Tips and Tricks for IB English Literature and Performance (Written Coursework)

  • English Literature and Performance is a subject available in IB under both Group 1: studies in language and literature, and Group 6: the arts. It aims to explore the relation between literature and theatre. As a student of literature and performance, you are required to study a minimum of five texts. This blog focuses on the play you would be studying and the required assessment. WRITTEN COURSEWORK: MAJOR PLAYRIGHTS IN PERFORMANCE Written coursework is understanding a piece of written script and its performance on stage. You have to write an essay incorporating critical analysis of an extract or a series of linked extracts from a play by a playwright as well as reflection on its realization in performance. Your teacher would have chosen which play you would be studying. This coursework gives you the freedom to choose what your essay will focus on and therefore has endless possibilities. It is written during the course but is externally assessed and therefore it is one of the assessments that you can score incredibly well in to increase your overall score. The written assignment must be 1,500–2,000 words in length and comprises 20% of your final grade. Your teacher is allowed to guide you and give you feedback but is not allowed to edit it for you. Make use of resources like your teacher and your IB English online tutor to gain a detailed insight and analysis on the play you are studying before writing your coursework. The coursework is written on the basis of a performance you have done previously. Within your class, over a period of time, you would analyze the text and perform it. This performance will give you an insight into dramatizing the scenes creatively and effectively. This process will introduce you to how your choice of character behaves in different scenes and help you choose the focus of your essay. Most importantly, you should become more aware of how you are acting and what measures you take to make that character more believable for the audience. Your IB tutor can tell you the details but here is an example: For instance, you are studying Othello by William Shakespeare. Shakespeare uses a plethora of literary devices in every dialogue he writes including the astonishing use of Iambic pentameter. The characters are well developed and very unique. You may find Othello an interesting character and choose to explore him. A possible question/focus of your essay could be – ‘Critical Analysis Act 1 Scene 3 And Act 3 Scene 3 Of Othello By William Shakespeare, Focusing On Othello’s Change In Character From A Place of Confidence To Vulnerability In The Two Scenes And Its Transformation Onto Stage.’ You would pick literary devices, punctuations, structure etc. that would help you show how Othello’s confidence turned into vulnerability in the two scenes. The analysis can be written in the PEEL method which is explained in ‘TIPS AND TRICKS FOR IB English Literature and Performance (Paper 2)’ in our blog section. You would also dramatize the two scenes and write it as if you did it yourself. Details are important like - “to show confidence, I kept one hand on the handle of sword on my waist, stood tall and spoke confidently” or “I stressed on the syllable to highlight the hyperbole used”. These are details you would not write otherwise in the time constraints of Paper 1. Every choice of dramatization should be justified yet practical. Here is an example sentence of appreciation of a literary device and the consequent dramatization from my coursework:

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