Isobel Woodger, OCR English Subject Advisor
This blog was originally published in June 2021. It has since been updated to reflect that copies of the anthology are available.
In this blog I’m going to walk you through the changes made to the anthology for component 1 of our AS and A Level English Language and Literature for first teaching in September 2021. I’m hoping to give a bit of insight into what’s great about these new texts and suggest some initial teaching approaches.
As explained in our last subject information update, we initially redacted the Jamie Oliver text in the autumn term and announced a refreshed version 3 for AS and A Level first teaching in September 2021. For version 3, we have replaced five texts from the last refreshed anthology.
We consulted with our assessors and teachers in a customer survey back in the autumn term, as well as working with our principal examiners and colleagues at the English and Media Centre (EMC). We tried to maintain the previous balance of written and spoken extracts (especially with key text types like graphic memoir), while introducing new ones like daytime TV interview, creative non-fiction and radio interview.
The five extracts being replaced are:
AS Level first assessment of these texts will be June 2022; A Level first assessment of these texts will be in June 2023.
There’s a brief overview of each new extract below, along with a couple of initial teaching ideas for familiarising and contextualising students with the content.
In replacing the Jamie Oliver text, we were keen to focus on another food personality familiar to students. We also wanted to feature the daytime talk-show interview, a genre we felt would help expand student ideas of how interviews can function. Hussain’s discussion with Schofield and Willoughby is natural, engaging and open, touching on a range of topics from food and promoting her new book, to family life, health and well-being. The extract is taken from 00m00s to 03m30s from the YouTube link above.
Gharib’s loving and moving examination of growing up as a first generation Filipino-Egyptian American felt like a great fit for the anthology. Using only the colours of the American flag where possible, Gharib, a journalist at National Public Radio (NPR), explores ideas about belonging, family and identity. In the extract we’ve chosen from chapter 2, Gharib details her family structure, cultural differences in food and expectation, as well as parental sacrifice.
This interview with President Joe Biden in 1987, during his first campaign to become the Democratic presidential nominee running against Republican president Ronald Reagan, offers an opportunity to explore conversational structure, spontaneous speech and rhetorical devices. In-depth political interviews allow the subject to expand and develop their responses. Biden’s level of fluency and cohesion is greater than we might expect in spontaneous speech and offers a source that students can really sink their teeth into. Our extract is taken from 36m 08s to 42m 00s from the BBC Sounds link above.
We wanted to include some creative non-fiction in version 3, especially as memoir and personal essay writing is something that students are often choosing to work with in component 4. We felt this extract from O’Farrell’s I am, I am, I am: Seventeen Brushes with Death offers a unique example of the ways in which language can be used in non-fiction and in memoir specifically. In Cranium, O’Farrell uses a third person perspective to explore a close call with a passing truck.
We also wanted to ensure that we featured a spoken piece featuring an ordinary person. This radio interview explores the impact of economic disparity in education through the lens of a group of students from a public (state) school in the Bronx, New York who visit an elite private school, Fieldston, only three miles away. In this extract, producer Chana Joffe-Walt interviews Melanie, a student whose experience of the Fieldston visit revealed a disconnect. You can listen to the episode here (with transcript). Our extract starts in Act One, 20m 31s - 25m 53s.
A digital version is available to download from Interchange and is linked in the Planning and teaching > Anthology of texts section of our qualification page.
Physical copies are available to order using our order form. (Please note that the order form is located a little further down the linked webpage.)
We really hope that these new extracts spark interest in the classroom and generate meaningful discussion.
If you have any other questions you can submit your comments below, or email us at English@ocr.org.uk. You can also sign up to our subject updates or follow us on Twitter @OCR_English.
Isobel joined OCR as a member of the English subject team, with particular responsibility for A and AS Level English Literature and A and AS Level English Language and Literature (EMC).
She previously worked as a classroom teacher in a co-educational state secondary school, with three years as second-in-charge in English with responsibility for key stage 5. In addition to teaching all age groups from key stage 3 to 5, Isobel worked with the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education as a mentor to PGCE trainees. Prior to this, she studied for an MA in film, television and screen media with Birkbeck College, University of London while working as a learning support assistant at a large state comprehensive school.