(Updated June 28th) Improving text response skills is a work in progress. It will not take 5 minutes; and it is not just about following a strict structure or an acronym (TEEL) or one of its variations. If it was, everyone would get breezy marks.
I’ve noticed a big gap between Step 1 (teasing out topics; defining the words in the topic) and Step 4 (writing a clear, logical, fluent, complex and sophisticated essay).
We are working on a range of skills to improve Steps 2 and 3. The point is to minimise summary-style writing and maximise analysis/evaluative/interpretative style skills.
The ingredients/ skills include:
- Topic sentence: aim for clarity and relevance: you must show an ability to think more clearly and smartly; identify areas of relevance; control; links to the topic and to the author’s views, values and message
- Depth of analysis: ability to select defining and compelling aspects of the text; use an array of appropriate narrative devices that open up interpretive possibilities
- Flow within the paragraph: from broad (concept /structural level) to specific examples (close evaluation; analytical depth)
- Flow within the essay; (from the simple (foundations) to the complex (problematic)): logically ordered paragraphs; a good flow; accumulation of depth and complexity
- The final paragraph (s): how can I convey complexity? focus on ambiguities, ironies, paradoxes and contradictions in the text and especially with regards to the resolution of themes and the characters’ choices.
Homework: Please read these excerpts.
Task 1: Identify comparisons within the text; similarities and differences (narrative devices)
Task 2: write a paragraph that focuses on one/two of the comparisons (before/after/Scrooge)
Excerpt on Animal Farm: how many comparisons can you spot? (Comparison of characters, and their views, values and attitude/message)
Excerpt on Christmas Carol: evaluate the comparisons.
Christmas Carol: comparison of characters, scenes, symbols, attitudes, message, values.