IB Language and Literature

Literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations and experiences of the world. The study of literature, therefore, can be seen as a study of all the complex pursuits, anxieties, joys and fears that human beings are exposed to in the daily business of living.

ibHdr-g1English A Programme

The English A programme is primarily a pre-university course in literature. It is aimed at students who intend to pursue literature, or related studies, at university, as well as students whose formal study of literature will not continue beyond this level.

Literature is concerned with our conceptions, interpretations and experiences of the world. The study of literature, therefore, can be seen as a study of all the complex pursuits, anxieties, joys and fears that human beings are exposed to in the daily business of living. It enables an exploration of one of the more enduring fields of human creativity and artistic ingenuity, and provides opportunities for encouraging independent and critical thinking. It also promotes a healthy respect for the imagination and a perceptive approach to the understanding and interpretation of literary works. The discussion of literature is itself an art which requires the clear expression of ideas both orally and in writing.

The English A programme encourages students to see literary works as products of art and their authors as craftsmen whose methods of production can be analysed in a variety of ways and on a number of levels. This is achieved through the emphasis placed on exploring the means used by different authors to convey their subjects in the works studied. It is further reinforced by the comparative framework emphasized for the study of these works in all parts of the programme.

The English A programme encourages students to see literary works as products of art and their authors as craftsmen whose methods of production can be analysed in a variety of ways and on a number of levels.

Language A: language and literature (SL/HL)

The Language A: language and literature course introduces the critical study and interpretation of written and spoken texts from a wide range of literary and non-literary genres. The formal analysis of texts is supplemented by awareness that meaning is not fixed but can change in respect to contexts of production and consumption.

The course is organized into four parts, each focussed on the study of either literary or non-literary texts. Together, the four parts of the course allow the student to explore the language A in question through its cultural development and use, its media forms and functions, and its literature. Students develop skills of literary and textual analysis, and also the ability to present their ideas effectively. A key aim is the development of critical literacy.

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • Available at higher and standard levels
  • Higher level study requires a minimum of 240 class hours, while standard level study requires a minimum of 150 class hours
  • Students study 6 works at higher level and 4 works at standard level from a representative selection of genres, periods and places
  • Students develop the techniques needed for the critical analysis of communication, becoming alert to interactions between text, audience and purpose
  • An understanding of how language, culture and context determine the construction of meaning is developed through the exploration of texts, some of which are studied in translation, from a variety of cultures, periods and genres
  • Students are assessed through a combination of formal examinations, written coursework and oral activities
  • The formal examination comprises two essay papers, one requiring the analysis of unseen literary and non-literary texts, and the other a response to a question based on the literary works studied
  • Students also produce written tasks in a variety of genres, and perform two oral activities presenting their analysis of works read

School Supported Self-taught Language A: Literature

The study of literature, including World Literature, is the focus of the course. Texts are from a list prescribed by the IBO, and will cover a number of historical periods and genres.

Students who take their mother tongue or first language (which is not English) as a School Supported Self-taught Language A: Literature, they are eligible to have the Bilingual Diploma. The IB has a policy of mother-tongue entitlement that promotes respect for the literary heritage of a student’s home language and provides an opportunity for students to continue to develop oral and written skills in their mother tongue while studying in a different language of instruction. There are over 45 languages that are automatically available, plus special request languages.

In the past few years students have studied the following as their mother tongue / first language: Japanese, Korean, Thai, German and Chinese.