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GCSE 'English for Scientists' Watch

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    (Original post by Converse Rocker)
    I think you have an interesting idea, but surely this is simply tailoring a GCSE so that students are better at it?
    That's what everybody here seems to think. It's not. I'ts just as rigorous, just more relevant. Anyway, we have plenty of tailored GCSE papers. The foundation papers are tailored to lower achievers so if we can accept that some people just don't have the ability even if they are smart in other areas why can't we do the same with English for scientists?
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    (Original post by S.R)
    That's what everybody here seems to think. It's not. I'ts just as rigorous, just more relevant.
    Surely the 'more relevant' part suggests it will be easier for scientists to grasp?

    The foundation papers are tailored to lower achievers so if we can accept that some people just don't have the ability even if they are smart in other areas why can't we do the same with English for scientists?
    True, but foundation at least applies to pretty much all subjects (I think?) I'm saying it could be seen as unfair to give scientists tailored papers and no one else. Getting the necessary grade in Maths GCSE can hold back hopeful teachers but they don't get a GCSE aimed at them, do you see what I mean? I hope that's a clear analogy, and I'm mostly playing devil's advocate with your idea.
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    (Original post by Converse Rocker)
    Surely the 'more relevant' part suggests it will be easier for scientists to grasp?



    True, but foundation at least applies to pretty much all subjects (I think?) I'm saying it could be seen as unfair to give scientists tailored papers and no one else. Getting the necessary grade in Maths GCSE can hold back hopeful teachers but they don't get a GCSE aimed at them, do you see what I mean? I hope that's a clear analogy, and I'm mostly playing devil's advocate with your idea.
    But with maths you do actually need most of those skills in life. Fractions, arithmetic, even angles and basic algebra. There is so much in English that is so irrelevant. I have actually been thinking up an alternative idea. How about we get rid of all the wishy-washy artsy stuff in English like poetry and creative writing and focus on cold hard grammar, spelling, comprehension and reading and just have that as the one standard GCSE for everybody. All of the artsy stuff would then be moved onto English Literature which would be optional.
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    (Original post by S.R)
    But with maths you do actually need most of those skills in life...There is so much in English that is so irrelevant.
    Sorry mate, but I find this pretty ironic. I can't remember the last time I had to expand a bracket or find the area of a triangle since finishing Maths GCSE.

    GCSE's aren't all about life skills, a lot of it is just proving you can do things. Not saying that's a great thing, that's just how it is. Jumping through certain hoops to get a grade.

    I have actually been thinking up an alternative idea. How about we get rid of all the wishy-washy artsy stuff in English like poetry and creative writing and focus on cold hard grammar, spelling, comprehension and reading and just have that as the one standard GCSE for everybody.
    In the A level courses, poetry is part of English Literature, so it's a valid idea.

    All of the artsy stuff would then be moved onto English Literature which would be optional
    Don't you think a basic knowledge of different texts is useful though?
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    (Original post by Converse Rocker)
    Sorry mate, but I find this pretty ironic. I can't remember the last time I had to expand a bracket or find the area of a triangle since finishing Maths GCSE.

    GCSE's aren't all about life skills, a lot of it is just proving you can do things. Not saying that's a great thing, that's just how it is. Jumping through certain hoops to get a grade.



    In the A level courses, poetry is part of English Literature, so it's a valid idea.



    Don't you think a basic knowledge of different texts is useful though?
    Well i dunno then. i just hate GCSE English lol.
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    I don't agree with this. At GCSE I took triple science and attained A* AA. I also did eng lit and Lang and got A*A. At A Level I'm taking both chemistry and English lit but not maths. Yet although the subjects appear unrelated they are actually very much linked. Most of my chemistry class do maths and physics - appearing a logical choice but a level science requires extended answers, logic, analysis and these are skills that are further enhanced by doing English. I'm applying for a science based degree and having English has allowed me to demonstrate a) rounded academic student b) I can write up essays which are well structured and analytical. Any scientist I'm aware of needs these skills and this is something English develops whether it be Lit or Lang. Just because the content may not seem relevant there are core skills that you're being taught are important. I can see why your suggesting it, I know myself excellent scientists who have struggled with English but I do not believe it was because they were bad at it and it was irrelevant but because they THOUGHT it was irrelevant and therefore didn't put the same effort in as they perhaps did in science because they found it more natural. Universities such as an imperial ask for such requirements to ensure their students are able to write and analysis their work to a good level however many ask for a C. Splitting and specialising students so early on, whilst benefitting some would probably hinder a lot more as many students will change their mind of the career paths they want to take several times between choosing their gcse in yr 9 and applying to uni in yr13. Keeping it broad and open allows every student time to look at what they enjoy and are good at in order to make those decisions. It's also important to notice many students will be as equally good in English as they are in science and enjoy the differences between the subjects. I'm afraid they'll never be a policy that works for all students. Although your idea is good in principle in practise there would probably be a lot of problems. Sorry for the long post....


