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Lauren's Ask Me Anything

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Bri MT:
Lauren's Ask Me Anything!

The one and the only Lauren (ok maybe there are multiple Laurens but she's a great individual with unique skills and experiences), your QCE English lecturer is holding an Ask Me Anything; she'll start replying at 3:15 pm on Friday the 25th of October now, it seems

Here's some things you might not know about Lauren: She's an avid reader and one of our longest contributing forum members. If I recall correctly, when she made her first post some of the moderators were going "hmmm this seems too good to be true" but we can now confirm she is actually that skilled and committed to helping students achieve their best.



Here's some of the reasons you may want to learn from this English extraordinaire:

🔥 Achieved the highest possible score in English which helped her earn an ATAR of 98.25
🔥 Has a degree in literature and linguistics from the University of Melbourne
🔥 Gives incredible feedback on improving writing & textual understanding, and has been doing that for years
🔥 Studying literature? Lauren's also amazing at that
🔥 Has an abundance of posts, like this, helping students out and teaching them how to improve



We've been asked this before on other AMAs so YES you can ask ANY question - so long as it abides by our community rules (which basically come down to being respectful and keeping the community a nice place for everyone)

This might include things like:
- How did you prepare for exams?
- What's your favourite text?
- I'm currently struggling and I don't know how to improve - thoughts?
- Do you take a different approach when reading for leisure?



IMPORTANT: In order to ask a question, you will have to click here and make an ATAR Notes account.

Snow Leopard:
1. Do you have any advice for writing a Views and Values essay in Literature (Yr 10 Lit preparation class for VCE).
2. Should you focus on one literary perspective or cover multiple in a Views and Values essay?
3. In your opinion, what should a student do in order to do well in Literature in VCE.
4. How should you annotate your novels (writing in the novel vs sticky notes)?
5. Should you annotate your novels before you study them with your class?

This is more about subjects for VCE, but I choose Literature, but now I'm kinda doubting my choice and wondering if I should've gone with English.
6. What's the workload for Literature like in comparison to English?
7. I enjoy reading but feel like I might do better in English grades wise, which do you think I should go with for VCE?

Sorry for all the questions

lm21074:
Hey Lauren! :)

What's your favourite book?

What's the greatest lesson a book has ever taught you?

Thank you and have a great day!

laura_:
This is going to be amazingly helpful!! In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you need to do well in English? Can you also give a quick comparison of english, lit and eng lang?

literally lauren:
Hey everyone! Since there'll be a mix of VCE and QCE people here, I'm going to tag some parts of these posts accordingly to avoid confusion!  ;)

VCE:

--- Quote from: Snow Leopard  on October 20, 2019, 04:16:09 pm ---1. Do you have any advice for writing a Views and Values essay in Literature (Yr 10 Lit preparation class for VCE).

--- End quote ---
Even though Views and Values essays seem like regular English Text Response pieces (i.e. you usually respond to a prompt that's about some thematic ideas in the text), you should still maintain a focus on LANGUAGE! Try to do some 'close analysis' and unpack key literary devices and quotes, since this is the foundation your teacher will be looking for!

Aside from that, if this is a piece you have to write in exam conditions, make sure you memorise enough evidence to get you through. If it's just an essay you're submitting, then really take your time to perfect things - the structure, the phrasing, and each example you include.

But my best tip would be to truly delve into the language when supporting your points. Explain WHY certain techniques contribute to certain effects, and tease out the meaning of individual words, syllables, and even the sounds of letters in order to boost your results!

--- Quote from: Snow Leopard  on October 20, 2019, 04:16:09 pm ---2. Should you focus on one literary perspective or cover multiple in a Views and Values essay?

--- End quote ---
This depends on your teacher (sorry!) but if I were you, I'd pick one primary perspective to integrate consistently throughout the essay, and then make reference to one or two other secondary perspectives to acknowledge alternate views. So, for instance, if you were analysing Romeo and Juliet, you might pick a predominantly feminist perspective through which to view the key characters and relationships in the play, but you could also incorporate a psychoanalytic lens to discuss the psychology of the characters and their feelings for one another, or a New Historicism perspective to talk about the cultural context.
(See here for more info on Lit Perspectives!)

--- Quote from: Snow Leopard  on October 20, 2019, 04:16:09 pm ---3. In your opinion, what should a student do in order to do well in Literature in VCE.

--- End quote ---
OVERTHINK EVERYTHING!
You know that meme...
To do well in Literature, have to way beyond thinking the curtains are blue. You have to think that the rich, velvety fabric of the curtains represents a poignant link between the character's financial wealth and their deprivation of happiness. You have to think that the fact the curtains are closed is indicative of the character shrouding themselves in their own misery, literally blocking out the world and with it any chance of happiness or light that might seep through. You have to think that perhaps the very fact that this character has decorated his home with such blue curtains underscores his subconscious understanding of the depths of his own emotions - he is aware of his sadness, but is unable to express it in words, and so sequesters himself in his own blue world...

...might sound silly, and you'd never want to go that far with it (^this would be an example of weak implicature!) but it's a great thought exercise, and if you can do that with language like this, you can do it with anything!

The assessors want to see creative thinking in your analysis of language, so you should be constantly thinking about HOW and WHY language is crafted in certain ways. Do that, and you're on track for success!


--- Quote from: Snow Leopard  on October 20, 2019, 04:16:09 pm ---4. How should you annotate your novels (writing in the novel vs sticky notes)?
5. Should you annotate your novels before you study them with your class?

--- End quote ---
For novels, I'd go hard on sticky notes, since you probably won't have much room to write in the margins. For plays and poetry, I found there was usually enough room on the page to scribble things down, though...
ConfessionI ended up having too much to say about my Year 12 poetry text, so I printed out each poem on an A4/A3 page each, and then annotated the hell out of them before pinning them up on my wall and connecting them with highlighters and red yarn like a crazed detective hunting down a serial killer...
Defs start annotating your texts after you've read them through once. The first time, just focus on comprehending the plot, but after that, start taking notes, even if you're just underlining things that strike you as being important. But your annotations should always be a work in progress, so you can add to these when you start discussing the text in class, and then throughout the year when new ideas strike you!

VCE:

--- Quote from: Snow Leopard  on October 20, 2019, 04:16:09 pm ---This is more about subjects for VCE, but I choose Literature, but now I'm kinda doubting my choice and wondering if I should've gone with English.
6. What's the workload for Literature like in comparison to English?
7. I enjoy reading but feel like I might do better in English grades wise, which do you think I should go with for VCE?

--- End quote ---
I think the workloads are virtually identical, though personally, I found English easier because I was doing Literature, and I found my Lit analytical skills helped me breeze through VCE English Analysing Argument tasks. In terms of picking one or the other, think about whether you prefer writing about themes and authorial intent (=English) OR writing about how language creates meaning (=Literature). You'll likely have to put the same amount of effort in either way, so just go with whichever you find more interesting.

Statistically, most students who would do well in Literature would get just as good if not better results for English, but there are cases of students getting higher results in Lit because they enjoy it more. So as with almost all things related to subject selection, prioritise what you're interested in, and don't stress about scaling or anything else!

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any follow-ups. I know schools can do all sorts of crazy things in Year 10 English and Lit, so please tell me if any of this doesn't make sense! :)

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