Move on over…

Posted January 12, 2011 by warrick
Categories: news

The EnglishBook is no longer published by Cengage and has morphed into the custom published English Manual with a number of authors, including some material from David Baxter and myself, including the entire contents of the ISSUE BOOK.

However, THE ISSUE BOOK remains available in its own right, and we’ve taken the conversation about all things related to the Using Language to Persuade section of the VCE English course to the new ISSUE BOOK BLOG.

Come on over, and join in!

Good Luck Tomorrow!

Posted October 27, 2010 by warrick
Categories: news

I’ve seen the usual scurrying in and out of school today as students bring in that last essay for checking or come in with that very last question that they’re just dying to have nailed down.

That’s enough now. Walk the dog, ride your bike, or turn on your favourite playlist. You’re ready.

And good luck tomorrow!

What the examiner’s said last year (about Section C)

Posted April 7, 2010 by warrick
Categories: aos3, course_information, the exam

Tags: ,

The post I just made reminds me I kept a copy of what the examiner’s said about LAST year’s language analysis section of the exam. It’s worth repeating if only because the 2008 Examiners’ Report was the first official report from the examiners on the new course. ┬áThe following extract refers to Section C of the exam, the language analysis.

Section C – Analysis of language use (Using language to persuade 2008)

‘It is evident from assessors’ comments and examination responses that the scenario presented in 2008 was both engaging and interesting to students. The piece for analysis was a newsletter written by the coach of a local sports team that promoted good sportsmanship and challenged aggressive parents to consider the impact they were having on their children, the club and the sport. It is interesting to note that the coach uses the very first ‘Club News’ (Volume 1, Issue 1) to voice his dismay at the behaviour of some parents in the previous season.

The material was to be seen as a single piece of writing, but offered students variety in language use within the text. It opened with a personal story from a team member and also contained a poignant cartoon that supported the key ideas the coach was attempting to convince his audience – primarily the parents and supporters of the local sports team. Most students understood this and it was pleasing to see that many were able to offer the appropriate context of their analysis. Very few students failed to understand that the coach had purposely chosen the cartoon to support his contention; however, those who did, discussed the cartoon as a separate entity and ignored its place in the newsletter.

The breadth of such material enabled nearly all students to respond to the task, which demonstrates the continued development of this skill throughout Victoria. Most students demonstrated a solid understanding of the task and even the less able students found some words that were used to have an impact on the reader. Simplistic listings of persuasive techniques were very rarely seen in responses. The best responses showed excellent analysis that was quite sophisticated and showed an understanding of the links in language and the construction of argument.

Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement and students should be encouraged to be more specific in their analyses. Too many students offered a general discussion rather than a specific impact on the audience. Comments such as ‘grab the readers’ attention’ or ‘to get the reader interested’ are far too generalised and vague. Likewise, students need to go beyond statements such as ‘makes the reader feel sad’ and explore the implication of this intention in relation to the writer’s purpose. Teachers should spend time throughout the year drawing attention to the impact of specific words and phrases intentionally selected by the writer to support the purpose of the piece.

The best responses deliberately set out to explore and analyse the way language was used in attempting to persuade parents. These students were often able to offer insights into the construction of the newsletter and the way in which the readers’ ideas were being directed. Students showed both the capacity to focus on the finer detail as well as the ability to focus more broadly and understand where the reader is intellectually taken.

The cartoon was very popular and virtually all students were able to discuss the ideas with some understanding. While detail is important – and many students studied the cartoon very carefully – it can also be a problem for students who simply describe the cartoon and do not analyse its meaning and purpose. On the other hand, insightful comments and wonderful observations were made regarding the various facial expressions of the audience and how this fit in with the message of the newsletter.

The analysis of visual material throughout the year seemed to clarify the task for students when analysing the written word. This may be an effective means of teaching at younger year levels rather than focusing on language technique identification, which unfortunately still appeared on occasion.’

2009 Examiner’s Report

Posted April 7, 2010 by warrick
Categories: the exam


The Examiner’s Report from the 2009 exams is now online. Required reading for all English students and teachers. The report is a PDF available from VCAA HERE

The exam …

Posted January 20, 2010 by warrick
Categories: course_information, the exam

Tags: ,

One for you diary: the exam dates have now been released. The English exam will be on the morning of Thursday28th October. That’s only 280 days away!

What kind of English student are you going to be this year?

Posted January 7, 2010 by warrick
Categories: study_tips

Tags: ,

Just before the end of last year’s school year I gave a talk to the Year 11 English students about the Year 12 course and included a bit on ‘what kind of student are you going to be in Year 12?’ I focused a bit on getting involved in discussions in class, in choosing who you sit with, and where you sit in the classroom,but also on the kinds of technologies they might choose to begin organised and stay organised.

This Lifehacker article Use Better Tools to be a Better Student, takes up that thread.My personal favourite: OneNote, gets a mention. Now’s the time to begin.

Context texts for 2010

Posted December 18, 2009 by warrick
Categories: aos2

Tags: , , ,

Getting organised, looking ahead. Here’s the official list of texts for the 2010 Context study, from the VCAA Bulletin: