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Author Topic: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008-2011  (Read 16794 times)  Share 

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Nick

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Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008-2011
« on: December 26, 2007, 04:38:02 pm »
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TEXT RESPONSES

The 5 C’s of text responses

CONCEPT
•   Have you precisely shown the key concept or value, which is the heart of the topic, and clarified how it applies within the text?
•   Is this concept continuously explored?

CONTENTION
•   Is your contention outlined and fully explained initially, so that the full dimensions of the topic will be resolved?
•   Does your contention incorporate the central concept or value?

CONTENT
•   Can you fully justify your contention on the basis of your textual analysis, through specific references and succinct quotations?
•   Can you step back sufficiently from the minute details of the text o explore is wider significance in light of he central values, characters, concepts, notions and plot details?

COHERENCE
•   Is your argument developed logically?
•   Are your points sequenced in a clear and connected manner so that your argument is consistently building and reinforcing?

CLARITY
•   Is your expression sharply focused, formal, controlled, adult and appropriate?
•   Is your sentence structure, paraphrasing and ideas accurate and controlled?

APPROACHING SAC/EXAM TEXT RESPONSES
Regardless of whether you are sitting the November examination or an English SAC task, the criteria for text responses will always revolve around the following criteria.
Relevance to the topic
Close and specific knowledge of text
Appropriateness of expression


Below is a list of tips which refer specifically to each element of the criteria. Following this criterion is imperative if you are planning to rise to the standard of a 40+ student.

Relevance to the topic
•   Your teachers and assessors need to be convinced that you have responded directly to the chosen topic and have not simply decided to present a memorised essay or simply write around the topic.
•   Even if you write an essay in a SAC or exam which shows a strong level of textual knowledge but ignores the topic, it will be given a low score.
•   Remember that you are required to write in an argumentative manner in response to the topic. When examining the topic view it as a line of argument about the text, which you need to challenge based on your knowledge of the text.
•   You need to present your own views about a set topic or perception of the text, in a way which qualifies the topic statement.
•   You need to challenge the topic in your mind, asking yourself to what extent you agree or disagree with this stance about the text.
•   Then, explore and examine the situations for which this topic is, in your view, an accurate one for the text, and when it ought to be qualified (that is, limited or reframed)
•   The best answers will perceive individual and distinctive implications to the topic, thereby revealing a depth and sophistication in the understanding of the ideas presented.
•   Never regurgitate the plot of the text. You must be selective in the details of the text that you present to your audience and show that you possess an in-depth knowledge of the chosen text.
•   Resist the temptation to “tell everything about the text that you know”.
•   There is no excuse for forgetting the names of characters or the key details in the text. You need to therefore re-read your texts before SACs and before the November examination.
•   Aim to memorise about 10-15 brief quotations for each of your texts for SACs and the exam. Integrate them within the body of the sentence, preferably using succinct quoted phrases.

KNOWLEDGE OF THE TEXT
•   You must show a close and detailed knowledge of the text in question. This means that you will have studied all of the elements that make up the text before attempting to write your text response. In other words, when you revise the text and your class notes, identify the key textual elements within them: plot development, characterization, relationships, major crisis points, catalysts for change, distinctive structural elements, stylistic elements, symbols, themes and issues.
•   You cannot rely alone upon commercial guides to texts. It is your own understanding that must be shown to achieve an A+ grade on a SAC or examination.

QUALITY OF EXPRESSION
•   Since this subject obviously is English, the calibre and appropriateness of your expression is a matter of importance. English teachers and assessors do realize that you are writing under pressure, and in a finite amount of time.  Nevertheless, they are obliged to take into account the quality and clarity of the written language you employ.
•   Allow time to proof read- English teachers and assessors would much rather see crossing out which shows that you have checked the accuracy of your writing than be confronted with a host of silly, avoidable syntax (word order) or spelling errors.

If you are able to follow this criterion in an effective and efficient manner, your writing will possess all the required characteristics of a high scoring response.

For those who have forgotten or are still unsure on the structure of a text response, here is a basic rundown of the key considerations.

INTRODUCTION
Your opening paragraph should be purposeful and direct. You should aim to use sophisticated language and expression, but ensure that you are not overly verbose in the way that you convey your ideas. Express your ideas directly and succinctly, but don’t hesitate to throw in some linguistic flair to show off your abilities.
Ensure that you:
o   Immediately tackle the topic
o   Demonstrate that you understand the proposition or question
o   Respond to all parts of the topic
o   Relate the topic closely to the text in your introduction
o   Provide your own contention in an articulate and well-reasoned fashion
o   Set up a line of argument so that the reader can see where the essay is heading. Ensure that this element of the introduction is clear and logical.
o   Provide a link to the next paragraph

BODY OF THE ESSAY
Use several paragraphs to develop your line of argument, with careful selection of textual evidence. Use TEEL for each paragraph to keep your answer relevant and ensure the logical development of your ideas. 3-4 abundantly developed paragraphs are more than sufficient.

Ensure that each paragraph is heavily constituted by direct textual evidence, and ideas which are logical, clear and articulately expressed. Be constantly making mature and well reasoned analytical statements to back up your evidence. If you can’t justify what you are contending with direct textual evidence, don’t bother including it in your response.

T= Topic sentence- the next point in your argument, around which the rest of the paragraph is built
E= Explanation of the way in which your points address the topic
E= Evidence from the text to support your views, including pertinent quotes
L= Links between what you are contending in this paragraph and your overall argument, and between this paragraph and the next.

CONCLUSION
When writing the conclusion to your essay ensure that you:
o   Restate the contention and your line of argument
o   Briefly refer to the key pieces of evidence from the text that you have used t support your argument
o   Neatly tie the various lines of argument and evidence together, showing that they resolve your contention.
o   Provide a sense of closure to your argument

STRUCTURING YOUR WRITING TASK: ANALYSIS OF LANGUAGE USE

INTRODUCTION
Outlines the nature of the issue/controversy
Identifies the central stakeholders (who has a direct interest in the issue)
The stance taken in the pieces for analysis
How the reader/listener is being positioned (this can be included later but it is good to include it in the intro)
Broad identification of the tonality

BODY (how the language intentionally operates on the reader)
Either analyse each article separately or conjointly, there is no preferable way to approach this, provided that you clearly structure your analysis. I prefer to analyse each piece separately (2 paragraphs for each piece or one large paragraph for each)
Acknowledge how the form of the piece operates
Identify specific elements of language use upon which to comment: specific appeals made; argumentative manipulation such as rhetorical questions and generalizations; the language used and its tonality, including any humour or cynicism.
Analyse the intended effect on the reader
Ensure that there is a neat link between analyses, if undertaken separately  

CONCLUSION
Recap the key forms of influential language
You may wish to briefly compare the relative impact of each piece on the intended audience.

When approaching “Analysis of Language use” (Part C of the exam) or the issues section of Unit 3, it would be advisable to keep in mind “TAPE”

Tone:
Hear the article for analysis in your head
What tonality is most readily apparent?
Which words/phrases most embody this aspect?
How significant is this in potentially persuading us?

Audience:
To whom is the text directed?
What position would these people tend to hold? Are they stakeholders with vested interest?
How is the author seeking to connect with them?
How inclusive is this approach?

Purpose:
Is this seeking to change, challenge or reinforce existing views and opinions?

Effect:
How do we react to the language and emotive effects being utilized?
What persuades us most and how?

WORDS TO ANALYSE THE GIVEN LANGUAGE INCLUDE:
Suggests               Reflects                              
Indicates               Shows
Implies                 Provokes
Inspires                Asserts
Reveals                Aims
Represents

Creates a sense of
Is intended to
Makes the reader feel
Is designed to
Leads the reader to believe
Contends
Impugns the motives
Alerts the reader
Inclusively addresses us
Engages us emotively
Appeals to our self interest
Positions the reader to feel

WORDS TO DESCRIBE THE TONE THAT AN AUTHOR IS UTILISING

animated
ardent
convincing
definite
determined
elated
enthusiastic
evangelical
fervent
forceful
passionate
rapturous
spirited
visionary
zestful
insincere

arrogant
boastful
bombastic
bullying
chauvinistic
condescending
officious
ominous
patronizing
self-righteous
superior
threatening
cynical
insinuating
negative
pessimistic
snide
satirical
hopeful
optimistic

courageous
undefeated

jingoistic
patriotic
xenophobic

abusive
acrimonious
aggressive
annoyed
antagonistic
apoplectic
appalled
biting
bitter
confrontational
embittered
grim
hostile
jeering
scathing
scornful
wrathful

carping
censuring
complaining
critical
insensitive
sententious
cheerful
encouraging

amazed
anxious
astonished
baffled
frustrated
incredulous
puzzled

moralizing
preaching
didactic

foolish
hypocritical
rustic
silly

absurd
amused
bantering
entertaining
facetious
frivolous
humorous
ironical
quizzical
ridiculing
risqué
seditious
vulgar
wry
whimsical

brooding
despondent
disappointed
discouraged
distressed
exhausted
grumbling
regretful
sad
tragic
whingeing

caustic
sacrilegious
sarcastic
scathing
venomous
vicious
vindictive

guarded
watchful

heavy-handed
ponderous
self-important

mawkish
nostalgic
sentimental
soppy

amicable
admiring
appreciative
approving
benevolent
comforting
conciliatory
friendly
liberal
open minded
supportive
sympathetic
understanding

convincing
dogmatic
forthright
frank
rhetorical
strident
unequivocal
evasive

apologetic
defensive
deprecating
humble
obsequious
pleading
subservient
sycophantic

apathetic
indifferent
unmoved
stoic

facile
straight forward
uncomplicated

businesslike
calculating
controlled
earnest
formal
grave
matter of fact
reasonable
sensible
solemn
technical

calm
contemplative
detached
diplomatic
educated
expert
measured
moderate
respectful
trustworthy

bland
clichéd
neutral
volatile
flamboyant

conservative
reactionary
stubborn
traditional

demeaning
disparaging
insulting

blaming
scapegoating

These words are grouped according to similarity of meaning.

