JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to teach

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JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to teach

Postby MollyCoddle » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:03 am

It is probably the most challenging to teach given all the different texts and there is a great leap from sec 4 Lit not only because of the greater number of texts but also the nature of the texts and the questions students have to answer. I realised some JCs, esp those which are "branded" expect students to learn and figure out on their own. The notes these JCs provide are either conspicuously absent or too skimpy to be of much use.

I end up working overtime doing a lot of back end work to help them. I ask myself - they come to me for help and I am going to help - I spoon feed to an extent, role-model a lot for them to show them how to analyse what the question wants from them, then apply the notes and content I have provided to help them answer the questions. Of course I do detailed book studies with them. I also make them write a lot - which may not be easy given their busy schedules but until they write, they will not improve by leaps and bounds. Then I have to go through the essays with them, pointing out areas to work on and then working with them on those areas.

While to an extent I feel I am born to do this, I am also sad because this is one very difficult way to earn a living! ;P. I cannot teach in a group, unlike those tutoring Math, Science, GP and Economics. So my motivation is entirely intrinsic - the smile on my students' faces, their grades improving, the feedback I get and the interaction in the session.

Now I know why I do not have much competition for JC Literature. So many texts and each JC uses a different set of texts. It is surely not an easy way to make a living. But what to do, I love Literature and if I can help, I would help. Right now I can teach only 23 titles of the texts in the JC syllabus, I have no time or energy to expand the titles. I am also doing O-level, IP and IB Literature and so I can hardly breathe most times. So many different settings, themes, characters, contexts...etc. At upper level, I need to look at narratology, styles and techniques. I also have to impart literary theories to boost their answers and therefore their marks.

There are students from the Humanities Scholar's Programme who need as much help as those who are not. As far as Literature is concerned, the playing field is pretty level - even the very articulate ones and those with a superior command of the English language find scoring challenging but not impossible. I remember how my own daughter scored distinctions in Literature effortlessly after a little struggle in year 1 JC. Now my goal is to get my JC 1 students up and running on their own so that they could take a break from me...As far those who came to me for help only in JC2, they are stuck with me all the way to the A-level exams.

MollyCoddle
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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby autumnbronze » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:42 pm

:thankyou: for sharing your thoughts MollyCoddle.

I really enjoy reading your insightful posts!

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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby limlim » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:42 pm

Speaking about literature.. when I was in Sec 2.. I hate E.Lit to the core..

I heard a lot of positive comments about the E.Lit teacher... like.. talented, committed, passionate etc and how fortunate the school to have him as E.Lit teacher.. but I hate that subject..

And I don't like the teacher bcoz of the subject.

Much later on.. I notice that Literature is actually quite a potentially interesting subject.. esp after I improved on my command of English.. And a lot of chance for arguments and debates.. :evil:

And I realize what a pity it was.. that I didn't treasure the opportunity to learn the subject better with a passionate teacher to guide.

Anyway, I didn't do any Lit after Sec 2.. and I heard that the teacher went to another school.. probably one that deserves him better.......

ok.. just a little ranting.... :wink:

limlim
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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby autumnbronze » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:02 pm

limlim wrote:Speaking about literature.. when I was in Sec 2.. I hate E.Lit to the core..

I heard a lot of positive comments about the E.Lit teacher... like.. talented, committed, passionate etc and how fortunate the school to have him as E.Lit teacher.. but I hate that subject..

And I don't like the teacher bcoz of the subject.

Much later on.. I notice that Literature is actually quite a potentially interesting subject.. esp after I improved on my command of English.. And a lot of chance for arguments and debates.. :evil:

And I realize what a pity it was.. that I didn't treasure the opportunity to learn the subject better with a passionate teacher to guide.

Anyway, I didn't do any Lit after Sec 2.. and I heard that the teacher went to another school.. probably one that deserves him better.......

ok.. just a little ranting.... :wink:


Actually limlim,

You are one of the many I know who didn't appreciate Lit when young.

