ENGLISH HOW TO SURVIVE AND EVEN ENJOY THE EXAM
Things to remember • Three hours seems a long time—but it isn’t • Keep to the hour for each section—use a few minutes to plan—and don’t forget to check over the work • Do the tasks in what ever order suits you –just remember to fill in the exam booklet correctly • Every section is marked by a minimum of 2 markers—so at least 6 people see your work—it is very fair!!!
Advice to examiners • Each section has you are looking for a different skill • Part 1 TEXT—students who “own the text”—ie people who show they have studied the text in detail and are able to discuss it in detail • Part 2—CONTEXT—students who show a sophisticated understanding of the concepts in the context, who answer the prompt and can create a piece of writing that shows their understanding. • Part 3—LANGAUGE ANALYSIS—students who show how well they can process unseen information and analyse the way language works on an audience
Key assessment expectations • Knowledge of the text – how do you show this? • Use of evidence – includes content and technique. • Coherence and organisation – does my essay have a clear contention; have I used TEEL in my paragraphs? • Maturity, sophistication and insight
Students must indicate the text and topic on which their response is based.
Assessors’ comments • Encouraged to feel confident in your own reading and interpretation of the text • No expected response to a text • Assessors do not have to agree with your interpretation • Support your interpretations and claims with insightful evidence from the text
Assessors’ comments • Don’t ignore the essay question – respond to it and not to your own! • Analyse all aspects of it – what are the assumptions being made? Do you agree completely? Does your agreement need to be qualified? • “It is only love that changes Terry.” Discuss • Watch out for the little words!
Questions to focus on • Who are the key protagonists and do we witness any change? • What are the key relationships? What do they show about the characters? • What is distinctive about the structural devices used? • Themes – what is the writer/director trying to tell the audience?
Types of questions • Propositional • Justice will always overcome prejudice if one person is brave enough to speak up.” Discuss. • Quotations • “Sometimes the facts that are staring you in the face are wrong.” Does emotion interfere with the achievement of justice? • Direct • Why is it so hard for Terry to “tell the truth as he knows it”?
Assessors’ comments • Respond to all the elements in the question: Why is it so difficult for the jury in “Twelve Angry Men” to reach a verdict?
9-10 range • “demonstrates an understanding of the implications of the topic, using an appropriate strategy for dealing with it and exploring its complexity from the basis of the text.”(VCAA website)
Introduction • “Twelve Angry Men,” a play by Reginald Rose presents the view that prejudice, personal feelings and stubbornness restrict our decisions and the choices that are made. This is because the jury finds it difficult to reach a final verdict. Prejudice and personal feelings blind a juror from the truth and being stubborn causes the verdict to be prolonged.
Essay question • 7th juror: “Oh Brother! Anybody got a deck of cards?” The most dangerous characters are the least engaged. Do you agree?
How to write a good response • Step 1 • Read the question and underline the keywords • Step 2 • Write out alternative words and phrases for the keywords • Remember to think of all the various aspects of a keywords e.g. suffering • Step 3 • Ask yourself what the question means. • What assumptions are being made that you must address?
How to write a good response • Step 4 • Formulate your contention • Step 5 • Formulate your topic sentences (reasons for your contention) • Step 6 • List the examples you will use for each TS • Step 7 • Start writing
Sample intro • Fundamental to the operation and execution of the jury system, and by extension justice itself, is the concept of duty and commitment. Disengagement and apathy are arguably the most dangerous crimes against this system and are therefore the most damaging. This apathy is personified in juror 7 in Reginald Rose’s play “Twelve Angry Men.” His character is portrayed as the most detrimental to their process of deliberation. He has “had enough” of the case from the start, more concerned with being on time for his ball game than the outcome. This prevents the most fair and accurate outcome and also jeopardises the fairness of the system they are representing. Although juror 3’s aggression and juror 10’s bigotry are also highlighted as extremely dangerous, juror 7’s inability to care has the deepest moral implications.
