AQA GCSE Exam Task

In a recent examination, the following task appeared and threw a lot of people who took it, because they were not used to writing a speech. So I thought I would address that issue right here and show you what happened with my students.

I mentioned it when teaching and how the previous year, whichever year it was, had goofed up on this task. We then had a look at how to write such a thing as this. Take a look at the exam task that was set first. It was this, found in Section B of the second exam, I believe.

Education is not just about which school you go to, or what qualifications you gain; it is also about what you learn from your experiences outside of school.’ Write a speech for your school or college Leavers’ Day to explain what you think makes a good education.

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The students had just answered questions in Section A all about education from differing perspectives, from a picture of all things and text below it. If they did not know how to pull apart a picture, or a piece of art, a corner quarter at a time, then they were lost and would miss something out, like you do when you watch a TV show episode for the second time and think hang on, I missed that last time round. 

The question on their lips to me, was one of how do you do something like this? So I gave them some ideas and asked them to complete it for a homework, to see if they had understood my instruction. I also said, rather densely, that I would write one also and post it here, so here it is. See how many stylistic devices I am employing here.

Education is not just about which school you go to, or what qualifications you gain; it is also about what you learn from your experiences outside of school.’ Write a speech for your school or college Leavers’ Day to explain what you think makes a good education.

Good afternoon all.

Can some of you remember that time when we were in Mr. May’s class and we reenacted the Battle of Hastings?

Can you remember the fun that we had preparing for this and learning all the facts? Can you remember how nervous you were, for all those of you who were taking part?

It was epic!

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It was great and it showed me three things; that education should be fun, education should be challenging and that education should be enriching. All these things make for a good education, but what do I mean by that? What does it mean to us, who are leaving this school today?

Some of us are leaving in the hope that we might find suitable work. Some of us will get those jobs we want and never need to go on to get A Levels and Degrees. We will make our own way in life. We will make lots of money and gain lots of friends. We will hopefully become successful and have all the things that we want out of our life.

We will be a success!

But there will be some here today who are not so fortunate. There will be some for whom Universal Credit becomes a nightmare. There will be some here today, who see the future and cringe at the very thought of it. To those and to those who will go on from here, into further education, we say to our teachers, “Thank you for all you have done for us whilst we have been here.” We say thank you today because you have always tried to make our education something we can call fun. Whether it was Mr. Johnson and his crazy impersonations of students and the way they walked down the corridors, or whether it was Mr. Sanders, who brought Science to life in such ways, showing us flaming Magnesium, who always seemed to have a smile on his face when disecting rats and frogs, what has been important is their dedication to service. When I think of the day when Mr. Sanders cut open that cancerous lung, which made lots of us sick that day, I still shiver. Or even, good old Mr. Sykes, who somehow made Religious Education come alive because of his own faith, what we have seen whilst we have been here is a group of teachers who have tried to make it fun for us.

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But they have also tried to make it challenging as well. I remember those times in Miss Harper’s class, thinking through those times in English, when she asked us to think from another person’s point of view. I remember how we studied To Kill A Mockingbird and how he used those words of Atticus Finch about being able to walk around in someone else’s shoes for a day to fully understand them. That challenged me to think about how I behaved around others, both male and female.

Teachers do that, you see and good teachers do that even more, because they enrich our lives beyond measure. We might have times when we have thought to ourselves why am I even bothering to turn up today? But in the end, it is the likes of Miss Harper who get us to open the pages of our books and see life from a different point of view.

And now, we are here, on our last day. We are here, looking forward to what the future will bring for us. We have learnt a lot of things inside the walls of this school, but what we will learn out there will shape us and define us forever, so whatever it is, make it good, make it smart, make it perfect. Make everything you do in your life be worthy of the education that you had in this place. Make everything that you are be a signal pointing towards the quality of the teaching that has taken place here in the last five years.

And whatever it is that you do, take the words of the best teacher in this place; Mr. May himself, as your watchword for the days, weeks, months and years ahead. Can you remember what he kept saying to us all? His motto was always typed up on a card in his room.

“You are that which amounts to the effort you put into your life. So make it all good.”

Farewell. Thank you to all who serve here and may future students be as blessed as we are.

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Thank you.

 

 

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