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Crystal Ball - Harry
Posted on Saturday 26 April 2008 at 10:06 pm

HP FanFic on English A-Levels?

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I stumbled across this article earlier today regarding the inclusion of the first Harry Potter book on the English Literature A-levels. The article focuses on the debate as to whether this amounts to a dumbing down of British education, but this is the bit that really caught my eye.

They will have to write a 1,200 to 1,500-word piece of coursework comparing the "approaches" of J.K. Rowling and the other writer.

Examiners will mark students on how they relate story lines and the activities of Harry Potter and his friends to the context of the times.

And students will have to show an understanding of J.K. Rowling's use of language, described recently as gibberish by a High Court judge. They will also have to write their own 500 to 800-word story inspired by the book.

Is it just me or does that sound like writing Harry Potter fanfic is now officially part of the British school system?


Wild Magelet
wildmagelet at 3:42 am on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
No, that definitely sounds like graded fanfiction to me! I'd say 'lucky', but I always hated the creative writing component in year 11 external exams. Being commanded to produce a story on the spot while the clock ticks is less than fun.

Still, you could legitimately say that while you're writing fanfic, it's actually homework and exam study.
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 3:52 am on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Seriously?

I'm also shocked that there's a creative writing component on their exams! It was bad enough writing literary analysis essays for the AP tests.
lady_bracknell at 11:21 am on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, here, creative writing is a massive part of studying English at school. Starting when we were 11, at my school we adapted novels into plays and vice versa, and there's timed creative writing from prompts at GCSE.
lady_bracknell at 11:20 am on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
At my school, we frequently wrote stuff inspired by what we were studying - when we were 11 we started turning novels into plays etc, and for GCSE, we wrote our own adaptations of Shakespeare transposing the setting to either a historical or modern one, so it's not really a big new thing. Here we study English Language and English Literature seperately, and I suspect this is part of the Language compontent, where you get marked on things like how you can mimic the tone and register of someone else's language to prove you've understood them.
bratty_jedi at 1:51 pm on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
Interesting. We did creative writing stuff at my school, but only at younger levels. I'm not sure there was any of it in high school and I know there wasn't any in the last two years. And all the creative writing stuff was "original." We were never told to write based off something else or to try to mimic someone's style. I did a sequel to a movie once in middle school and had to get special permission. The teacher did this thing where she read everyone's stories out loud and everyone else was supposed to write you helpful comments for revising. I think every comment I got that time said only that I'd copied the movie.
What's Taters, Precious?
mrstater at 3:30 pm on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
I always thought if I ever taught English I'd have assignments like that, because I always felt later, as an English major, that my fanfiction background had helped with literary analysis, but I had no idea some countries actually do this. I think it's brilliant and US schools should take note!
train_lindz at 11:25 am on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
I can remember several times where we had to write alternate endings of books we were studying as overnight homework assignments so that our spelling, grammar and language could be checked while focusing on literature at the same time.

I've got an AU 1984, Prayer for Owen Meany, and Brave New World kicking around somewhere from 10 years ago :)
bratty_jedi at 1:52 pm on 27 April 2008 (UTC) (Link)
That's cool. We never had anything like that. (See my comment to Lady B above for more details).

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