An alternative title for the English subject could be the ‘Art of communication’ as it is this that underpins our teaching of language and literature. We endeavour to foster the art of clear and fluent communication in written and spoken forms. To foster these fundamental academic and life skills and continue improving upon them, we must endeavour to become excellent readers and listeners. The best writers are first good listeners. They listen before they speak and then engage in the process of writing and crafting. Everything we do is a craft and art.
The study of English empowers students to read, write, speak, and listen in different contexts. VCE English prepares students to think and act critically and creatively, and to encounter the beauty and challenge of their contemporary world with compassion and understanding. Students work to collaborate and communicate widely, and to connect with our complex and plural society with confidence.
Through engagement with texts drawn from a range of times, cultures, forms, and genres, and including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and voices, students develop insight into a varied range of ideas. They extend their skills in responding to the texts they read and view, and their abilities in creating original texts, further expanding their language to reflect accurately the purpose, audience, and context of their responses.
By developing broad skills in communication and reflection, the study of English enables students to participate in their diverse, dynamic, and multicultural world productively and positively.
Area of Study 1: Reading and exploring texts
This unit focuses on a critical analysis of a classic literary text and the crafting of response to mentor texts studied in class. The selected texts in 2023 are new additions to compliment the new study design. This year both Berwick and Officer students explore Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible and the novel Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.
In response to these texts, students are required to critically analyse the ways in which authors create meaning including ideas, issues, and themes, and build the world of the text. They produce an analytical personal response to the play The Crucible and craft a writing folio of responses in various forms of writing inspired by mentor texts studied in class. Mentor texts could be blogs, poetry, essays, passages from full texts or podcast scripts. At year 11 the framework of study for crafting texts is the theme of Conflict.
The framework for exploration in this unit is Conflict. Mentor texts are selected to present various types of conflicts encountered by individuals and groups.
Area of Study 2: Creating Texts
In this area of study, students build on the knowledge and skills developed through Unit 1. They read and engage imaginatively and critically with mentor texts, and effective and cohesive writing within identified contexts. Through close reading, students expand their understanding of the diverse ways that vocabulary, text structures, language features, conventions and ideas can interweave to create compelling texts. They further consider mentor texts through their understanding of the ways that purpose, context (including mode), and specific and situated audiences influence and shape writing.
Students work with mentor texts to inspire their own creative processes, to generate ideas for their writing, and as models for effective writing. They experiment with adaptation and individual creation, and demonstrate insight into ideas and effective writing strategies in their texts. They reflect on the deliberate choices they have made through their writing processes in their commentaries.
Area of Study 1: Reading and exploring texts is focused on developing students reading, viewing and inferential skills. Students engage with the ideas, concerns, and tensions of a text and how these cumulatively create meaning. Students explore how the historical, social, and cultural contexts of a text shape the values it presents through discussion and in writing. In the first, students build on the skills of argument and language analysis developed in Unit 1 to analyse several articles, rather than just one, and to create their own written piece in response to the selected contemporary issue.
Area of Study 2: Exploring Argument
The second area of study requires students to analyse and present arguments on a contemporary issue. The selected issue changes each year in response to changing issues in the media landscape. Students are required to analyse the ways in which texts present arguments to position audiences and also apply persuasive arguments, appeals and rhetoric craft and present their stance in an oral presentation.
Unit 1 and 2 School-assessed tasks:
- Text analysis essays
- Argument analysis essays
- Creative writing
- Written point of view
- Semester exams
Area of Study 1: Reading and responding to texts requires an analytical response to a text in the form of a text response essay.
Area of Study 2: Creating Texts is a new focus of the study design and helps students understand and engage in the process of crafting texts and making deliberate language choices in line with selected form, purpose, and audience. Students study mentor texts under a framework and utilise these as inspiration to create two responses in different forms. Students write a commentary to explain their authorial decisions.
Students can explore a variety of textual forms as appropriate to classroom programs and preference. Textual forms can include but are not limited to short stories, speeches, or monologues (with transcripts), essays (comment, opinion, reflective, personal), podcasts (with transcripts), poetry/songs, feature articles (including a series of blog or social media postings) and memoirs and biography.
Area of Study 1: Reading and responding to texts in the form of text response essay. Students consolidate these skills from Units 1, 2 and 3 and prepare for this analytical assessment in the end of year examination.
Area of Study 2: Analysing Argument:
The final focus of the unit consists of understanding argument and persuasive rhetoric. Students examine diverse perspective on a contemporary issue. In 2023 students explored the issue of AI Technology. Importantly, they learn to not only read and interpret a text but also to critically analyse its purpose and the way in which it is designed to impact the viewer or reader. As consumers of news students become more aware of the narratives in written and multimedia sources as well as visual modes of presentation such as political cartoons.
Unit 3 & 4 English Assessment
Unit 3 will contribute 25% to the final assessment
Unit 4 will contribute 25% to the final assessment
Exam will contribute 50% to the final assessment
Student Point of View
What key skills are required for success?
By year 11 students need to be independent, self-motivated, and open to new ideas and more complex texts. For success in English learners need to apply metacognition, organised note-taking skills, critical analytical thinking, and craft writing in various forms. One of the most effective skills is the re-writing of responses and being open to the process of writing.
What are three most engaging topics studied?
The topics students find most engaging are the big ideas and themes within the core texts of study and the conventions of the various genres, as well as the current argument analysis issue which offers students a more structured way of analysing texts. Students rise up to the challenge of an oral presentation to an audience to present their position on a current media issue. They also find collaborating with their peers a rewarding part of being active learners in a shared learning space.
What are the learning activities in this subject like?
Learning activities will have students active in creating physical web maps to connect characterisation, themes, and ideas in texts. Socratic circles for discussion and group work for collaboration, peer editing, annotating key passages, meaning maps, close analysis and working on google docs, collaborating in apps like Menti and Padlet to generate thinking and written responses. The subject requires students to contribute their thinking and ideas and build on the ideas of others.
What advice would you give to a student about to embark on this subject?
As English is a compulsory subject you will need to approach it with an open mindset to achieve your best results. For optimum outcomes you will get the most out of this subject if you read and re-read texts and build on the ideas explored in class through regular practice of writing to put forward confident contentions and interpretations.
This study enables students to:
- Extend their English language skills through thinking, listening, speaking, reading, viewing, and writing
- Enhance their understanding, enjoyment, and appreciation of the English language in its written, spoken, and multimodal forms
- Analyse and discuss a range of texts from different periods, styles, genres, and contexts
- Understand how culture, values and context underpin the construction of texts and how this can affect meaning and interpretation
- Understand how ideas are presented by analysing form, purpose, context, structure, and language
- Analyse their own and others’ texts, and make relevant connections to themselves, their community, and the world
- Convey ideas, feelings, observations, and information effectively in written, spoken and multimodal forms to a range of audiences
- Recognise the role of language in thinking and expression of ideas
- Demonstrate in the creation of their own written, spoken, and multimodal texts an ability to make informed choices about the construction of texts in relation to purpose, audience, and context
- Think critically and pose interrogative question on texts and issues
- Extend their use of the conventions of Standard Australian English with assurance, precision, vitality, and confidence in a variety of contexts, including for further study, the workplace and their own needs and interests
- Extend their competence in planning, creating, reviewing, and editing their texts for precision and clarity, tone, and stylistic effect.