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A Level Media ‘Big Issues’

Barry Rainsford | Sunday October 20, 2019

Categories: Teacher Blogs

About our Big Issues Blogs

One of the draw backs with the new examinations with their QCA approved ‘canon’ of media products deemed worthy of study, is that they may all too easily become the only products presented to our students for study, a nervous fixation or life-belt for anxious teachers concerned to cover all of the territory of the new specifications in as much depth as possible.

Hopefully, now that we have had the first full assessments we are clearer in how these study products ‘work’ and we can now trust that the exam board exhortations, to see these products simply as a common core of material for students to hang theoretical models and their understanding upon, is true.

Such products have never been portrayed as exclusive, in fact, having worked on preparing over 600 lessons for Edusites that cover the entire two-year course for all three boards, I know that each board has striven to communicate this. More than this, each of the three A Level boards constantly exhorts staff to widen the range of study, to use the set products as a jumping off point for wider exploration of print, broadcast and digital forms.

So, the time seems right for this series of blogs with accompanying lessons inspired by current events that, in their turn, illuminate the study of the set products for each board. In this way we can ensure that our teaching content is constantly refreshed and kept current and relatable.

These lessons are aimed at practitioners of all three boards so do not rely on any of the formal set products. In fact, in some cases they may apply to print, broadcast and digital alike. I leave it to you, should you use the base material of each lesson, to add reference to the relevant set products.

The first of what I have called ‘The Big Issue Lessons’ is focused on print for A Level study, and as such, may be used in Term 1 with Year 12 or Term 4 of Year 13.

Barry Rainsford, Author and Teacher of Media, Film and English

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