A majority of these tone words came from "The English Book 2007" which is worth purchasing from the bookshops.
 

Good luck everyone. I hope this advice thread has been of valuable assistance.  :) Happy writing in 2008.


« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 11:11:37 pm by ice_blockie »
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lishan515

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2007, 06:38:07 pm »
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wow... *I have not actually read it yet but that is a fantastic effort by a clearly very motivated moderator... Well Done Nick!

- proceeding to read now

beezy4eva

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2007, 06:57:48 pm »
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very nice guide. Im not a particular fan of TEEL personally though, its good for when your planning an essay but i find when i try following it for writing up the good copy i usually sound like a robot
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cara.mel

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2007, 07:06:15 pm »
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Skimmed through it. Fantastic work ^_^

In my opinion, you shouldn't follow TEEL. Stick to the general 'spirit' of it, but don't follow it religiously.

And this is my english language side speaking for your TAPE thing, don't know if it will be relevant but: we looked at the function (pretty similar to purpose), audience, mode (spoken vs written) and context for each text, as things that will shape the text. I hope some of that is relevant/helpful :)

Nick

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2007, 07:42:28 pm »
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very nice guide. Im not a particular fan of TEEL personally though, its good for when your planning an essay but i find when i try following it for writing up the good copy i usually sound like a robot

I wouldn't really advise stronger students to use TEEL. I didn't use it myself. TEEL is great for students who are still trying to grasp the key components of a text response, and therefore included it for students who may still struggle with structuring their text response. :)
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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2007, 01:37:19 am »
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Nice article, good points to remember :)
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 08:47:08 pm by DivideBy0 »

Mao

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2007, 08:20:04 pm »
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very nice guide. Im not a particular fan of TEEL personally though, its good for when your planning an essay but i find when i try following it for writing up the good copy i usually sound like a robot

I wouldn't really advise stronger students to use TEEL. I didn't use it myself. TEEL is great for students who are still trying to grasp the key components of a text response, and therefore included it for students who may still struggle with structuring their text response. :)
I'm not great for essay writing, but i've never been a fan of TEEL... maybe i've been writing wayyy to much philosophy and too little english
usually i just flow with it, but many times that did not work for me, and i ALWAYS end up writing philosophy (ie analysing 2 arguments/p.o.v., then reaching a conclusion of "cannot be resolved")

do anyone have any "tricks"? i will seriously appreciate that :P ;D ;D ;D
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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2007, 12:42:27 am »
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very nice guide. Im not a particular fan of TEEL personally though, its good for when your planning an essay but i find when i try following it for writing up the good copy i usually sound like a robot

I wouldn't really advise stronger students to use TEEL. I didn't use it myself. TEEL is great for students who are still trying to grasp the key components of a text response, and therefore included it for students who may still struggle with structuring their text response. :)
meh, i kinda used TEEL... well, some variant of it. i'd always try to have as much text evidence as possible to back up my points, though at the same time i'd rarely use text evidence if i couldn't incorporate smoothly into my writing as well. and although half the time i wouldn't link back much, i always tried to think about it - it's a good technique to make sure that you're not going off topic, which is extremely common in english essays.
basically, TEEL is a tried and tested method, and i personally found it quite effective. its major drawback is that it can ruin the flow of an essay by cutting it up into chunks. good writers, however, would probably have enough skill to allow their essay to flow without too much difficulty.
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costargh

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2007, 12:50:26 am »
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My textual evidence was shocking this year, basically because I wasn't familiar enough with my texts. Whats the best way to use textual evidence when making a point that seems so obvious to you... if that makes sense.

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2008, 05:00:06 pm »
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Wooh. These notes are awesome. *Printing*
These are going to be awesome as I have to write a two text analysis this weekend - hate the articles, but trying to remain positive. Peter Singer's writing is so hard to analyse *cries*. Apparently he has anger in the underbelly of his argument whilst having an academic/intellectual/philosophical take on whaling. Meh.
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Rietie

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2008, 05:00:49 pm »
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Just realised I committed an act of necromancy... sorry.
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Collin Li

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2008, 06:28:58 pm »
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Just realised I committed an act of necromancy... sorry.

Doesn't matter if the thread is stickied.

neophyte

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2008, 10:53:09 pm »
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An impressive effort, Nick; I agree with many of your points.

I think TEEL can give essays a sense of being artificial, however, I recognise that the structure it offers some students can be useful to them.

With respect to text response, I believe the ideal is comparing and contrasting the different elements of the question and the text itself, while examining the interplay between the key terms of the topic.

Nick

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2008, 09:15:41 pm »
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Moderator action: I have edited my tips to include a list of tone words which can be used when writing an issues analysis piece.
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chubz90

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Re: Nick's essential English writing tips for 2008
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2008, 07:37:51 pm »
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thanks this is very helpful :)