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Grade 4 in both Eng Lang and Lit at mocks... what to do about Lang?

(35 Posts)
Draylon Mon 19-Dec-16 13:59:32

Oh dear!

English has always been his achilles heel, requiring KipMcGrath for KS2 SATS for instance.

He has a slightly limited vocab, hunting around for the right word, etc and often makes grammatical errors when chatting. He is absolutely not a reader, but, in context, for the rest of his mocks, he got:

Maths 7
Commercial Art A*
Geography A
Core Science B
Additional Science B
Spanish B
Business and Economics C

We got a letter home suggesting he needs to work on his literature texts over Xmas, which is fine (by me!); but how do you improve Language in a reluctant reader?

He's being a bit teenage from time to time (15.5). Was quite chatty til I reminded him he had work to do this morning, then Mr Morose. I did point out that failing English wasn't an option... so he's doing Macbeth right now (though I do see how difficult such things can be to grasp for many DC, especially if most of their communication is functional, not expressive).

But Language? confused

BertrandRussell Mon 19-Dec-16 14:03:39

Does he like music? Could he write songs? Would he listen to audio books?

The first two things that jumped into my head because they are both things my ds-same age- loves.

SantaIsABastard Mon 19-Dec-16 14:05:50

Try read theory? My dc vocab has improved loads doing a few each day, plus a session each day on vocabulary . com. On the vocabulary . com site load up a list of words they should/are recommended to use - we did this for the 11+ list and it helped loads.

Draylon Mon 19-Dec-16 14:14:10

Bertrand he likes music but in a passive way.

Santals - have looked up those links and they look useful, thanks.

rainbowjoy Mon 19-Dec-16 14:17:42

Are his school putting on any help or revision sessions he could go to ? A level 4 could be a level 5 by the summer it is seen as an OK pass. If he doesn't need higher for his A level choices then why worry. His other results are good especially maths. I have ds exactly the same predicted As in maths, triple science but English much much weaker so long as he gets his level 4 I will be pleased. Good luck

BertrandRussell Mon 19-Dec-16 14:29:06

Does he want to do A levels? What subjects?

Windanddrizzle Mon 19-Dec-16 14:30:41

Have you considered asking for a referral to a Speech and Language Therapist?

This is worth reading to see if any of it sounds familiar

www.ican.org.uk/~/media/Ican2/Whats%20the%20Issue/Evidence/ICAN_TalkSeries10.ashx

Wolfiefan Mon 19-Dec-16 14:30:43

What syllabus? Can he get some past papers and example answers?

Draylon Mon 19-Dec-16 14:31:43

rainbow I'm sure the school will help, but no specific revision sessions offered yet. He's on the radar in that they wrote to us advising us which revision guides to buy. We already have 2/3 of them but, needless to say, the spines aren't broken, despite having 'revised' for the mocks..

My fear is how close that 4 might be to a 3, which I don't know.

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Mon 19-Dec-16 14:38:19

No-one knows how close it is to a 3 as no-one has the slightest idea what the grade boundaries will be. Everyone is making them up: his result is only comparable to those in his school, because the school down the road might have made up different boundaries.

English wise - the papers are quite formulaic, so worth looking at them and working out what is needed. Tech terms are very big in the Mark scheme, so get him revising grammar etc

Draylon Mon 19-Dec-16 14:45:43

Yes, they are all making it up as they go along, aren't they? Can't forgive Gove for this new debacle.

So I do need to get on to DS as we can't risk his 4 being too close to a 3.

When you say 'tech terms', what do you mean, please?

TeenAndTween Mon 19-Dec-16 16:04:17

My DD1 nearly failed her English Lang 2 years ago. Despite averaging As for the CAs (which I think your DS doesn't have) her written paper was so bad she would have got a D overall from her mock. don't get me started on the teachers not picking this up and predicting her an A all the way to Christmas .