Sample Body paragraph • Initially, the aggression from juror 3 is at the forefront of the negative traits in the jurors. He calls the defendant a “rotten kid” immediately and attempts to convince the men throughout the play that the young man will “be found guilty as sure as he’s born” regardless of their personal beliefs about his guilt. The audience resents his loud, opinionated views because, like the 8th juror, we recognise the personal bias and anger behind those views from the start, thus his irrelevant commentary. As juror 3 ironically states, “there are no secrets in a jury room” and eventually his motives emerge in the open. However, juror 3’s opposition and heated involvement throughout can be seen as active involvement in the deliberation. Despite his largely negative take on the whole case, at least he is making a concerted effort to decide the fate of a teenage boy. Juror 8 opens by suggesting they “owe [the boy] a few words” and it is for this very reason that the actions of juror 3 are dangerous but ultimately his own twisted version of reality – the nature of the jury system means that you are entitled to “unpopular opinions.” We can therefore accept s “wrong” opinion over no opinion at all. Furthermore, we eventually feel sympathy for juror 3 and the heartache his son had out him through – it would be an exaggeration to therefore describe his actions and opinions as dangerous.
Themes in “OTW” • Power & corruption • Forms of power • Power as knowledge • Redemption • Morality • Individual conscience • Faith/Christian symbolism • Goodness • Working class life
Symbols and motifs - Fog • Joey’s jacket • Pigeons and hawks • Christian symbols • Hook
Themes in 12AM • Rule of law - Law and justice and the failure/success of the jury system • Civic duty and social responsibility • the individual and integrity - taking a stand • Internal conflict and decision-making • Courage is essential in taking a stand
Themes in 12AM • Obstacles to justice • Prejudice and racism • Apathy and disengagement • Ignorance • Lack of responsibility • Fallibility of memory • Fact vs fancy
Quick summary • The individual is crucial in the achievement of justice - all individuals must carry out their civic duty and social responsibility. • Prejudice, racism, stereotypes, fallibility of memory, fact vs fancy, all have the potential to undermine the justice system.
Symbols and motifs • Role of the judge • Locking of the door • Scarred table • Weather – heat, storm, subsiding of the storm • Broken fan
Don’t….. • Summarise the text • Leave out CAMELS/stage directions • Start a paragraph with an example • Start your conclusion with “In conclusion…” • Use the same example more than once • Leave out aspects of the question • Reuse key words repeatedly • Panic if the question looks really complex – just start breaking it down.
Have an opinion on…. • Writer/director’s purpose/message • How this message is conveyed to the audience • The key characters • Changes and relationships in relation to these characters
Structure of an essay • Intro • contention • Explanations of keywords • Alternative words to keywords • Scope • Body (3) • TEEL; topic sentence, explanation, evidence/examples and link
Structure of an essay • Use a variety of words to show you make good language choices • Demonstrating/indicating/a reflection of • The use of …. • Therefore demonstrating that…. • The notion of……is valued above….. • The director’s/playwright’s interest in the theme of .....is expressed through the experiences of (character’s name) • A recurring symbol in the text is ......which is associated with.....
Structure of an essay • The film/text endorses the values of..... • The director uses ……(techniques) to convey the idea/point that... • While (name of text) suggests that...., it also suggests that.... • Kazan/Miller challenges the stereotypes….. • Kazan/Miller deliberately constructs… • Kazan/Miller is alluding to… • Kazan/Miller interweaves…
The final word from us • Know your text inside out –live, breathe, eat it. • Evident in your ability to give evidence (content and technique) for all the claims you make • Know the structure for your essay • Are you able to analyse the essay question accurately? • Practice, practice, practice – full pieces and plans (contention, TS and examples for each TS)
ENCOUNTERING CONFLICT What to remember for the exam!
