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Communication & Culture AS/A2 Level at Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School

Course description

The course explores the major theories and perspectives that seek to explain cultural communication, and develops the skills required for effective personal communication in a range of situations. Anticipate work on intra- and interpersonal, group and mass media communication, linked to a range of practical projects and tasks through which you will increase your analytical and reflective skills, and your communication confidence and competence: presentations, interviews, video work, web-based material, field work and market research.
 
We’ll be asking questions about culture and how culture is communicated and shaped: What is “culture”? What competing positions have been taken in defining it? Which views prevail and why? How are we“brought into” the dominant cultural values of our society? How are we influenced by the communication all around us? TV? Advertising? The print media? Emerging communication technologies? What is it like to live in and be a part of a culture?

Course content

The course is experienced as a series of units that cover the content areas of the specification, whilst being rooted in the practical application of communication theories and concepts. A key principle is the notion of learning through doing, followed by reflection, with students actively engaged in group work, problem-solving and decision-making. So - for instance - understanding of marketing and consumer behaviour is developed through students having to design and
present a treatment for a new ad campaign. There’s no better way to learn about group dynamics and the psychology of group behaviour than to participate in, observe and reflect upon a group at work. Web-based research combined with traditional forms of enquiry furnishes us with the knowledge base and conceptual grasp that allow us to better “read” our culture.
 
Analytical skills are developed throughout the course, with students developing sophisticated approaches to reading a broad range of communication texts. Supporting these strands are the two coursework units, where students produce a portfolio of responses to and readings of texts, and reflect on what notions of culture mean to them via an artefact – “My Culture”.
In AS, students explore the theories that consider how our tastes are shaped by cultural influences, as well as investigating – for example – the roles we occupy as consumers in contemporary society.
 
The A2 coursework unit is even more challenging, with students investigating a series of themes offered by AQA, but following their own enthusiasms and lines of enquiry; outcomes are then submitted as web-based material, and as a written portfolio of linked pieces.

Entry requirements

The minimum requirement is GCSE English grade B. A passion for independent thinking, and a questioning mind at ease with asking tough questions about the world we live in would be distinct advantages!

Assessment

The Portfolio and Presentation (AS) and topic-focused investigations (A2) account for the coursework total of 50%. A written paper in each of the 2 years accounts for the further 50%.
 
The AS paper combines short answers and essays, and tests understanding and analytical skills. Expect the same, but with different and more conceptually demanding tasks at A2.

Future opportunities

The inter-disciplinary nature of the course prepares students for both Media and Cultural Studies type courses 18+, but also provides a springboard for courses and careers in journalism, advertising and marketing, and courses that value deeper understanding about the role of the media in our culture.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bishop Wordsworth's Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 08 June 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 - 2 Years

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