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THE INDIVIDUAL STUDY. Especially: “Supporting Material” the best process text choices. 1. Appropriate choice of text for the task . Texts we enjoy as entertainment may not be suitable for this purpose. Constraints on Selection of Texts for Individual Study.

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the individual study


  • “Supporting Material”
  • the best process
  • text choices
1. Appropriate choice of text for the task.
  • Texts we enjoy as entertainment may not be suitable for this purpose.
constraints on selection of texts for individual study
Constraints on Selection of Texts for Individual Study
  • Students may choose, for their individual study, authors whose works are on the list of prescribed texts or other authors. They may include a visual text in their individual study. However, the curriculum statement does not permit more than two visual texts in total to be studied by any student.

from the SACE Board’s English Learning Area Manual

constraints on selection of texts for individual study1
Constraints on Selection of Texts for Individual Study
  • A sequel to a text is not suitable for inclusion in the individual study because such a text selection makes it difficult for students to address the criteria for assessment effectively. Two works by the same author that are not a sequence may be suitable for study.

from English Learning Area Manual, SSABSA

2. Supporting Material should include evidence which supports the FOUR different stages of the study:
  • Comprehension
  • Analysis
  • Linking
  • Critical Essay
4.The Study should be personalised to accommodate your preferred learning style(s) at least in its formative stages.
5. In creating the Supporting Material you may utilise some or all of the following:
  • Thinking skills
  • Cooperative learning
  • Graphic Organisers
  • ‘Formal’ analytical methods
  • Oral presentations
6. Here are some suggestions regarding what could be included in the Supporting Material:
  • Orals formal and informal  individual / group / class presentation
  • Sticky notes in texts
  • Web searches
  • Research time / setting/ author / text / associated works
  • General notes
  • Reviews / articles annotated
  • Visual diagrams eg T charts / KWL Charts / Network trees / Mind maps etc.
Blog Entries
  • Meetings with the teacher
  • ‘Formal’ analytical methods  Plot / setting / characters / ideas / techniques etc.
  • Possible essay foci
  • Possible essay questions
  • Drafts of Critical Essay
  • Final copy of essay.
7. As your Individual Study develops, continue to refine/redefine its focus.
  • How has it changed, deepened, developed?
  • Reflection should be part of the Study

because it helps you to demonstrate that you are refining your analysis/skills.

8. You should always be alert for connections through similarities and differences, and be alert to those you did not anticipate. You should be preparedto change your focus if this occurs.
9. Analysis of characterisation through comparison and contrast helps to remind you that this is a device of the author which is used to support the ideas being explored.

10. You should include questions you want answered and later, remember to discuss possible solutions you found.

11. Consider the significance of the setting of the texts: time and place; social (e.g. Ruth Park’s novels set in working class Sydney), cultural and historical; changes; similarities and differences

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

13. Consider the title of the texts.

Pride & Prejudice

100 Years of Solitude

14. Analyse author’s craft: for example, poetic devices, symbolism, imagery, tone, climax, language, narrative voice, narrative perspective. In addition, for film, you should also look at lighting, soundtrack, camera angles and movement, editing, dialogue, credits.
15. Make sure you are considering the features of the text types you have chosen to study.




narrative genres...

16. Consider the audience / intended audience. Socio-cultural context is important.
19. A suggested approach is to:
  • analyse the first text in detail
  • choose a second text because of the focus which arose in the analysis of the first text
  • analyse the second text while also linking with the first text
  • gradually hone the evidence until it has distilled into a suitable focus from which a question for the Critical Essay can be developed.
getting your supporting material started
Getting your Supporting Material started
  • Write a 150 word paragraph analysing the opening line of your first text.

E.g. When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

To Kill A Mockingbird

getting your supporting material started1
Getting your Supporting Material started

E.g. When he was nearly thirteen…

  • The grammatical use of past tense and a preposition of time (‘when’) begins the novel in a reflective mode that connotes nostalgia, reinforced by the sibling and childhood references (‘my brother’; ‘thirteen’)
getting your supporting material started2
Getting your Supporting Material started

E.g. … nearly thirteen …

  • The highly significant identification of an age at the cusp of adolescence (almost a teenager) not only reinforces a nostalgic narrative mode, but introduces a ‘coming of age’ theme
getting your supporting material started3
Getting your Supporting Material started

E.g. … my brother Jem got his arm …

  • The use of a passive verb in the sentence’s main clause introduces an element of suspense. An incident that is given prominence by its place at the very beginning of the narrative has its cause hidden by a mysterious cause / unnamed perpetrator

(How did it happen toJem? Who did it tohim?)

getting your supporting material started4
Getting your Supporting Material started

E.g. … badly broken at the elbow.

  • The use of an emphatic adverb raises the significance of a painful incident beyond the ordinariness of a childhood scrape to a meaningfully suspenseful event, hinting at some danger. The poetic consonance of the phrase also underlines this.

(badly broken at the elbow)

getting your supporting material started5
Getting your Supporting Material started
  • Such an analysis of an opening sentence should be followed by the first paragraph or page, noting how your stylistic / linguistic findings are reinforced, reversed or made variations upon by the ensuing narrative.

E.g. The first page of To Kill A Mockingbird consciously delays our suspense about Jem’s arm with an extreme digression (via an almost naïve narrative voice: the child Scout) through a family history that even leads to the US Civil War – a narrative device like that of a zoom camera, moving out from the detail of a boy’s elbow to geopolitical history. This establishes both the digressive nature of Scout’s laid back Southern style and Maycomb’s sleepy rural setting, as well as subtly placing a coming of age story into the social history of American racism.

some other advice to consider

1. A novel and a film of the same novel, or an author study, can be problematic because there is often not enough to support a detailed study. There are lots of similarities but not much to really generate a good Study.

2. Biographies and autobiographies can limit you to recount and emotive responses to what are often very dramatic and empathy provoking lives. you are often reluctant to critically analyse such texts because youare too swept away by the narrative and too subjectively connected to the author/author’s life.