IB Spotlight: English A – Language And Literature

IB Spotlight: English A – Language And Literature

To continue to uncover student’s perspectives on what studying the IB Diploma is really like, this week AIS’s IB Spotlight focuses on English A: Language and Literature. This course critically studies and interprets both written and spoken texts from a wide range of different sources, and aims to develop students’ textual analysis, communications skills and understanding of how meaning is created through language.

Michelle Nong, a Year 12 student who has been at AIS for over 10 years, reveals what life is like and how she feels about studying the subject, and also provides useful advice for future IB students:

The transition from being a Year 11 student into a Year 12 student came with its own struggles, a major one being subject selections. I had to balance between subjects that I was good at and passionate about, but also the subjects that would be required of me for university applications into my desired career path. Nonetheless, I had no doubts about deciding to take English A Higher Level for Group 1 (Studies in Language and Literature). So far, I really have been enjoying this subject. A typical day is when we analyse different literary works, whether it’s through class discussions, groupwork or individual research. It sounds incredibly mundane and ordinary, but in reality, looking at different texts through a plethora of lenses is what makes the subject so thrilling for me. Being able to discuss works with my peers and seeing things from different points of view, everybody brings new things to the table every day. There isn’t a single day where I leave class with the same outlook that I walked in with. There is no distinct answer as to who’s right and who’s wrong, only how you accurately provide evidence in order to support your arguments.

In class, I am currently studying the poems of Carol Ann Duffy; the way she tackles global issues and brings awareness to them so creatively through her poetry has really allowed me to see the world differently, from a modern feminist’s point of view. She is unlike a typical, ‘traditional’ poet, and I highly recommend checking out her poems. What’s so great about the English A IB curriculum is that there are fewer constraints and limitations on what you are allowed to study. In IGCSE English Language and Literature, we were given a list of selected works from Cambridge that we had to study: these many poems, these many short stories, these many plays… And sure, they were interesting, but with IB English you are given more freedom in the works that you want to learn. Not just only analysing poems and plays, but even lyrics or tweets.

Words of advice for aspiring future English A students? Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and challenge standard, ordinary perspectives. Don’t be afraid to see things differently from others. Just because everybody else sees something in a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to. Explore a diverse range of texts, do extra reading on the things you are passionate about. Through reading, you learn something new every single day. No matter what career path you decide to take in the future, at some point you will be required to clearly express your ideas and support them in writing. This is a crucial skill to have, and being able to do it well will only serve as advantageous for you. I cannot wait to see what else the IB English A course has in store for me, and I hope my words will inspire some young minds. Good luck!

Michelle Nong

Year 12 Student at AIS

To find out more about studying English A: Language and Literature at AIS, or about the IB Diploma in general, check out AIS’s complete comprehensive curriculum guide, which includes IB Programme FAQs, 10 reasons why you should study IB, and an IB Diploma Handbook: https://www.aisvietnam.com/curriculum/ib-diploma/