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R.S alevel OCR course

(9 Posts)
FantasyAndHope Tue 04-Oct-16 19:28:55

Needing some advice for DD. DD Is in year12 just started and has chosen to do R.S she got an A* at GCSE. DDs teacher is telling her she needs to be researching as much as a degree student,due to the new alevels demanding more? Of course she needs to do wider reading but to the level of a degree student? DD is also getting confused when researching as she'll come across theories she doesn't get but her teacher won't explain them?
Any advise welcome

DailyMailFuckRightOff Tue 04-Oct-16 19:55:49

The expectation we set for our students is that for each hour of teaching time there should be an hour of additional study after homework. So if I see my class for 4 hours per week they should be completing homework and then 4 hours of additional study.

Within our subject (not RS) we expect at least one piece of additional reading, e.g. journal article, news article, reading from a secondary textbook from the reading list, per week. The rest of this time will come from rewriting and adding to notes, doing past paper questions etc. Revision should be an ongoing process, not shoved into a couple of weeks at the end of the course.

Is it possible that the teacher is trying to make them understand the jump from GCSE, and possibly scare them into doing more reading?

In terms of the teacher not explaining theories, it might be that it's simply not the right time to go through them, i.e. they'll be covered later, or link to a different part of the spec. But this should really be made clear to students - it'd be expected that they'd be given an outline of the specification, a reading list and a glossary to complete as they went along (or they'd create their own as they went along), to help them to understand where the different concepts and theories come together.

Or the teacher might be unclear themselves - it's a new spec and the content will be more complex and weighty than in previous years. Exam boards have had very little time to prepare for the new specs and so teachers have struggled to access sound and consistent advice about the ins and outs of certain aspects. I know from speaking to a colleague that one of the problems the OCR RS A-level course has faced is a lack of resources i.e. textbooks, because the course was accredited very late by Ofqual. She was determined to follow OCR but when it still hadn't been accredited in late June she was forced to switch to an exam board that was further along in the process.

Hope this helps.

FantasyAndHope Tue 04-Oct-16 21:34:50

Textbook was just released couple of weeks ago. DD has had him since GCSE and he was wishy woshy then. They do the same thing for 3 or 4 lessons and there is only 2 in the class there was 4 but 2 have dropped out as of today as they were hating it. She's doing English and history and she's doing wider reading and studying and revising etc but there doesn't seem to be such an empathises on it as much as this teacher.
It's a small independent school btw

Genevieva Tue 04-Oct-16 23:07:07

I have worked in both the private and state sectors. At their best private schools offer a lovely learning environment with smaller classes and highly educated teachers who have a greater level of autonomy than they do in the state sector. However, this autonomy has both up and down sides.

From what you have written here it is hard to get a clear idea of what is going on, but it is clear your daughter and her (ex)classmates are not enjoying them lessons and are feeling a bit out of their depth. I am generally anti the idea of chopping and changing, but a class of 2 is a bit miserable to be honest and that alone might be sufficient to consider other options.

If you can, try to get your daughter to make a mental note of the structure of her next couple of lessons. Do they do the following:
- brief recall of learning outcomes from last lesson
- intro to purpose of today's lesson, including learning objectives
- learning through a variety of media and methods (text/ppt/film clips/...)
- the opportunity to discuss information taught to clarify understanding
- the opportunity to evaluate theories and counter claims.
- review of material covered for consolidation and to demonstrate that intended learning outcomes have been met.

Has your daughter written any essays yet? If so, how did she do? Was she given any assessment criteria or guidance on how to improve? Is the teacher teaching the entire A Level or is part of it being taken by another teacher?

Your daughter's class are 16. They have only just started Y12. Have they had a library lesson to help them find relevant books that might contain material for wider reading? Have they been given specific suggestions of what to read? As they mature they will become more confident about tracking down their own wider research reading, but at this stage I would expect them to be supported in the process.

I am asking these questions so that you and your daughter can work out what exactly is making her unhappy and whether it is just the personality of the teacher or the actual delivery of the course. It might also help clarify whether there are specific things the teacher could do to improve if you asked. Alternatively, you may prefer not to risk having in depth conversations on a delicate subject only to find it doesn't help and your daughter wishes that she had changed subjects before it was too late.

Genevieva Tue 04-Oct-16 23:08:55

Please excuse the 'them' - should say 'the lessons'

semideponent Wed 05-Oct-16 04:08:11

I wouldn't get too worried about the level of reading, to be honest: there is a lot of crossover anyway, between a level and entry-level degree books, particularly for RS, which doesn't have many formal textbooks as such.

Depending on which units she's doing, she might find the 'Puzzle' titles by Peter Vardy helpful for starters, especially Puzzle of God and Puzzle of Evil. He was at Heythrop College which hosts an annual conference for RS A level students. I remember going, years ago! They are very approachable texts. Keith Ward's books might be good ones, too.

If you dig a bit online, you may find a good reading list. Ideally her teacher should put one together, but if I was her, I wouldn't hang around waiting for it. You can also download OCR course specs.

It's a really demanding A level, but (I also took English and history) the mist rewarding one I did. Hope she enjoys it.

FantasyAndHope Wed 05-Oct-16 09:01:13

DD said they watch a lot of films and videos and he frequently sends them off for private study. There's nothing like doing outcomes of the lesson and recapping year she will be the only one in the class he said not to worry, the other girl in the class is only here for one year and she has done a lot of reading from her previous school (was at an American school,its like a gap year for her) so it's mainly her discussing with him and DD has no clue what's going on. My DD is 18 (is back one year for social and emotional issues not Sen at previous schools) and he's the only R.S teacher in the school so no change.
I'll recommend them semi

senua Wed 05-Oct-16 09:39:35

Alarm bells are ringing. What is this teacher's history of exam grades at A Level. If most come out with an A* then it seems that your DD is not yet quite understanding how he operates. If most come out with a U then change courses, quick.

FantasyAndHope Wed 05-Oct-16 12:01:02

1 A* last year out of a class of 6 she went to Oxford
Year before was an A* and a B and the A* went to a degree in philosophy
Last years class were mainly B's/C's and 1 A
No u's

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