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An A Level Guide to Context

Steve Campsall | Wednesday March 27, 2019

Categories: Hot Entries, Writing, Contextual Research


How is this useful for students?

This A Level Guide to context will  help your own students to a deeper and useful understanding of the key idea of context. Many students struggle with this concept which, along with purpose, audience and genre must surely rank as one of the four key aspects of all texts; indeed, it could be argued that, along with the individual writer or speaker of a text, context is the main aspect of central concern as, from these two, all others flow. With that in mind, this guide also touches on purpose, audience and genre although you’ll find other guides to these here on Edusites English.

The purpose of the guide is to help students put context to good use in their essays. The guide has a focus onEnglish Language A level, where context is central to all exam board’s mark schemes, but it has been designed to be useful to students of English Literature, as well as the combined English Language and Literature courses – and across all examination boards.
A common response to context by many students is to ‘bolt on’ a paragraph of historical data that attempts vaguely togeneralise about some presumed possible effects of context on the writer. Such ‘bolting on’ of contextual information is commented on regularly by examiners as a reason for lost marks. It adds little to the essay and wasted valuable thinking and writing time.
A specific focus on context is an aspect of some board’s assessment objectives, but because context is a part of the very essence of every text, a careful and considered analysis of…

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