English, Geography and History. Charlotte sought to understand the differences in essay writing across the various Humanities subjects, and how well students negotiate these differences. In her conclusion she outlines a series of practical ideas that could create a more joined-up approach to teaching the essay across the Humanities at her school.

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How can in-role drama activities, particularly writing in role, develop students’ writing in English?

Lucy is a Second in charge of the English department at a leading secondary girls’ independent school in West London. She carried out this school-based research in 2014, in the spring term of her third year of teaching, focusing on her Year 8 class of thirty learners. Lucy wanted to explore how in-role drama activities, particularly writing in role, could be used in the classroom to support and develop students’ understanding and writing in English, principally with Year 8’s study of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Lucy became intrigued with the concept of ‘role’ and the type of learning that takes place when students are immersed in dramatic activity and thus set out to examine the potential benefits and advantages of in-role work in the study of literature.

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