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Helping your child with National 5 & Higher English Parents’ Guide
Course Outline • Folio - 2 pieces 30% • Reading for Understanding, Analysis & Evaluation 30% • Critical Reading (Scottish Text & Critical Essay) 40%
Reading for Understanding, Analysis & Evaluation • This is 30% of the final exam • It is the most challenging element of the exam along with critical essay • Pupils can develop advanced reading skills through active reading exercises
Reading for Understanding, Analysis & Evaluation • ‘In English there are no right answers’ BUT • There are certain key question types • There are effective approaches to answering them…
Question Types • Understanding – summarise, identify, explain, working out meaning from context, linkage • Analysis – word choice, imagery, tone, sentence structure, writer’s language • Evaluation – effectiveness of language, introduction or conclusion
Writer’s Purpose Writer’s language Tone Sentence Structure Word choice Imagery
Establishing Writer’s Purpose Extract 1 – Paranoid Parents • Summary: The first passage is adapted from an article in The Herald. In it, Melanie Reid strongly supports the ideas in a book called Paranoid Parenting by Frank Furedi. • Title: Is Paranoid Parenting the Greatest Danger to Our Kids?
Establishing Writer’s Purpose • Opening paragraph: If you read a wonderful new book by sociologist Frank Furedi – Paranoid Parenting – you will see the story of a teacher who quit the profession after a school trip was cancelled. Some parents were worried the trip would involve their children in a 45 minute journey in a private car. Would the cars be roadworthy? Were the drivers experienced? Were these no-smoking cars?
Establishing Writer’s Purpose • Concluding paragraph: But so deep are we in the pit of exaggerated, irrational, riskperception that we have moved from an awareness that things might go wrong to the assumption that things will go wrong. It is a dangerous spiral. For our children, who in reality are overwhelmingly safer than they ever been in history from death, disease, accident, or injury, it is more than dangerous. It is utterly catastrophic.
Word choice • Denotation – dictionary meaning • Connotation - associations we have with the word, conveying the writer’s attitude
Extract 2 Paranoid Parents • Look at Extract 2 • Question: How does the writer’s word choice in these lines make clear her attitude to the teacher? 2 Think About • What is the attitude to the teacher? • Critical, mocking, disapproving etc
Answering the question Think About • Think about which words have the juiciest connotations • not just the ‘best’ sounding words or the longest words • Where would you normally hear the word used?
Juicy words • His teacher, a zealous young woman, ever alert to the omnipresence of evil, took one look at the marks and lifted the phone to the social work department. ‘Come quickly, ’ she hissed. ‘This boy is clearly being abused. ’ • Notice some of the selected words are complex, but some are very simple.
Connotations word Connotations zealous suggests over-enthusiastic, fanatical, driven by personal agenda, … ever alert slightly mocking, suggesting keenness to find fault, … omnipresence of evil exaggerated sense of danger, paranoia one look lack of any doubt or thought; hasty actions hissed Vicious, spiteful, animalistic, attacking, aggressive Clearly shows certainty without evidence, lack of any doubt
Writing the answer • The writer uses words such as ‘zealous’ and ‘evil’ when referring to the teacher. This shows her negative attitude towards the teacher and basically suggests she dislikes her method of dealing with the situation. • Identifies correct words and attitude • Gets 0 marks Why?
Writing the answer • The writer uses words such as ‘zealous’ and ‘evil’ when referring to the teacher. This shows her negative attitude towards the teacher and basically suggest she dislikes her method of dealing with the situation. 0 Marks • No connotations • Lumps two very different words in together • Very common errors
Writing the answer • ‘omnipresence of evil’ illustrates the teacher’s fear of evil, all around her constantly. It makes her sound paranoid and almost crazed. • ‘Ever-alert’ emphasises paranoia and suggests she is constantly on the look-out for danger or wrong-doing which is damaging, unpleasant and unhealthy. 2 Marks • Deals with words separately • Analysis connotations • Links to the question which was about writer’s attitude
Imagery Questions • NOT just description • SIMILE • ‘like a bat out of hell…’ ‘as cold as ice’ • METAPHOR • ‘snow blanketed the hills’… ‘ he is a skyscraper of a man’ • PERSONIFICATION • ‘The wind howled’… ‘The ice smirked as they slipped and fell’
Imagery Questions • Look at extract 3 of ‘Paranoid Parents’ • Growing up devoid of freedom, decisionmaking, and the opportunity to learn from taking their own risks, our children are becoming trapped, neurotic, and as genetically weakened as battery hens.
