Please talk to me about Speaking and Listening element of English GCSE. DD in bits!

(23 Posts)
Spidermama Mon 23-Sep-13 17:18:00

DD reckons her worst nightmares have come true. She's great at English and doing her GCSE this year but has learned today that there's a performance element. She says the teacher is going to make them stand up in front of the class and read out their rants they've written and they'll get extra marks for using gestures etc.

For her it's as if she's been asked to run naked through the playground. She has MASSIVE issues with speaking in class. She prefers to disappear. I know it's not ideal but she's getting great marks in everything so I kind of file this under 'don't sweat the smaller stuff'.

Up until now.

She told me today - through her tears - the class is full of horrible girls. She doesn't have a single friend in it (she does in other classes) and sher's basically just completely freaking out about it.

What can I do? I'd love to hear from teachers or mums who have a similarly, extremely self conscious dd.

OddBoots Mon 23-Sep-13 17:21:59

There are no longer any grades for speaking and listening (Telegraph link so I think it's worth you talking to her tutor if she's that upset about it.

englishteacher78 Mon 23-Sep-13 17:26:12

It no longer counts to the grade. However, that is recent. I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned before. Gestures were not specifically mentioned in the mark scheme. Gove has got rid of it. In the middle of the course for those students currently in year 11.

Spidermama Mon 23-Sep-13 17:30:18

Thanks Oddboots. Her teacher has told her it's not part of the specific GCSE but says it gets put down as a separate grade.
Indeed the article you linked to says "Under the new reforms, oral skills will still be assessed but results will be listed separately from the overall English grade". So this is still a massive worry for her as she'll still be asked to stand up in front of the class and say stuff.

BlackMogul Mon 23-Sep-13 17:34:49

I am wondering how she has got to this age and never done anything like this before? Surely there should have been preparation before the oral element? It is also poor preparation for life in general as we do need people to be able to express themselves. I think just being allowed to hide is not a life skill to be encouraged.

Spidermama Mon 23-Sep-13 17:40:07

I have put this to her BlackMogul and tried to offer some kind of help or counselling. Once we went to Hypnotherapy to give her a coping mechanism when she was forced into the leading role in a primary school play.

I agree. Ideally we would be addressing the root of this issue but I'm coming in for some serious resistance.

I was also painfully self conscious at her age. Perhaps not quite as pronounced but almost. I have overcome it. I hope she will too but believe you me I would dearly love to be able to help her with this.

mrscog Mon 23-Sep-13 17:40:16

I think you need to gently push her on this. Very few people these days get to be successful without some form of public speaking. At degree level doing presentations as part of seminars will be standard. It may not be that she wants to do a degree, but even in more practical courses there is usually a public speaking element and often in the world of work as well.

If she already doesn't have a single friend in amongst a group of horrible girls then she has nothing to lose does she? (This is harsh, but probably the type of support you should be giving her to build her up towards adulthood.).

SkodaLabia Mon 23-Sep-13 17:41:40

What is the grade for, if it's assessed outside of the GCSE?

Spidermama Mon 23-Sep-13 17:43:53

I don't understand that part skoda.

SkodaLabia Mon 23-Sep-13 17:45:13

The marks that she would get for the speaking bit, what do they go towards, if it's not counted as part of the GCSE? In other words, why are they doing it?

Hi, my dd has severe anxiety surrounding speaking in public and so does any speaking exams in a room with just a teacher present.

Spidermama Mon 23-Sep-13 17:48:22

I really don't know. Unless they've just decided it's a good idea for this to form part of the training but won't count towards the final mark because they think the marking of this area is flawed. That's my best guess.

Spidermama Mon 23-Sep-13 17:49:57

Thanks OriginalNut. This is something she herself suggested. OK I'll call the school and ask if this would be possible for her.

It sort of defeats the point of getting good at public speaking but there you go.

Does your dd want/get any help with this aspect of things? Do you worry about it?

ThePuffyShirt Mon 23-Sep-13 17:57:31

I think this can be a genuine phobia for some, and whilst I agree it will definitely rear its head many times in tertiary education, it us not something you can just get over without help.