But,

You are one of the very few I know who realize your folly :salute:

Takeaway from this:

It's never too late lah ..... maybe you can share this experience with your
kiddos and hopefully they won't be so negative towards the subject when their time comes :smile:

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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby Imami » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:21 pm

I did Lit all the way from sec 1 to sec 4. Although English is never one of my stronger subjects, I have to press on and take Lit as it is a better bet than History for me. It was quite a torture for me (and my classmates) as the Lit teacher was horrible to us. She was forever putting us down (I was in the worst class), jeering at us (as hopeless) and urging us to drop Lit. I remembered I needed to do three books for O level Lit – one Shakespeare (R&J) and two modern English lit stories.

Back then, I hated R&J. I would have preferred Macbeth, King Lear or Merchant of Venice. But alas….. Right till O level, I had never read the R&J text at all. I soaked up all the information in the guide books available in the market and guessed what, I realised how shallow I was (thinking that R&J was just some stupid love story) and how much depth (there is) in R&J. personally, I am grateful to have the chance to do Lit (from “just another subject” to “Wah piang eh, how to get rid of Lit” to “I love literature”) and to have fallen in love with the subject when it was still not too late. I would be very comforted if my child loves literature as much as me.

As it is now, I am actually reading one of my old lit text to my child now (as bed time story). Certainly he doesn’t understand many parts of the plots and the underlying issues but I believe he is still benefiting from it, somehow.

Imami
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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby toddles » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:24 pm

MollyCoddle wrote:It is probably the most challenging to teach given all the different texts and there is a great leap from sec 4 Lit not only because of the greater number of texts but also the nature of the texts and the questions students have to answer. I realised some JCs, esp those which are "branded" expect students to learn and figure out on their own. The notes these JCs provide are either conspicuously absent or too skimpy to be of much use.

I end up working overtime doing a lot of back end work to help them. I ask myself - they come to me for help and I am going to help - I spoon feed to an extent, role-model a lot for them to show them how to analyse what the question wants from them, then apply the notes and content I have provided to help them answer the questions. Of course I do detailed book studies with them. I also make them write a lot - which may not be easy given their busy schedules but until they write, they will not improve by leaps and bounds. Then I have to go through the essays with them, pointing out areas to work on and then working with them on those areas.

While to an extent I feel I am born to do this, I am also sad because this is one very difficult way to earn a living! ;P. I cannot teach in a group, unlike those tutoring Math, Science, GP and Economics. So my motivation is entirely intrinsic - the smile on my students' faces, their grades improving, the feedback I get and the interaction in the session.

Now I know why I do not have much competition for JC Literature. So many texts and each JC uses a different set of texts. It is surely not an easy way to make a living. But what to do, I love Literature and if I can help, I would help. Right now I can teach only 23 titles of the texts in the JC syllabus, I have no time or energy to expand the titles. I am also doing O-level, IP and IB Literature and so I can hardly breathe most times. So many different settings, themes, characters, contexts...etc. At upper level, I need to look at narratology, styles and techniques. I also have to impart literary theories to boost their answers and therefore their marks.

There are students from the Humanities Scholar's Programme who need as much help as those who are not. As far as Literature is concerned, the playing field is pretty level - even the very articulate ones and those with a superior command of the English language find scoring challenging but not impossible. I remember how my own daughter scored distinctions in Literature effortlessly after a little struggle in year 1 JC. Now my goal is to get my JC 1 students up and running on their own so that they could take a break from me...As far those who came to me for help only in JC2, they are stuck with me all the way to the A-level exams.


Hey mollycoddle,

your sharing comes across as sincere observations and views so I don't see why it has raised such rancour.

Anyway, we rise above such incidents, which are few and far between in our very civil forum.

I love literature, and appreciate that you are trying to help those who have chosen it as an A level subject. Your post did not smack of self-promotion. I guess most students who choose to do it at the A levels must have some affinity for it? Or perhaps they coped well enough at the O levels but underestimated the requirements at A levels?