In the exam • No statement of intention-show what you are trying to achieve • Must make connection to the text more obvious as no SOI • Only one prompt for 4 very different texts • Could be a visual prompt
What that means? • Examiners are looking for • Students who are able to explain the BIG PICTURE behind the prompt and use the prompt effectively • Students who have thought about the context and are able to use examples to support/illustrate/illuminate their ideas • Students who can write clearly, coherently and fluently “Students must respond to the prompt. While a prompt can be seen as a springboard for ideas in relation to the context, the piece of writing must deal with the ideas the prompt itself offers. The most successful scripts showed insight into the implications of the prompt. Some students ignored the prompt completely.”
Assessment • Ideas...showing depth and breadth in your exploration of significant conceptual ideas and thinking and a conceptual link to your text(s) • Writing...demonstrating your ability to use language effectively and accurately • Prompt...a clear link to the prompt is shown in your work
Big Picture Ideas • Remember it is ENCOUNTERING CONFLICT—not just conflict so therefore it is about how people react and respond to conflict • So make revision notes with examples for • Causes of conflict and the types • What is needed to survive conflict?-(survive is not live) • Consequences of conflict – • For individuals/families/relationships • Communities • Societies/world
Often asked questions. • Can I use outside information? Is it checked? • Do creative responses earn more marks than expository? • Can I refer to a Part 1 text such as 12 Angry Men which would suit this context? • Do I need to use quotes? • Should I use more than one text as the basis of my piece? • Can I use ideas I have put in an essay before?
Examiners comments • About use of text • “While this is a clear instruction that the text drawn from must inform the writing in ways that must be clear to the reader and that the student has used it effectively “ as appropriate to the task”. • In the examination students who compose seemingly gratuitous creative pieces or simply label one of their characters ‘Abigail’, ‘Blanche’ or ‘Holden’ have not fully examined or explored the ideas of the text in relation to the prompt. They must ensure that the connection between the piece of writing and the nominated text is discernible and central in the ideas of their pieces. The most successful responses drew thoughtfully from the text; however, the least successful only used a scene or a feature of character in a superficial way or retold the plot of the text. (Assessment reports 2010, 2011 –VCAA website)
About examples • Students who used more than one source to illustrate their ideas often produced pieces with a strong sense of unity and purpose. This cohesiveness was contrasted by pieces where one idea followed the next as students went through their list of examples. The product was more a plan for an essay than a thoughtful, finished piece.
Expected qualities 9–10 • Demonstrates an insightful grasp of the implications of the prompt/stimulus material, and perceptively explores its conceptual complexity using an appropriate strategy for dealing with it. • Achieves an assured, cohesively structured piece of writing in an appropriate form, successfully integrating, in a sophisticated way, ideas suggested by the selected text(s). • Makes fluent and effective use of language. 8 • Demonstrates an insight into the implications of the prompt/stimulus material and explores its complexity using an appropriate strategy for dealing with it. • Achieves a controlled, cohesively structured piece of writing in an appropriate form, effectively using ideas suggested by the selected text(s). • Makes fluent and confident use of language. 7 • Demonstrates a clear understanding of the prompt/stimulus material, and the ability to explore some of its ideas, using an appropriate strategy for dealing with it. • Achieves a coherent piece of writing in an appropriate form, making some use of ideas suggested by the selected text(s). • Uses language accurately and appropriately. 6 • Demonstrates an understanding of the prompt/stimulus material and is able to work with some of its ideas, using an appropriate strategy. • Presents a generally organised piece of writing, in an appropriate form, drawing on ideas suggested by the selected text(s). • Uses language adequately and appropriately. 5 • Demonstrates an understanding of the prompt/stimulus material, and the ability to respond to some of its ideas. • Presents a piece of writing with some organisation, demonstrating some understanding of ideas suggested by the selected text(s). • Uses language adequately and appropriately. 4 • Demonstrates some understanding of the prompt/stimulus material, and the ability to respond to it. • Presents a piece of writing with limited organisation and limited reference to the selected text(s). • Shows adequate language control.