Anyway from Feb when we got her mock results to the exam we just pulled out all the stops. She went to every revision session going (from any English teacher). Came back and reported what she had learned was required for each type of question. I collated info and put together a strategy for each question which she then practiced, got marked and round we went again.

It was a massive struggle but she scraped by in the end.

I don't know the new specs, but you need to get a handle on what is happening with each individual question. Where is he losing marks. And then try to work out a formula.

TeenAndTween Mon 19-Dec-16 16:07:00

Tech terms may mean being able to pick out things like alliteration and talk about its effect.

Trifleorbust Mon 19-Dec-16 16:19:08

There's no substitute for reading, reluctant or not. He needs to get used to picking apart longer sentences as he will have to read challenging 19th and 20th century extracts in the exam. Start with basic comprehension, perhaps giving him some questions based on a short extract from literary fiction. Get him reading newspapers and summarising the opinion of TVs writer (like the Guardian opinion columns). Sadly there are no shortcuts. If his vocabulary doesn't improve you are absolutely right to expect him to struggle.

Trifleorbust Mon 19-Dec-16 16:19:34

*the

derektheladyhamster Mon 19-Dec-16 16:22:55

My DS's worst subject was lang. He used Mr Bruff's YouTube tutorials. He says they are the only reason he passed.

Trifleorbust Mon 19-Dec-16 16:26:04

Mr. Bruff is quite good but the last time I looked all his tutorial material was designed for the legacy specifications. It is also squarely aimed at a 'pass' but that's great for many students.

Draylon Mon 19-Dec-16 16:53:49

Questioning DS2 further, in Lang, he says there are 5 questions on one day, 4 on another day, i.e. 2 exams. DS1 (17) seemed to have done similar; does anyone know how the specs have changed between the legacy and now specs?

walruswhiskers Mon 19-Dec-16 17:03:59

I don't know what spec your ds is doing but in ours... (WJEC)

Paper 1 - read an extract from a Victorian novel, answer 2 information retrieval/comprehension qus, then a 6 mark question which requires some technical terminology (eg adverbial phrase, sibilance, metaphor) with explanation of effect, then a 15 mark qu where the student has to give opinions about how successfully the author has achieved their intentions.
Followed by a piece of imaginative writing with a significant amount of marks being scored for spelling etc.

Paper 2 - comparison of 2 non-fiction pieces, both modern but complex in sentence structures etc. Similar questions though different marks achievable. Then a piece of writing for a "real life" situation - a letter , a speech etc. Again SPaG counts as significant part of the grade.

walruswhiskers Mon 19-Dec-16 17:06:48

Skills our students need to work on are spotting techniques and understanding their effect, proof reading their own work, higher level vocab. Perhaps the most important is reading stamina and resilience - not giving up if the text is hard/contains unfamiliar vocab etc.

So lots of reading, of complex subject matter, is prob the best approach as a start for your ds.

Trifleorbust Mon 19-Dec-16 17:12:19

The papers now test for a more thorough understanding of linguistic and structural methods used by the writer. They require the student to pick out explicit and implied meaning. They have to summarise meaning. They have to synthesise information from two sources for one paper. They have to show an evaluative understanding of methods used by the writer, agreeing or departing from a given view. They have to explain the writer's views and how these are conveyed.

flissfloss65 Mon 19-Dec-16 17:18:33

Could you get him a tutor? They would then be able to highlight areas needing improvement and work on those. If he started soon he would have five months of extra help.

Redsrule Mon 19-Dec-16 22:50:10

First of all find out which exam board he is working for. The new GCSE is very structures and revision workbooks will help. If he is AQA the OUP workbook is great but it is crucial his vocab increases. Try a word a day.

Draylon Tue 20-Dec-16 12:52:05

DS says it's AQA. Will look at the OUP workbook, thanks, and welcome any other suggestions!

Draylon Tue 20-Dec-16 12:58:28

Could you possibly link, Redsrule, please?

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