First Year Exam Paper Breakdown: Philosophy POE Question

I love deliveries from new spec text books to stationery. Today’s delivery: philosophy exam papers from the new spec exams (first years). Here’s a break down of a student’s answer for the question on Problem of Evil.

Assess the claim that natural evil has a purpose (30)

OCR marks given for student’s answer:
A01 15/15
A02 14/15

From reading the student’s answer there are a few noticeable points:

The structure is very clear and simple with an introduction, four main paragraphs and a conclusion.

intro aug 1.jpg

There are three simple things that make this introduction work. The first is the student uses the word ‘natural’ 3 times and ‘purpose’ twice. This shows that they are directly linking their essay to the question immediately (it is also a good way for the student to really clarify what the question is asking of them). Secondly the quote grabs the reader’s attention immediately. It is a short yet relevant quote from Augustine which the student then links into the question with a ‘this means’. Thirdly the student introduces the other key names involved Hick and Irenaeus. This makes it clear to the reader that they will be involved in this answer.

The four main paragraphs have a very clear theme and structure

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Gender and Society: A2 DCT

I am really looking forward to this unit. I am expecting fireworks! I have planned in  a lot of group and class discussions because this is such a topical debate and one that is very current to our students. So I am going to use this opportunity to delve into what they really know and think about issues such as gender neutral identity and equality of men and women.

I will be setting out my discussions clearly with ground rules:

  1. No talking over each other
  2. Be respectful and polite to opposing views
  3. Explain and justify your reasons for your view
  4. Back up with examples
  5. Do not talk when someone else is

I am also giving them a work sheet so that any quiet students, who do not wish to speak during discussions, can involve themselves by writing down their views and the views of other students. I am going to play the role of board scribe (to document relevant points) and facilitator. See discussion tips for more ideas.

Preview of Lesson Plan:

A3 Birds and the Bees worksheet. Students must define the words from their own understanding.

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Religious Pluralism and Society: A2 DCT

Preview of Lesson Plans:

A4 sheet of paper – fold into three columns. Students to use notes from previous topic to create a summary sheet of main ideas.

Discuss answers  from quiz (see if it raises any good discussion about pluralism, multi faith society, inter faith dialogue ect such as ‘why do you think your parents sent you to a faith school? Are they Christian, go to Church?)

Work through PP slides

Essay Practice:

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Goodbye GCSE…Hello A Level!

First impressions are very important at the start of a new year. You always want to set the right tone for your classes – one that is both enjoyable and serious. It is about setting the bar with high expectations, introducing early challenge whilst making sure that students don’t drown with A level despair!

In the lead up to the start of term (and often during the first week back) you hear a lot of “What are your ice breakers?” I don’t have any for three main reasons: Firstly I believe that students soon get to know each other through the activities you do in lessons. I use two main activities to introduce Philosophy – the first is a movie maker “What is Philosophy” which instigates initial discussion (YouTube) and the second activity is a picture of Socrates Death with “What is Happening” (download the PowerPoint and worksheet free from: TES Resources).

socratesBoth of these activities work perfectly as ice breakers because the students cannot get the wrong answer, it is directly linked to the learning and enables students to contribute freely if they are comfortable (giving off those initial impressions).

The second reason I don’t use ice breakers (by ‘ice breaker’ I mean those ‘talk to the person next to you, now tell the class what you have learnt’ sort of activities) is because we have so little time. I am half way through Plato at this point because we do not have the luxury to introduce students back slowly.

The third reason is because the course is tough, the content is heavy and the ideas are difficult to understand. I don’t want to lull my students into a false sense of security then surprise them with what the course really is like. Start as you mean to go on!

So here are my top tips for starting the year:

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Religious Pluralism and Theology: A2 DCT

Preview of Lesson Plans:

Research: Give each pair ten minutes to research a major religion (Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism or Islam) and write down 10 key features about the faith including prominent people (who they are, why they are prominent?) and texts.

Put all students who have researched a specific religion into one group and together they have to decide on ten features for their whole group.

On board draw four bubbles and label them. Hand out to every student an A3 piece of paper.

In groups students go to the board and write their top ten around their bubble. (Teacher to watch for any incorrect pieces of information.)

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Conscience: A2 Ethics

Please find first Ethics PowerPoint for A2. Lesson plans to follow 🙂

To view all available teacher and student materials click on: R.S Resources. This digital goods store will allow you to quickly and safely download all materials (for a small charge). These include PowerPoints, lesson packs (with all worksheets and activities) key knowledge test packs (with answers), essay writing skills pack, revision packs and much more.