See Comparative Response to 3 articles: pp. 72-4 (Typical Year 12 SAC)
Paragraph 1: Seashells
Be clear about the author’s argument/persuasive strategies: Who is she? What is her perspective? What is her evidence? What does she prove with the evidence?
“Construction of argument” strategies:
Ms Achton uses her 30-year professional experience as an educator to highlight the importance of principles such as care and concern for others.
The author relies on her professional experience as a teacher to reinforce her views that it is important to educate the children about the world in which they live.
String of evidence/examples: comparisons (Argument)
Critical to the development of her argument are references to well-known role models such as John Lennon and Desmond Tutu. Both these renowned people highlight the need to do good works in the world. These examples — that people can make a difference through small-scale initiatives — function as a series of comparisons/analogies.
The teacher also gives personal stories about her involvement with her students in the classroom. She refers to the picture book, All the Cats in the World, to depict the very poignant and heartening story of the “cat woman”. (quotes)
Key argument/key points:
- Ms Achton recommends that we act responsibly towards others and towards our world because there are (moral and practical) consequences of our actions.
- Even our smallest actions can make a considerable impact.
- As an educator, her most important task is to encourage children to be resilient, independent, self-reliant and respectful. They must have the strength and courage to care.
The author’s key reasoning and persuasive techniques;
- Real-life experience as an educator in the classroom
- Values/appeals/priorities: She focuses on values/principles such as duty of care; moral responsibilities to others and to the world around us)
- She relies on (moral) comments from well-known world leaders and their purpose (John Lennon and Archbishop Tutu)
- She uses real-life examples to support these comments: the picture book (the cat lady; withstands criticism; strength of her convictions;) and the real-life example: shows how we can use social media to advantage and to make a very big difference; little things are significant in the lives of many) Also the comment from the young girl.
- Ms Acthon refers to inspirational role models; John Lennon’s quotes: Archbishop Tutu
- intertextual reference to All the Cats in the World – to encourage the children to realise that they can make a difference; moral is that individuals should not heed be dissuaded by the criticism and taunting of others
- statistics and real-life examples /anecdotal evidence from the retired principal about her work in India
- purpose: to show the effectiveness of small steps; to empower all individuals to care about others
Metalanguage: upstanding and moralistic tone; anecdotes; appeals to role models and care and concern
Putting together: a sample paragraph
Evaluate the examples and the comparisons – set up the comparison.
Please refer to Exercise 29, pp 72-73 “Making a difference”, by Jane Achton
In her Seashells article, Ms Achton draws upon her 30-year professional experience as an educator to highlight the fact that social justice often begins with small initiatives. Basing her argument on a series of real-life examples, the teacher focuses our attention on the difference individuals can make by foregrounding principles such as care and concern for others and for the world in which they live. Specifically, she sets up an analogy between the figurative “cat lady” in “All the Cats in the World” and Meg Smith, the retired teacher to show that both had the courage to pursue their moral convictions. She uses emotive language in her depiction of the “cat lady” who withstood considerable “taunting and criticism” to “care for several stray kittens down by the beach”– a description that would certainly resonate with all concerned animal lovers. Ms Achton also provides the inspirational example of her fifth grade student, Sally Hong and her planting experiences, to highlight to all primary school teachers that all young students want to “make a difference” and are keen to help if they have the right guidance. She hopes that all readers will see the connection with Desmond Tutu’s view that those who perform good deeds can “overwhelm the world”. This acts as a call to action for all educators and pupils.
(Adopting an uplifting and enthusiastic tone) Ms Achton believes /recommends that every step can make a very real difference in the quality of life of many people around the world. Critical to the development of her views/argument, is the case study depicting Meg Smith, a retired teacher who helped to establish the Pollinate Energy company. Using emotive language and a common-sense approach, Ms Achton reveals that Ms Smith took part in a scheme to deliver “cheap energy to some of the poorest people in the world”. She uses statistics, such as the reference to 20, 0000 people to show the dual purpose of the scheme, namely that the Indian people not only benefited from the three-watt solar panels, but that the environment also benefited from the reduction in 450,000 kilograms of CO2 emissions. Accordingly, Ms Achton makes a comparison between the cat lady in the picture book with Meg Smith, and uses cause-and-effect reasoning strategies to prove that small initiatives can make a big difference to the lives of the less fortunate (people or “stray” animals). This endearing depiction is likely to inspire others and encourage them to think about how they can make a difference if they have the courage and the determination to care and consider the world in which they live.