The new 9-1 GCSE specifications set great store by nineteenth-century writings, both in the literature and language papers of all specifications. This poses a particular problem to today’s GCSE candidates who are increasingly distanced from the socio-cultural norms of the nineteenth-century, not to mention the idiosyncrasies of Victorian modes of expression!
It is not hard to find plentiful examples of nineteenth-century fiction to use as extracts in the classroom, but what about non-fiction? AQA – the most popular specification among schools – has an unseen 19th century literary non-fiction extract as part of Paper 2 (the exam which constitutes 50% of the qualification as a whole).
To help teachers, Diseases and Modern Life and members of the English Faculty have developed a range of sample texts from primary sources. The extracts they offer are formatted (as far as possible) as they would appear in an AQA exam script: in 11pt Arial font, with a brief introduction to the source and a glossary of vocabulary students couldn’t be expected to know.
You can read more and access the sample texts (right pane) here: https://www.english.ox.ac.uk/diseases-modern-life-resources
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