Sample Introductions • “New environment creates conflict.” • (Causes of conflict) • Intro 1--Individuals, seeking for greener pastures, will often be exposed to new and unfamiliar surroundings that will ultimately cause disagreement to arouse. Often at times, asylum seekers will tend to resent living with other races due to different habits in terms of decision-making, cultural superstitious or beliefs. It mostly leads to arguments. Also, refugees and asylum seekers will find it hard to adopt new surroundings and language barriers. Sometimes, others may not at all overcome the conflict because most prestigious organisations prefer to employ people with English-oriented backgrounds for better profitability. Most asylum seekers or refugees will also have an unfair treatment and will be subjected to racism. Migrants will always encounter difficulties and obstacles in quest for a better and liveable surrounding as long as racism is globally alive and well.
Intro 2--Conflicts arise from new environments where people are unfamiliar and do not know how to handle new cultures and lifestyles. In the novel, Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif, Najaf fled his homeland of Afghanistan to escape the threats of the Taliban but found himself in a land that forced him to question his decision. He struggled alone as he did not understand the language or the practices of Australia. Conflict itself derives from our individual differences and it is for that fact that it is an inevitable part of our existence. When our needs for appreciation are not being fulfilled in our relationships, we experience relational conflict because others do not see us in the way we wish to be seen. For example, older employees may be upset if newer co-workers do not give them respect for the wisdom that comes with their years of experience. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, a group of girls are led by Abigail Williams on a witch hunt where they find themselves in uncomfortable and threatening surroundings, forcing them to pursue untrue accusations which results in interpersonal collisions. When our feelings clash with others’ feelings, we are in conflict and this can often be caused by new and unfamiliar environments.
“Conflict can be a catalyst for change.” (Consequences of conflict) Intro 1--Most people tend to think that conflict is a bad thing, however, if it is managed properly, positive outcomes can be produced. Struggles of any kind can be positive when they encourage creativity, new looks at old conditions, the clarification of points of view, and the development of human capabilities to handle interpersonal differences. Alternatively, conflict can be negative when it creates resistance to change, establishes chaos in organizations or when interpersonal relations foster distrust. Despite these possibilities, conflict is a facilitator of change and is a necessary process through which decisions are made. Some of the positive outcomes of conflict are that better ideas are produced by interacting and sharing of thoughts so new approaches are realised, individual views are clarified by being open, long standing problems are brought to the surface and resolved by having good communication and understanding, creativity and interest are increased by compiling ideas and interests, and one’s capacity can be tested.
Intro 2-- When dealing with difficulties and hardship, some of us might tend to change the approach or procedure to maximise and overwhelm these conflicts. In Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif, it is after witnessing the full wrath from the hands of merciless Taliban’s that Najaf decided to flee Afghanistan and head course for a safer and liveable condition. After having learnt of the 09-11 bombing, George Bush didn’t hesitate in closing the American borders from other countries and consistently change into a more secure-conscious state. After Nelson Mandela served 27 long years of imprisonment for conviction of sabotage, he finally made a dedicated decision and later became a successful man who represented as the president of South Africa. It is indeed that our obstacles that we face can help mould our decision and help us seek change in once approach.
Para building • It may seem that our everyday lives are filled with mundane routine, however we eventually realise that every relationship, every commitment gradually becomes a significant part of who we are and how we see the world. • The ultimate power of ‘family’ is to shape who we are and how we see the world. • It’s said that we can only live our lives forward but only understand them in reflection. • Really understanding our past is essential to living a satisfying life.
Para building • Add 3 more sentences to each of these, discussing and exploring the idea of the topic sentence • Write a subsequent paragraph which explains and explores how a ‘quote’, scene, event from your text illustrates what you’ve said. Or…begin an anecdote or story which will pursue this idea Or…simply expand the discussion you’ve begun about identity and belonging
Exploration may have if but despite and ultimately interestingly but, in fact eventually as well as this finally although apparently perhaps however in some cases whilst if, in fact