But as this element has been taken out of the grading, I think it would not be a big deal to arrange for her to do it away from the group.

Unfortunatly, that is only one of dd's current problems spidermama, as she also has depression, an eating disorder and self harms, so it is probably the problem i worry least about. Camhs did suggest things we could say to school about the public speaking, and it worked ok for now.

Dd also did all of her other exams in a room on her own, as she wouldn't walk into a hall full of people.

englishteacher78 Mon 23-Sep-13 20:14:32

Our students do speaking and listening just in front of the teacher but recorded (like French Oral). Speak to the teacher, there may be a way round it. Have they really never made her do this before? I do a speaking and listening activity in every unit of work.

Spidermama Mon 23-Sep-13 21:03:25

Sorry to hear that OriginalNutcracker. DD would feel exactly the same about walking into a hall full of people. She gets in a panic even just out on a dog walk with me and feels people are looking. It very inhibiting and very tough for this type of person in school.

I can hardly believe it now but I was the same at school. I remember never wanting to be late for class because I didn't want to have to walk in with a room full of people I perceived would be looking at me.

My DD has never taken to school. I don't think its for everyone. I considered home educating but money, lack of time and lack of DH's approval scuppered that.

I'm so very saddened at how many of the girls this age have eating disorders and self harm. Something's going badly wrong. sad

tiggytape Mon 23-Sep-13 22:32:03

In the olden days, when GCSEs were first introduced, speaking and listening was recorded as a separate grade - well it was given a number and it was teacher assessed.

The best S&L grade was a number 1. So a student could get an A for English Literature and an A for English Language and then a number was recorded next to the Language grade based on two teacher assessed exercises completed in class (one a lecture style talk and one a persuasive or propaganda thing).

In reality nobody who took English in those days records their English Language grade as a A1 because no employer would know what that meant so they drop the number and nobody ever asks for it.

balroymum Mon 23-Sep-13 22:45:12

Just a thought - if your daughter is certifying in November, speaking and listening marks do count. It's the last time they will be part of the grade. From June 2014 they will be reported separately as other posters have said. I would get her to ask her teacher if she can present her talk at break/lunch without the presence of the other students. Hope she's okay - might not be as bad as she fears! (English teacher here! Desperately trying to get all of our Year 11 through in November before the goalposts are changed.) Good luck 'Spuder'!

balroymum Mon 23-Sep-13 22:45:45

Good luck 'spider ' obviously!

vj32 Tue 24-Sep-13 09:53:32

I got a U in my speaking and listening assessment when I did GCSE, one of those awful pointless group things where you discuss what you would take with you if stranded on a small boat in the middle of the ocean.

(Apparently if you don't speak you can't demonstrate that you were listening.)

It did count then so I did something else with just a friend and the teacher. The teacher will find a way around it.

schilke Tue 24-Sep-13 10:10:17

I too struggled with this. For my GCSE (we were the first year to do them)we had to discuss a topic in groups and it was recorded. I can't remember anything about it apart from the fact I was sitting there panicking that I had to say something. I cannot remember what I got for it, but i can't imagine it was very good! I managed As in my English exams.

Fortunately my dc are not as shy as I was, but they still do not enjoy public speaking. Ds1 is in year 11 and had to do this last year. It was marked out of 15. Practice round he got 5. Real thing he managed to get 11. I told him to speak slowly - my biggest downfall when speaking in front of the class was to rush. To try to look up from notes and even he didn't make eye contact with people to pick an object at the back of the class to go to for safety....and it made it look as if he was making eye contact. To breathe slowly and deeply before starting
.
I can empathise with her, but as someone said it does become an element of education the further she goes. I remember having to take a 3 hour seminar in my third year at uni. I can't believe I did it!

TheArticFunky Sun 29-Sep-13 00:29:33

I 'm glad that the speaking element has gone from the GCSE exam. I got a grade F in the speaking and listening element of GCSE English. I could not perform in front of my peers.

Three years after leaving school I had a job that involved public speaking and I was fine. You have a much kinder audience in the workplace.

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