The New A Level RS Specification: Essay Writing

My Lower Sixth pupils have got off to a flying start with their first foray into the new A Level specification from OCR.

I am teaching the Philosophy side of the course this year and we are just wrapping up their first topic: Ancient Greek Influences.

Crucial to helping them make the big step from GCSE to A level has been helping them come to terms with what is required when writing an essay. It is our whole school policy to not enter any pupil for AS levels and, as such, we are fully linear. Looking ahead to Summer 2018 it is imperative that my pupils get as much practice writing essays as they can.

In the Summer holiday I attended an OCR course in London designed to introduce the new course to teachers and Hugh Campbell gave some important information about exam technique. The crucial focus for pupils should be twofold:

  1. Answer the question directly.

  2. Use evaluative language. 

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Improving Teaching and Learning

This year, I have been thinking about how to improve the teaching and learning in my department. A few key areas will be the focus for us, and I think they are useful for any teacher of RE.

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1. Establish an ethos of personal development.

Only as reflective practitioners will we be best placed to achieve excellence in the quality of our teaching and learning. I aim to lead by example and have adopted an ‘open-door’ policy for any teacher to observe my lessons at any time. I am open to new ideas and hope that my own research and observation of colleagues will help me learn new skills, reflect on different pedagogical approaches and enhance my own practice.

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