Friday, March 12, 2021

Analysing accent attitudes for Questions 3 & 4: an example question


We’ve been doing some work on Paper 2 Questions 3&4 recently as we wait (and wait) to see what Ofqual and the exam boards tell us about how centre assessed grades will be worked out this year. And as part of this, I’ve been putting together a few Question 3 and 4 text pairings on different topic areas. As accentism and attempts to challenge it have been in the news a lot, it seemed like a good idea to focus on that. 

There have been loads of stories about it (I mentioned a few in this post) and plenty of interesting articles for analysis, so it’s ripe for discussion. It’s also quite close in theme to the paper that was set in 2019, so the mark scheme for that paper can come in handy. Do you remember 2019? When exams were a thing and examiners got paid for marking them, rather than teachers being expected to mark them for nothing. Not bitter, honestly… just sad and quite a lot poorer. 

Anyway, all that aside, here’s one that I put together based on these two articles.
Text A is by David Mills in The Sunday Times (November 2020).
Text B is by Susan Gray in The Daily Telegraph (February 2020).  
(Trigger warning: there is a picture of Margaret Thatcher.)
Analyse how language is used in Text A (Oh Come Off It...) and Text B (Life Has Been So Much Smoother...) to present views about accents. 
In your answer you should:
• examine any similarities and differences you find between the two texts 
• explore how effectively the texts present their views. 

Write an opinion article on views about accents. In your article you should assess the ideas and issues raised in Text A and Text B. 

You should refer to ideas from language study and argue your own views. 

Even better, I’ve got a few nice extracts from student responses for this that I thought I’d share, along with my commentary on why I thought they were good (and in a few cases, what might be developed a bit more). I’ll put that in a second post along with some activities you might want to use to go with it.

Black British English vs MLE

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