Dereliction of duty?

OK, my grand intentions for this blog have remained largely unfulfilled, so far.

I could try and make myself feel better by blaming you and saying to myself that not enough of you seemed to be using it, so it made me wonder, “what’s the point?”

But that would be lying to myself and unfair to you. A good few of you have made excellent contributions, and I know quite a lot of the less confident among you have used resources and read posts on here.

The fact is that once I’ve let something slip, it’s all the more difficult to pick it up again, especially when I feel I’m drowning in the on-rushing waves of work associated with getting coursework in, marking it, and preparing students for their exams at GCSE AS and A-level on several different courses.

Fortunately, however, there are those with better time-management skills who still manage to keep a high quality of contribution going, so can I refer you yet again to the excellent blog at (permanently linked from the sidebar on the right), and to the other sites I’ve linked to. But there is a world of learning opportunity besides the internet, even if I sometimes forget that myself these days.

You will know that I regularly refer to the English Language teachers’ email list that I rely on so heavily for support and resources. Well, a post came through this morning that strongly reinforces a notion that I’ve shared with you all many times. Here’s a bit of it:

“Further piece of advice- I’ve found that pupils who are successful are
those that read around the subject themselves as they can refer to so many
more things in the exams. Least successful are those that just complete work
in lessons and don’t read lang. books in their own time. My A2 group were
surprised on Friday that I’d never been taught CLA at school or Uni and
wondered why I knew so much about it. When I told them I read the info from
books they were most surprised!”

There is still time yet for you to pop to the library or bookshop and get reading. Those of you still feeling confused about some of the concepts we only have time to touch on quite briefly in class time will doubtless find that the scales fall from your eyes, and knowledge will fall into place. You will have many more ideas and examples to draw on in the exams. You will be much better prepeared for Y13 (if you’re doing AS) or University (if you’re doing A2).I was talking to a senior member of staff the other day who told me that our students have a significantly higher drop-out rate from university than the average. It seems that this may well be because students here are so used to being ‘spoonfed’ and ‘nannied’ through their courses, often without developing the independent learning skills required in higher education. It is a strange irony to me, that they are precisely the skills that would also lead to better results in A level exams. If every time you thought “I wish Mr Heald would give us a handout on that” you instead thought “That’s interesting, I’ll go and find out more about it”, you’re potential to get high grades would leap massively.

If there are any areas of the course that you feel you need some particular revision on, let me know, here, by email, or in school, and I will either point you in the direction of useful resources, or address the issue in class, as appropriate.

Remember, these are YOUR qualifications. What I can do to help you get them is probably much more limited than you think it is. It is the learning you undertake that is really going to count.

And if you’ve read something that you’ve found particularly useful, share it with us.

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