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Penrice students take English to the next level
A GROUP of Gifted and Talented pupils from Penrice Community College visited Cornwall College St Austell recently where they took part in specialist one-day English Language and Literature masterclasses organised by the College's A-level department.
The day started with a creative writing task based on what they could see through a window; physical or metaphoric, with lots of physical stimuli around the room from a WWII Nazi helmet to a kaleidoscope. The ideas generated ranged from the zany to the sophisticated and all demonstrated flair and originality.
For the remainder of the day students were divided into groups where they had taster sessions in both English Literature and English Language.
In the English Literature session students adopted the stance of a dystopian writer where they designed their own utopias and then tried to protect them, soon realising how unavoidably repressive they became. Armed with this frustration, students studied the opening to three dystopian texts: 1984, Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale.
“Considering their inexperience at A-level, the level of critical analysis was outstanding,” said Roisin Higgins, English Lecturer at Cornwall College St Austell. “This was clearly demonstrated as they applied what they had learnt to creating their own dystopian novel openings, which were remarkably chilling.”
The English Language session was based on Phonology - students explored the sounds of language and how they affect our responses to words. Lists of words we love and words we hate were made and the students worked out which sounds in them we tend to find appealing or unappealing and learned some new terminology to describe these sounds: fricatives, plosives and gutterals. They then used this knowledge to write some poems, either ‘delightful’ or ‘disgusting’ poems and read them out to the class to much hilarity.
Georgina Brown, a Year 9 pupil from Penrice who attended the day, said: “I have learnt all about Phonology and how to analyse pieces of writing. I have also learnt how to improve my creative writing. I have enjoyed the whole day, but Phonology was my favourite.”
Susi Tooley, Deputy Head of English at Penrice, said: “The workshops provided were a fantastic opportunity for Penrice’s English Gifted and Talented students to develop their skills for Language and Literature. The day was also a great way to inspire a consideration of further and higher education in these very able students. Overall the whole day was a real success.”
Dave Linnell, Principal of Cornwall College, said: “At Cornwall College we have great links with schools and the local community, which enables students to benefit from our time and expertise. I know from our lecturers that the Penrice students’ confidence and creativity at adapting to A-level English was nothing short of inspirational and I’m sure that their knowledge gained will reflect positively in their work in the classroom.”
Cornwall College St Austell offers a wide range of A-levels with places still available for a September start. For further information about studying at the College, please call 0845 22 32 567, visit www.cornwall.ac.uk or pop along to the forthcoming Open Event on Saturday 30 June from 10am – 12pm.