Imagery Questions Answer: It is effective as the children and are stuck inside because of their suffocating parents and don’t ever get to live life fully. Makes a reasonable point Gets 0 marks - why? No reference to the literal root of the image – i. e. battery hens
Literal root of the image • • What are its characteristics? Lives in confined space No freedom Cannot move Weak and unhealthy Unnatural existence Treated cruelly
Link between children and hens? • What are their shared characteristics? He suggests that children are: • denied natural freedom • denied real, risky experiences • cruel and unhealthy way to live
Ways of answering • Useful phrases: • A battery hens is…which suggests that the children are… • Just as a battery hen is…. so this suggests the children are…
Good answer • Just as battery hens are cruelly confined in tiny spaces which makes them physically weak and unhealthy, so the writer suggests the children are similarly denied freedom because of the parents’ fears of risk. This means the children won’t ‘grow’ properly as people and seems very unfair. 2
Imagery cont… Extract 4 • In eight years of living in London, I’ve found myself tending again and again to the river for consolation. When things won’t go, when depression like a giant squid, gets one in its grip, the Thames is there to clear one’s head, to mooch and mutter by. • Analyse the writer’s use of imagery in describing his depression. 2
Literal root of image
Literal root of image
Literal root of image
Comparison Alley Frightening Inescapable grip Crushing Drags you under Takes you to a dark place
A good answer would be… • Just as a giant squid is a terrifying, overwhelming creature which holds you prisoner in its tentacles so the grip of depression can seem inescapable, dragging you down into the darkness so that you cannot get free. 2
Try this: Extract 5 Immigration • The UK is not a group of nations swamped by a tidal wave of immigration. Relatively speaking, Europe contends with a trickle of refugees compared with countries who border areas of famine, desperate poverty, or violent political upheaval. • Analyse how the imagery in these lines makes clear the writer’s attitude? 4
Possible Answer: • A tidal wave is mass of water rushing with unstoppable force onto the land causing massive destruction. This suggests that the numbers of immigrants are so great that Britain will be overwhelmed and ruined. Clearly the writer feels these numbers are hugely exaggerated. In fact she claims there is a ‘trickle of refugees’, a tiny volume of water, having minimal effect on the landscape, like the refugees who are so few in number as to be almost unnoticeable. 4
Sentence Structure Features Short/minor sentence Use of rhetorical question/exclamation Use of parenthesis Use of list, climax, anticlimax Use of antithesis (balances structure containing contrasting ideas – often but not always joined with a semi-colon) • Repetition of patterns etc All can be found on shared area • • •
Answering method Identification of feature Analysis of the effects Hook back onto the question
Common feature -Lists • Words, phrases or clauses built up, separated by commas or semi-colons. • Lists always emphasise the amount, number, multiplicity, extent or range of things • The writer uses a list which shows… X • Golden Rule - list of WHAT and WHY?
Lists Extract 6 • Look, I know it’s a guilty pleasure, and I know it’s something I really should be ashamed of myself for, but I can’t help but tune in to I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. I have to watch some random nobody – a forgotten exile from Eastenders, a bleached and sprayed WAG, someone who happened to meet that bloke off of the telly once while waiting on a taxi – as they choke and gag on crocodile brains and ostrich eyeballs.
Question • How does the writer’s sentence structure emphasise her feelings about I’m A Celebrity? 2 • Golden Rule - list of WHAT and WHY • list of WHAT – some very unflattering descriptions of the show’s ‘stars’ • and WHY? To emphasise the number of tacky, unimportant, talentless, wannabes that appear on the show
Answer • The writer uses a list very unflattering descriptions of the show’s ‘stars’ to emphasise the number of tacky, unimportant, talentless, wannabes that appear on the show. 2
You try… Lists Extract 7 The Scottish race has been variously and plentifully accused of being dour, mean, venal, sly, narrow, slothful, slobbish, nasty, dirty, immoderately drunken, embarrassingly sentimental, masterfully hypocritical, and a blueprint for disaster when eleven of them are together on a football field. • Question: How effective is the writer’s sentence structure in conveying attitudes to the Scottish people? 4
Question • How effective is the writer’s sentence structure in conveying attitudes to the Scottish people? 4 • Answer: • This sentence consists of a long list of faults of the Scots. It makes their faults seem endless, as if there were no hope of redeeming features. 2
Taken further… The length of the sentence also has the effect of making the list seem endless. Each insulting description becomes longer and more critical. The list builds up to a humorous climax by finishing with a view about a Scottish football team. 4
Common feature -Parenthesis • Dashes, brackets or commas are used in a sentence to insert: • Extra information, description, explanation, writer comment • The writer uses parenthesis which shows… X • Golden Rule - WHAT is in the parenthesis and WHY?
Common feature -Parenthesis • Clearly aching for a fight, he made a series of impossible demands – among them, a 55% wage increase – which his bosses refused to meet. • The writer uses parenthesis to show he was greedy X • The writer uses parenthesis to show unreasonably large his pay demand was, emphasising his greed.
Writer’s Language • This covers the following techniques: • • word choice imagery sentence structure tone
Extract 8 How does the language emphasise how she feels about the ‘army of professionals’? Everywhere you turn there is an army of professionals ably abetted by the media – hard at work encouraging parents to fear the worst. Don’t let your children out in the sun – not unless they’re wearing special UVresistant t-shirts. Don’t buy your children a Wendy house, they might crush their fingers in the hinges. Don’t buy a baby walker, your toddlers might brain themselves. Don’t buy plastic baby teethers, your baby might suck in harmful chemicals. Don’t let them use mobile phones, they’ll sizzle their brains. Don’t buy a second-hand car seat, it will not protect them. And on and on it goes.
Spot the techniques? • • Word choice Imagery Repetition Parallel Structure Minor sentence Exaggeration Tone (weary & annoyed) • Irony • Listing effect • parenthesis
Linking- Extract 9 • Quote the part that links back and say how • Quote the part that links forward and say how • Quote – back – quote – forward
Extract 10 Tourism • In Britain, visitors to Westminster Abbey have to pay an entrance fee to the main nave, a measure introduced recently in order to deter the hordes of visitors who were damaging the building. • But the problems associated with mass tourism are not unique to Britain. The mayor of Venice, a city which attracts about 10 million visitors annually, is calling for a limit to the numbers allowed to celebrate the New Year there, amid fears of further damage to its historic buildings.
Extract 10 Tourism • ‘problems associated with mass tourism’ refers back to the damage done to Westminster Abbey dues to excessive numbers of tourists. • ‘not unique to Britain’ creates a lead into the discussion about damage done in other parts of the world.
Approaches to independent reading • What to read: • http: //www. theguardian. com/uk/commentisfree • http: //www. independent. co. uk/voices/comment • http: //www. heraldscotland. com/opinion/ • http: //www. bbc. co. uk/news/magazine • Try out the exercise on the Homework section of the English Department page on the website. • A reminder of the question types and formulas are under the Resources section too.