Anyway, it has always taken guts to choose to be examined in humanities subjects instead of math or science subjects since it's much easier to mug an A for those subjects. But those with a love for the subject will have no regrets, whatever the grade. I was glad I took it as one of my subjects, and the 'S' paper too. ;)

It is precisely the broadness of scope and context that makes literature beautiful. Press on in your thankless, arduous task!

toddles
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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby Imami » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:29 pm

toddles wrote:
MollyCoddle wrote:It is probably the most challenging to teach given all the different texts and there is a great leap from sec 4 Lit not only because of the greater number of texts but also the nature of the texts and the questions students have to answer. I realised some JCs, esp those which are "branded" expect students to learn and figure out on their own. The notes these JCs provide are either conspicuously absent or too skimpy to be of much use.

I end up working overtime doing a lot of back end work to help them. I ask myself - they come to me for help and I am going to help - I spoon feed to an extent, role-model a lot for them to show them how to analyse what the question wants from them, then apply the notes and content I have provided to help them answer the questions. Of course I do detailed book studies with them. I also make them write a lot - which may not be easy given their busy schedules but until they write, they will not improve by leaps and bounds. Then I have to go through the essays with them, pointing out areas to work on and then working with them on those areas.

While to an extent I feel I am born to do this, I am also sad because this is one very difficult way to earn a living! ;P. I cannot teach in a group, unlike those tutoring Math, Science, GP and Economics. So my motivation is entirely intrinsic - the smile on my students' faces, their grades improving, the feedback I get and the interaction in the session.

Now I know why I do not have much competition for JC Literature. So many texts and each JC uses a different set of texts. It is surely not an easy way to make a living. But what to do, I love Literature and if I can help, I would help. Right now I can teach only 23 titles of the texts in the JC syllabus, I have no time or energy to expand the titles. I am also doing O-level, IP and IB Literature and so I can hardly breathe most times. So many different settings, themes, characters, contexts...etc. At upper level, I need to look at narratology, styles and techniques. I also have to impart literary theories to boost their answers and therefore their marks.

There are students from the Humanities Scholar's Programme who need as much help as those who are not. As far as Literature is concerned, the playing field is pretty level - even the very articulate ones and those with a superior command of the English language find scoring challenging but not impossible. I remember how my own daughter scored distinctions in Literature effortlessly after a little struggle in year 1 JC. Now my goal is to get my JC 1 students up and running on their own so that they could take a break from me...As far those who came to me for help only in JC2, they are stuck with me all the way to the A-level exams.


Hey mollycoddle,

your sharing comes across as sincere observations and views so I don't see why it has raised such rancour.

Anyway, we rise above such incidents, which are few and far between in our very civil forum.

I love literature, and appreciate that you are trying to help those who have chosen it as an A level subject. Your post did not smack of self-promotion. I guess most students who choose to do it at the A levels must have some affinity for it? Or perhaps they coped well enough at the O levels but underestimated the requirements at A levels?

Anyway, it has always taken guts to choose to be examined in humanities subjects instead of math or science subjects since it's much easier to mug an A for those subjects. But those with a love for the subject will have no regrets, whatever the grade. I was glad I took it as one of my subjects, and the 'S' paper too. ;)

It is precisely the broadness of scope and context that makes literature beautiful. Press on in your thankless, arduous task!

:goodpost:

Imami
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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby Imami » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:33 pm

I kinda agree with Toddles – Molly shares her personal experience/opinions sincerely. Not just this thread. I read about how her eldest started dating in sec2 and how she expressed her “knowing when to let go”… I thought she was opening her heart to share about her experience. Nice. I like.

Imami
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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby Edureach » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:34 pm

It is a well-known fact that the distinction rate for eng lit A-level is way lower than science subjects such as maths, physics and biology.

Though it is not specially mentioned, my feeling is that London law schools do favor top applicants that offered eng lit as one of their subjects, the other being history.

Edureach
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Re: JC Literature - surely the most challenging subject to t

Postby limlim » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:45 pm

toddles wrote:Anyway, it has always taken guts to choose to be examined in humanities subjects instead of math or science subjects since it's much easier to mug an A for those subjects. But those with a love for the subject will have no regrets, whatever the grade. I was glad I took it as one of my subjects, and the 'S' paper too. ;)


It is too "subjective"....

i.e. depends on whether the examiner agree or disagree with your views or the way you write..

limlim
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