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What do you do for English class?

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Hey guys :)

I'm in this situation where my English teacher is fresh out of college. She has a great personality and she's extremely nice and friendly.

...However, this is her first year teaching IB English and I am very dissatisfied with the class. I loved what the literature syllabus demanded but she is just so laid back that almost nothing gets done in class.

I understand that there is a lot of analysis of the text and commentaries of the various works that have to be read in order to complete the English Literature Course. So far we've only done a lot of very simplistic essays and the whole ambiance of the class makes one feel that they're in a "bird course" if they didn't know know any better.

So I was wondering what kind of assignments you guys get from English class? I just want to know so I can possibly do some independent work aside from what little my teacher is doing to (hopefully) pass this course XD

Edited by Edwina Wong

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I have two literature classes: Spanish A1 and English A2. I believe that the syllabus changed this year, however there must be some similarities.

Spanish: We read the texts in class (and some for homework) and discuss them (themes, symbols, literary devices, etc). It is always useful to take notes.

English (I think my English teacher is better): We read the books for homework, but little by little. For example, the teacher assigns us to read the first chapter of a book (she usually gives us two days to do this). Then we discuss the chapter in class. She explains the literary devices found in the texts.

We read two plays (The Crucible and Hamlet) in class and it took about a month to read each.

After reading a book and having the exam, we watch the movie in class.

As we are reading a book, our teacher assigns us essays to write. These were practices for Paper 2 and the Oral Commentary.

For Paper 1 and the Oral Commentary our teacher explained us how to structure them. Here in IB survival are guidelines similar to what my teacher said. Read them they are very careful.

Do you have any more questions?

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My English teacher is actually pretty lenient when it comes to work or assignments. We haven't been getting much homework because we just get bulky assignments instead. She usually assigns a novel for us to read, and while all of us are reading the novel on our own time, she discusses relevant background ideas (e.g. historical context, important themes). In terms of assignments, we've been getting the conventional stuff like commentaries, key-passage analyses, and compare-contrast essays. The English curriculum in my school decided to throw in some great evaluations though. Recently, my teacher divided us into groups and asked us to create a website based on one of the key themes in William Shakespeare's King Lear. We were then asked to deliver a notes-free presentation on our website, as well as the key passage analyses embedded in them. I'm currently working on the most recent assignment, and that is creating a triptych, or a three-panel picture. She wants us to base the designs off of postmodern art, and it is required that it relates to the symbolism in a book we're reading (Wind-Up Bird Chronicle).

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As Literature is a highly subjective course, it's hard to have a set curriculum. Our teacher is quite laid-back, too, we read the texts and have in-class discussions, but no homework assignments asides from IAs and the rare past paper one. If you want to do some work outside of class, the basic things to do would be simply to read. Read widely in literature, so you gain a broader understanding and appreciation (helps particularly with paper 1), and also reread your course texts so that you know them backwards. Brush up on your knowledge of literary features and their effects, too.

As for actual IB assessment, make sure you know which texts are used for which section of assessment, and tailor any and all work you do towards that form of assessment; i.e. if you have a work for your IOC do passage analysis, for your IOP pick and explore a theme or whatnot, for World Lits find an aspect of comparison, and for exam texts look at some past paper questions.

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Thanks guys! :]

It might be weird that I'm answering to my own thread but I also found journaling to be quite helpful when reading the different works for the course. I don't know if it's common but as you read the different chapters/ sections of the novel you jot down any symbols, new characters, themes, literary devices, and important quotes that you stumble upon. In addition you can bullet point main events that occur. Then as your reading progresses you can easily identify recurring elements and patterns that the author uses.

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