GCSE & A-Level English Literature & English Language with Cherwell College Oxford tutor, Cathy Spiers

GCSE & A-Level English Literature & English Language

GCSE & A-Level English Literature & English Language: The Power of Studying English Literature and English Language in Oxford

Nestled in the heart of Oxford, studying English Literature and English Language under Cathy’s guidance at Cherwell College Oxford takes on a transformative dimension. The city’s rich literary heritage and intellectual ambiance serve as a catalyst for academic exploration and inspiration. In this hallowed academic setting, students immerse themselves in the footsteps of literary giants, engaging with texts in the very environment that nurtured centuries of literary excellence. The synergy between scholarly pursuits and cultural immersion fosters a profound appreciation for language and literature, igniting the flames of intellectual curiosity and creativity.

Exploring the enriching world of Literature and Language education

Cathy Spiers, an esteemed tutor at Cherwell College Oxford, brings a vibrant energy to the realm of English Literature and Language education. In this article, Cathy shares insights into her teaching philosophy and the myriad benefits of studying English Literature and Language at GCSEs and A-Levels. Cathy’s role encompasses guiding students through the intricacies of both English Language and Literature. Cathy also teaches pre-GCSE and AS level syllabus.

Nurturing linguistic and literary Minds

“A-Level English Language: Unlocking the Theoretical Realm”

Reflecting on the distinctions between GCSE and A-Level English Language, Cathy emphasises, “GCSE English Language is designed to test people’s literacy skills, whereas A-Level English Language is the study of the English Language. So, while students do participate in creative writing, it’s much more theoretical.”

Cathy added, “Some modules in A-Level English Language might include the sociology of language, the philosophy of language or the history of the development of the English language. It’s much more academic than I think perhaps people realise, however most of my students enjoy that challenge.”

“A-Level English Literature: A Gateway to Literary Wonder”

In Cathy’s classroom, A-Level English Literature unfolds as a captivating journey into the depths of literary masterpieces. Through Cathy’s guidance, students traverse an expansive literary landscape, delving into classic works with heightened critical awareness and contextual understanding. Cathy states, “If you’ve studied GCSE English Literature, then, A-Level English Literature will seem very similar. What changes is the number of books you cover, and the need for students to become aware to context and critics”. Students studying English Literature under Cathy this term, although all at different stages, have been analysing the works of authors H. G. Wells and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Poets, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Blake, Christina Rossetti and Shakespeare as well as playwright, Oscar Wilde.

Tailored Learning Adventures

Each student’s educational journey under Cathy’s guidance is bespoke and dynamic. Through personalised exploration, students uncover the richness of language and literature, fostering intellectual curiosity and personal growth. Cathy’s approach is evident as she describes her teaching methods, stating, “We cover a different story each lesson, which is good because students get to study a variety of stories and narrators, meaning they get to expand their knowledge and understanding.”

“Shakespearean Delights and Literary Explorations”

Through spirited discussions and immersive encounters with timeless classics, students discover the profound resonance of literature across cultures and generations. Drawing upon her students’ experiences, Cathy highlights the everlasting enduring appeal of Shakespearean works. “My students always get a lot out of Shakespeare, whenever I cover Shakespeare I find the lessons engaging, the students always have plenty to write and converse about”.

GCSE & A-Level English Literature

Charting Academic Success

Navigating examination pathways with Cathy’s guidance offers students clarity and purpose. “For the GCSE English Language exam, I tend to go with the Edexcel exam board because it consists of one three-hour exam paper. It has three sections that you spend an hour on each which I find crystal clear for the students as they work their way through the paper. We have found that some of the exam boards can be a bit confusing as to where in the paper you get the majority of the marks.” This is an example of Cathy’s strategic choices and meticulous preparation ensuring her students are equipped to excel academically and realise their full potential.

Whereas, assessments for A-Level English Literature exams are much more nuanced and include sections on Poetry and Prose, Shakespeare and Drama, Pre- and Post-1900 literary texts. The aim is to test candidates’ ability to read literature critically and to demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which meaning is expressed through writer’s choices of language, form and structure.

As prospective students contemplate their academic paths, Cathy stands as a beacon of inspiration, beckoning them to embark on a voyage of self-discovery through the wondrous realms of English Language and Literature amongst the dreaming spires, in the heart of Oxford.

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English Language with Cherwell College Oxford tutor