Achieving A*A in AQA English Language and Literature: Paper 2: Dramatic Conflict and A Streetcar Named Desire


Thursday 18 March 2021
Thursday 17 June 2021

TIME: 4.00pm-5.30pm 

CODE: 8433

ABOUT THIS COURSE: Achieving A*A in AQA English Language and Literature: Paper 2: Dramatic Conflict and A Streetcar Named Desire

This course will guide the most ambitious and motivated in future A-Level Language and Literature examinations Led by respected subject specialist Gwen Nelson, the course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for teaching the combined AQA Language and Literature A-Level which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills. Using feedback from the first two years of examinations with the new specifications, the course will explore what is expected of high ability students and outline ways to build your teaching practice around this.


  • Confirmation that much of what you already do and know is right
  • Adapt what you already know and do to suit the combined Language and Literature (Stylistic) approach to teaching the course
  • Improving subject knowledge so the spirit of the specification is upheld in your teaching
  • Focused resources and strategies to make sure students answer the question they’ve been given, not the one that they wish that they had.
  • Both experienced and those who are fairly new to the course.
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • You will receive a specially prepared file electronically containing detailed notes, and teaching materials and resources which will be of immediate practical benefit in the classroom.
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

Session 1: Session title Language Levels – the what, why and how

  • What do AQA and examiners mean by ‘Language Levels’?
  • Why are they important – to you and the students?
  • How do you teach them explicitly? How do you make it stick?
  • What do examiners look for when they say the want ‘a range of language levels applied appropriately’ by pupils? How can this be done?

Paper 2: Dramatic Conflict and A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Why A Streetcar Named Desire as a set text? What Is meant by ‘dramatic conflict’?
  • Spoken Language conventions – what are the nuts and bolts of spoken language, and how does that work with a constructed text? What is the best way to introduce this into the A-Level LangLit course (some reference to the Paris Anthology)
  • The play’s the thing’: Pragmatics, discourse and dramatic discourse- useful spoken language theories and concepts, what are they and how to apply them to the text.
  • Extract analysis – applying the LangLit knowledge to typical exam extracts.

The exams – Getting the best out of the exam question

  • Tying things together: making the question focus work for you and your students, using simple, but easily replicable methods,
  • Dissect the exam question – exposing the mechanics of the questions to use it, how this can enable success at higher grades, avoiding pitfalls identified by examiners.
  • Some tools for planning answers – e.g. graphic organiser so that both the extract and ‘other parts of the play’ are planned for in the student’s response.

Exam Tactics for Reaching the Highest Grades

  • What are the biggest challenges for the A/A* learner?
  • What do the examiners want to see/not see?
  • Varying commentary practice to stretch the most able.
  • Revision ideas to help students produce high grade essays.

Gwen Nelson

Gwen Nelson has been teaching A-Level Language and Literature for well over a decade, and has nearly two decades experience teaching in both secondary schools and the FE sector.  She has taught A-Level Language and Literature, A-Level Literature, and A-Level Media Studies, and was the course leader for each. She has a strong track record of excellent results, along with being published in several education books: Don’t Change the Lightbulbs, Dual Coding with Teachers, and soon a chapter in Teaching English Language and Literature 16-19 published by Routledge. A frequent attendee at Research Ed events since it’s inception, Gwen’s approach to teaching is knowledge rich, and practical.