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GCSE poetry syllabuses


GCSE poetry syllabuses A cultural glue? Peter Keeble Who decides QCA Qualification and Curriculum Authority This sets the overall requirements for study of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: GCSE poetry syllabuses

GCSE poetry syllabuses
  • A cultural glue?
  • Peter Keeble

Who decides
  • QCA Qualification and Curriculum Authority
  • This sets the overall requirements for study of
    literature texts at GCSE
  • Exam boards then flesh them out with specifics
  • AQA
  • Edexcel

Why is this important?
  • QCA can specify that poetry must be studied for
    GCSE (14-16) by ALL students still in the
    compulsory school system
  • Exam boards can specify good poetry to help
    preserve an interest in poetry in future
  • They can ensure those at the borders of literacy
    have the opportunity to read and hear poetry

  • Students can take one of several English options
    either on their own or with a more specialist
    English Literature paper.
  • English is compulsory
  • Poetry within English is compulsory three of
    the 4 boards have it in the exam, the fourth has
    it as course work
  • Foundation and Higher levels of entry

The poems studied
  • Boards publish anthologies with all the poems to
    be studied.
  • Almost all are now available on the internet and
    you can often find some well informed comments on
  • The BBC revision website Bitesize has a selection
    read by the poets. For example from Unrelated
    Incidents by Tom Leonard is here
  • http//www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/english

  • There is an overt multi-cultural point of view in
    the AQA choice of poems.
  • It seems to be designed to combat racism and to
    promote understanding between people of different

Exam questions
Culture and identity are common themes
  • Compare the methods Denise Levertov uses to
    present a particular culture in What Were They
    Like? (page 11) with the methods another poet
    uses to present a culture or cultures in one
    other poem.

  • What were they like?
  • Did the people of Viet Nam use lanterns of
    stone? Did they hold ceremonies to reverence the
    opening of buds? Were they inclined to quiet
    laughter? Did they use bone and ivory, jade and
    silver, for ornament? Had they an epic poem? Did
    they distinguish between speech and
    singing? Sir, their light hearts turned to
    stone. It is not remembered whether in
    gardens stone gardens illumined pleasant
    ways. Perhaps they gathered once to delight in
    blossom, but after their children were
    killed there were no more buds. Sir, laughter is
    bitter to the burned mouth. A dream ago, perhaps.
    Ornament is for joy. All the bones were
    charred. it is not remembered. Remember, most
    were peasants their life was in rice and
    bamboo. When peaceful clouds were reflected in
    the paddies and the water buffalo stepped surely
    along terraces, maybe fathers told their sons old
    tales. When bombs smashed those mirrors there was
    time only to scream. There is an echo yet of
    their speech which was like a song. It was
    reported their singing resembled the flight of
    moths in moonlight. Who can say? It is silent
  • Denise Levertov

  • from 'Unrelated Incidents'  (3)
  • this is thi six a clock news thi man said n thi
    reason a talk wia BBC accent iz coz yi widny
    wahnt mi ti talk aboot thi trooth wia voice lik
  • wanna yoo scruff. if a toktaboot thi trooth lik
    wanna yoo scruff yi widny thingk it wuz
    troo. jist wanna yoo scruff tokn. thirza
    right way ti spell ana right way to tok it.
    this is me tokn yir right way a spellin. this is
    ma trooth. yooz doant no thi trooth yirsellz
    cawz yi canny talk right. this is the six a
    clock nyooz. belt up.
  • Tom Leonard

What you might mention
  • Seriousness / Humour
  • Question answer / Monologue
  • Artefacts way of life / Attitudes accent
  • Both use
  • Contrast (past/present form/content)
  • Poetic techniques
  • Mirror metaphor in Levertov

What happens in 2010
  • QCA introduces new English specification for the
    boards to follow
  • Query to AQA about poetry content
  • Customer (Peter Keeble) - 15/07/2009 Will pupils
    in both tiers be required to study and answer
    questions on poetry, as they now are? I have
    looked fairly carefully at the draft
    specification and I am not clear that this is so.
    This is a question about English (not English
    Language or English Literature).
  • Response - 16/07/2009 There is no requirement to
    do poetry for the examination in English.
    Candidates have to cover some poetry for the
    controlled coursework assessment in unit 3,
    where you can choose your own poems.

Issues with QCA proposals for 2010
  • Boards will allow individual schools to decide
    what poems they may study.
  • The boards will assess that it has been well
    taught and that pupils have learned about poetry
    as a result
  • Pro teachers will be free to choose what
    interests them and what they think will interest
    their pupils
  • Anti there will no longer be a likelihood that
    large numbers of young people will share
    knowledge of a common body of work eg Presents
    from my aunts in Pakistan Unrelated Incidents

Some issues brought up in discussion at
Metroland, 31 July 2009
  • Other kinds of poetry are promoted earlier on in
    pupils school careers often more associated
    with the traditional canon of British poetry
  • Poetry writing is used much more in primary and
    earlier secondary schooling as a way into poetry
    as is memorising poetry
  • Under the new disposition from September 2010
    enlightened teachers will be able to consult
    pupils about what sorts of poetry they would like
    to study
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