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    No, you get taught to write about science in science lessons, it's not english's responsibility. And just because you suck at the creative parts doesn't mean we should just remove them, they're important, the fact is your idea hands a huge advantage over to science students where they don't deserve one. Man up and get the grades.


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    (Original post by S.R)
    Well you don't need to as there is no maths in humanities. Look back to my example about how universities don't make science students take standard maths modules but rather maths modules tailored to science if you're having trouble understanding.
    I think the UK already forces students to specialise too early with 3-4 a level subjects, in most European countries you are required to study more subjects, in about the same level of detail to get into university. To specialise even earlier on would be awful.

    I feel that because I didn't want to do any sciences at university that I have been deprived of a good formal science education by not being able to do an A level.

    At GCSE level it seems absurd to me. It's so so important to get an all round education, and unfortunately if it is not a requirement, many people will not take the time to educate themselves about what they see as irrelevant subjects.
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    (Original post by S.R)
    But with maths you do actually need most of those skills in life. Fractions, arithmetic, even angles and basic algebra. There is so much in English that is so irrelevant. I have actually been thinking up an alternative idea. How about we get rid of all the wishy-washy artsy stuff in English like poetry and creative writing and focus on cold hard grammar, spelling, comprehension and reading and just have that as the one standard GCSE for everybody. All of the artsy stuff would then be moved onto English Literature which would be optional.
    English Literature was optional at my school.

    Also, I don't think basic grammar etc would be enough to constitute a GCSE. Does sound a bit like the old O Level though, I was reading through an O Level paper which included most of what you mention. E.g. explaining idioms, manipulating words, comprhension of specific words, spelling etc.
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    (Original post by Jakaroo94)
    English Literature was optional at my school.

    Also, I don't think basic grammar etc would be enough to constitute a GCSE. Does sound a bit like the old O Level though, I was reading through an O Level paper which included most of what you mention. E.g. explaining idioms, manipulating words, comprhension of specific words, spelling etc.
    Really? Most schools I know of near me everyone takes both English language and literature. And to be fair when it comes to comprehension etc that was what is tested in gcse English language and in the old SAT papers that the government stopped for yr9.


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    (Original post by S.R)
    But with maths you do actually need most of those skills in life. Fractions, arithmetic, even angles and basic algebra. There is so much in English that is so irrelevant. I have actually been thinking up an alternative idea. How about we get rid of all the wishy-washy artsy stuff in English like poetry and creative writing and focus on cold hard grammar, spelling, comprehension and reading and just have that as the one standard GCSE for everybody. All of the artsy stuff would then be moved onto English Literature which would be optional.
    I can't see your point with maths being more relevant that English I'm afraid! Since dropping maths after gcse I have not once needed to use 90% of the stuff I had to learn for the exams in my normal day to day life. Sure I've used the basics we were taught well before gcse using money etc but I can say being able to find x or do Pythagoras has never found itself useful. English however we use in our day to day lives, how we change our dialect to deal with different levels of authority, letter writing understanding the "small print" in legal documents you couldn't do that without some form of training in English analysis and is vital to us getting on in the world. Gcse English is important!


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    (Original post by S.R)
    You don't do GCSEs when you are 13 you do them at 15. Furthermore you have to make choices at that stage anyway that affect what A levels you can do and hence what degree you can do so saying that it is too early to specialize is a poor argument..
    But you choose them at 13, that's the point.

    But at most schools, those choices still leave you open to many options. Peoples interests often change in those 5 years from choosing GCSEs to applying to uni. In the last year, I've gone from wanting to be a lawyer to a doctor to a physcologist to a teacher to a chemical engineer to politician to a lecturer back to a lawyer and having no idea. Most people don't even have that, and everything's up in the air when they choose their GCSEs. If I'd had to choose between science and humanities at 13, like many other people, I would've made a decision I'd regret.

    Also, what about the 'in-between' subjects like Geography that involve both science and humanities?

