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December 07, 2019, 07:29:42 am

Author Topic: What English subject should I do?  (Read 355 times)  Share 

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What English subject should I do?
« on: March 29, 2019, 08:51:55 pm »
Hello well-read people of AtarNotes!
I am currently a Year 10 student, and I am going to a mid-school-life crisis about what English I should do next year for VCE. I was initially thinking of doing both English and English Language, but now Literature seems to be calling to me as well. I have four subjects that I definitely want to do already, (two of which I will be doing as a 3/4 next year) that are not English based ones, and I have no idea which English based ones to do. I have looked at some websites and watched a few videos on the difference between the subjects, but I still cannot reach a conclusion. If you did or are doing either of the three Englishes, please respond with the following information:
1.   What subject are you doing (English, English Language, Literature), and what unit pair are you up to (1/2, 3/4)?
2.   What are you enjoying about it?
3.   Is there anything you don't enjoy about it?
4.   (if applicable) what texts do you have to read?
5.   Do you regret choosing it?
6.   What are the main things you have to do (e.g. write essays, analyse passages etc)?
7.   Do you have any tips for that subject?
Thank you all in advance  :)

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Re: What English subject should I do?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 05:02:00 pm »
Hi Heather! I resonate with your “mid-school-life crisis”; it was only a year and a little bit ago that I too was in this situation. After deciding that French was not for me, I switched it out for Literature, beginning the subject during semester 2 of year 11. I studied both English and English Literature for year 12. Both were equally intensive and interesting, however Literature did require more work - 3 to 5 hours more study per week than English - to receive similar marks. In saying that, the appeal for Literature, I believe, lies in the opportunity it affords for you to be creative with your writing; it invites you to ‘have fun’ with sentence, paragraph, and essay structure, to develop complex and left-of-centre interpretations of the text, and to approach the text with more curiosity than in English. Yet the structure of English meant that I had a better idea and indication of my performance, as the standard of essay and work I needed to produce was clearer.
In response to question 4, I studied Heart of Darkness, Ariel and Only the Animals for Literature, and Year of Wonders/The Crucible and Frankenstein for English. The subjects did complement one another, and my improvement in Literature was reflected in my work for English. However, during the exam time and now reflecting on my results, I found it harder to achieve a high score in Literature than in English. So, given that my school wasn’t that great at Lit, but were strong in English, I do wish that I had switched Lit out for another subject (but it was much better than French!!).
Irregardless of the English that you pick, my biggest tip for you is to be widely read; hit up Google Scholar and read some literary articles regarding your text, read precious essays about them, read reviews! The more thorough your understanding is of how other people have responded to the text, the stronger your response becomes.
Best of luck!


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Re: What English subject should I do?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 05:35:26 pm »
Hi heather727!
How are you going?
I'll answer your questions one by one.

1.   What subject are you doing (English, English Language, Literature), and what unit pair are you up to (1/2, 3/4)?
I am doing Literature 1/2

2.   What are you enjoying about it?
Lots of stuff I am enjoying! It's one of my favourite classes! I am really enjoying analysing the different types of texts we are studying in class, especially exploring the different themes and theories. I am also enjoying annotating the text and developing my own interpretation of it. Writing essays is also fun as you come up with new ideas that you hadn't thought of before. Also, the amazing class discussions we have are also fun as you get to listen to other people's interpretations which, in my experience, are pretty different to your own.

3.   Is there anything you don't enjoy about it?
Not really.

4.   (if applicable) what texts do you have to read?
'Much Ado about Nothing' which is a Shakespeare play and also the 'Hamilton Case'.

5.   Do you regret choosing it?

6.   What are the main things you have to do (e.g. write essays, analyse passages etc)?
Analyse a wide range of different texts. For example plays, novels, movies, poems. I guess the main thing is analysing the different passages and developing your own interpretation of it. So far we had to collate our analyses by making a video essay and we have an in-class essay next term.

7.   Do you have any tips for that subject?
- As sofiefarinacci mentioned above, read widely! Read different types of texts. It would also be good to read any top-notch essays you can get your hands on.
- Practice writing essays. This is really important as this is the main thing you do in literature. You should write continuously and make sure that you are getting feedback from your teacher so that they can pinpoint your mistakes. Then you can use that insight to fix your mistakes and thus gradually get better.
- Read the texts you are studying more than once. The first time, just read it casually to get a grip on the story. The second time and after, make sure you are annotating key themes, plot/character development, literary devices, important quotes etc. This will also help you if you are writing an essay for that text.
- Contribute to class discussions. This will allow you to develop your ideas and also articulate them when you are explaining them to the class. This may also improve your expression in essays.

I hope this helped!

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Re: What English subject should I do?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 05:46:19 pm »
1. I studied literature units 1&2 and English language units 3&4
2. I enjoyed how applicable eng lang is to everything and that I could easily tell I was learning.  I didn't enjoy literature
3. Doing eng lang by distance ed without units 1&2 was hard.  I found it difficult to get feedback which was demoralising and made it hard to improve.  In literature I didn't feel like I was learning and also felt there was a *right* scripted answer - which I didn't like.
4. None for eng lang. For literature we examined the crucible (script for play), frankenstein (book) & persepolis (film).
5. No
6. Check the study design on the VCAA website :)
For eng lang: analytical commentaries,  essays, short answer,  annotated collection of language examples
For lit: essays, creative pieces,  1 speech
7. Literature varies A LOT between schools - see if you can get the perspective of people at your school. 
For english language I learnt the metalanguage before the year started which really helped. 
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