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    (Original post by winningjojo)
    I can't see your point with maths being more relevant that English I'm afraid! Since dropping maths after gcse I have not once needed to use 90% of the stuff I had to learn for the exams in my normal day to day life. Sure I've used the basics we were taught well before gcse using money etc but I can say being able to find x or do Pythagoras has never found itself useful. English however we use in our day to day lives, how we change our dialect to deal with different levels of authority, letter writing understanding the "small print" in legal documents you couldn't do that without some form of training in English analysis and is vital to us getting on in the world. Gcse English is important!


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    Poetry is useful to everyday life? Really?
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    (Original post by Sheldor)
    But you choose them at 13, that's the point.

    But at most schools, those choices still leave you open to many options. Peoples interests often change in those 5 years from choosing GCSEs to applying to uni. In the last year, I've gone from wanting to be a lawyer to a doctor to a physcologist to a teacher to a chemical engineer to politician to a lecturer back to a lawyer and having no idea. Most people don't even have that, and everything's up in the air when they choose their GCSEs. If I'd had to choose between science and humanities at 13, like many other people, I would've made a decision I'd regret.

    Also, what about the 'in-between' subjects like Geography that involve both science and humanities?

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    lolwhat? You choose GCSEs in year 10 i.e when you're 15.

    There is no science in GCSE Geography. its all discussing the impact of so and so disaster on a community.
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    (Original post by S.R)
    Poetry is useful to everyday life? Really?
    Pfft, as if Trigonometry is either?

    To be honest, neither wins in the usefulness argument.

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    (Original post by S.R)
    This is very true. Spelling and grammar take a backseat to the most prized "skill" of being able to guess what an author is trying to say. There is just no logic to it.


    I don't know what happens now but when I did my GCSEs English was split into language and literature and it was only the latter that really came under what you describe.





    I don't see the point in 'English for scientists'. Schools should just ensure that everyone can read and write properly. BECAUSE IT'S NOT ****ING HARD AND ANY DECENT PARENT WILL HAVE TAUGHT YOU TO DO BOTH BEFORE YOU EVEN ENTER SECONDARY SCHOOL PEOPLE ****ING SUCK.

    /rage at pleb parents
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    If you can understand and implement literary devices, writing a report is as straightforward as it gets whereas it's not true the other way around. There's been previous talk about clinical settings and other scientific positions where knowledge of literature isn't necessary and/or helpful. This is untrue. It's about expressing yourself to a bigger audience who may not be as learned in your field. As a Pharmacist, you can't expect your patient to understand pharmacology and receptor theory so you have to explain yourself differently. Same with being a chemist, biologist or physicist. Being able to portray a situation in more than one dimension is the objective and that's where your basic knowledge of English comes in.
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    (Original post by S.R)
    Poetry is useful to everyday life? Really?
    not referring to the poetry even as an a level english student i can say that it's dull, repetitive and mostly written in code. But the skills you learn through doing it are useful in everyday situations such as the examples I gave of understanding legal terms and conditions etc. If nothing else let it make you a more rounded individual. You never know when you might need the skills you have learnt through your gcse's in english.
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    (Original post by Sheldor)
    But you choose them at 13, that's the point.

    But at most schools, those choices still leave you open to many options. Peoples interests often change in those 5 years from choosing GCSEs to applying to uni. In the last year, I've gone from wanting to be a lawyer to a doctor to a physcologist to a teacher to a chemical engineer to politician to a lecturer back to a lawyer and having no idea. Most people don't even have that, and everything's up in the air when they choose their GCSEs. If I'd had to choose between science and humanities at 13, like many other people, I would've made a decision I'd regret.

    Also, what about the 'in-between' subjects like Geography that involve both science and humanities?

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    I completely agree with your argument and in fact am one of those in between science and humanity kinda people. I'm doing english and french a level along side chemistry and geography and i enjoy all of my subjects. Similarly I have completely changed my mind several times since choosing my gcse's, interior designer/lawyer/pastry chef/ teacher/ writer/ journalist/ scientist/ geneticist / geologist. and now I intend to do a degree in geography. I'm lucky that I found what I want to go on to study in September and the beauty of GCSE's meant Ii had a huge variety of subjects that meant I could pick any combination of A Levels and that has allowed me to find what i want to do. Specalising so young would suit about 1% of the people I know and that's generally because they have either always wanted to be doctors or always wanted to be vets or always wanted to be lawyers and for the most of us this just isn't the case.

    On a separate note considering GCSE's are now getting scrapped the relevance of this discussion is rather minimal.
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    (Original post by Dmon1Unlimited)

    does that not make it worse given the existence of auto correct? :holmes:
    Not something I have on my phone!
 
 
 
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