Persuasive Writing Plan for Years 7-10

Image result for picture of persuasive writing

 Why is Persuasive Writing in Years 7-10 Important in the English Curriculum?

Persuasive Writing is part of the English curriculum for Years 7-10 and forms the basis for writing and analysing topics that students will go on to perfect in Years 11-12 as AOS2 Analysing and Presenting Argument.  An important aspect of good writing is to follow a process that will lead to understanding your topic, identifying the important points in your main contention and stating your opinion clearly and assertively in body paragraphs.

The best structure for an essay is a straight forward one:

  1. Introduction = to introduce the issue / state the main contention / introduce supporting reasons that will be covered in the essay
  2. Body paragraphs = each paragraph should use the TEEL structure and start with the most important reason in your supporting reasons and follow with next reason in the next body paragraph (at least 3-4 good body paragraphs)
  3. Rebuttal = choose one of the most important reasons that are the opposite view point to your main contention and point out the errors in the argument
  4. Conclusion = sums up your argument and refers your reader back to the topic covered in your main contention.  Do not bring up new evidence or develop an opinion contrary to your main contention otherwise you might contradict yourself.

TEEL – What is it?

Teachers stress all throughout Years 7-10 the correct structure for an essay is to use TEEL for your body paragraphs which enables students to have a clear focus in their essay writing.

T = Topic sentence

E = Evidence/Examples (quotes)

E = Explanation

L = Link

So lets look at a Sample Persuasive Essay Topic and the Process needed to complete the essay.

Write a persuasive essay on this topic: Do you think secondary school students should work part-time?

 Image result for picture of students working at part time jobThe Process:

  1. Research your information = Many secondary school students work part-time after school. Studies have shown that students can work up to 10 hours a week without affecting their school work.  However, if they exceed these hours their school work may suffer.
  2. The questions are =? Does combining school and part-time work affect school work and post-school outcomes?
  3. Brainstorm your ideas using the fish-bone diagram, think of facts, consequences and solutions, decide on your main contention
  4. List points for and against to make sense of which side the arguments fall
  5. Identify appropriate examples grouping them in common themes, think about what is logical evidence
  6. Decide which is the most persuasive order to present your topic sentences, start with the most important reason
  7. Summarise your contention, write your introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.

Have a look at my Draft Plan for answering the persuasive topic:


Draft Plan
What is the issue? Much debate has been raised by parents and teachers questioning whether combining school and part-time work affects secondary students’ school work and post-school outcomes.
Defining key terms Studies from the National Centre for Vocational Education have shown that students can work up to 10 hours a week without affecting their school work.  However, if they exceed these hours their school work may suffer.
Main Contention Each student who chooses to work part-time has a unique set of circumstances and reasons for wanting to work.  Some students need to work part-time to help support their family.  Provided that the part-time work hours are not excessive, students can benefit from their working experience.  However, it is important to balance school commitments and part-time work so that working does not affect future post-school outcomes.
Supporting Reasons Research from the National Centre for Vocational Education has shown that students can work up to 10 hours a week without affecting their school work.  Working part-time helps students to achieve personal goals and can offer a break from school work.  Part-time work gives students greater financial independence to earn their own money to pay for their clothes and other items that they would have asked their parents to provide.  More importantly, part-time work can allow students real world experience dealing with people, customers, their boss, time management and financial responsibility which gives them confidence in future.  Working part-time also enables students to decide what type of job they want to do as a future career further motivating them to get better grades at school in order to gain a high ATAR for a university degree.
Rebuttal The Bureau of Labour Statistics in the US suggests that students who held a job in high school spent 49 minutes less on their homework than on the days they worked.  The research showed that if students spent 30 minutes more on homework, say studying maths, they could increase their maths ability by 2 grades higher.  Students who work more than 10 hours per week part-time can lead to students falling asleep in class because of long work shifts the night before.  The result is that students cannot keep up with school assignments on time and then their grades inevitably suffer.  The affect of working more than 10 hours part-time can lead to students falling so far behind their school commitments that they consider dropping out of school.  The result of this action is that their post-school future is in jeopardy.
Summing up sentences It is imperative that secondary school students should carefully consider their options before taking on part-time work.  It should be noted that not all students’ circumstances are the same.  However, it is important to balance school commitments and part-time work so that working does not affect future post-school outcomes.  Moreover, provided the hours are not excessive, students can benefit from their part-time working experience.


Tips on Oral Presentations for English Years 9-12

 JFK Giving Speech

A few tips on writing your speech:

  • Have a CAPTIVATING introduction sentence; use a short, clear and powerful sentence. You can even ask a rhetorical question of your audience to make them think right at the start.
  • RELATE to your audience so that it keeps them interested so they actually WANT to listen.
  • If you are taking on a persona, firstly study and UNDERSTAND your character. (A persona is how you present your speech, ie. in a friendly voice, a business type strictly formal speech or using lots of colloquial phrases).
  • Don’t forget your persuasive techniques. Use repetition and rhetorical questions, emotive language and inclusive language.
  • Remember that you are writing a SPEECH, not an essay. Instill your oral with emotion, varied tone and sentence lengths.

A few tips on your performance:

Memorise your speech

Always remember that practice makes perfect. Practice as much as possible; in front of anyone and everyone including yourself (use a mirror). Keep practicing until you can recite it.

As for cue cards, use dot points. Don’t just copy and paste whole sentences onto cue cards or else you’ll rely on them too much. Not to mention that it’ll be hard finding out where you are in the middle of your speech. Use “trigger words” so that if you forget your next point, you have something there.

Use your Powerpoint presentation to best advantage. Keep the images relevant to your speech. Have the images not too “busy” so that the audience are looking attentively at the screen and forget to listen to your speech. Make sure the presentation is on mouse click to the next slide or timed so you don’t have to fiddle around with the computer, but remember to keep talking.

But most importantly, if you mess up, keep going. Even if you screw up a word or suddenly forget your next point, just take a breath, correct yourself, and keep going. Do not giggle. If your friends make you laugh, don’t look at them.

Control your voice

Do not be monotone. Give it some energy; be pumped but not “I-just-downed-5-cans-of-Red Bull” pumped. Give it as much energy as it is appropriate for your speech. As you transition through various intense emotions such as anger, happiness and shock, your performance should reflect it. This is achieved in both your tone and your body language (moving around, not jumping around as that will distract from what you are trying to say).

Speak as if you believe in your contention – with passion. If you sound confident, then your audience will think, ‘wow, they sure know what they’re talking about’. Remember, confidence is the key.

Don’t rush through your speech and speak at a million kilometers an hour – or even worse; skipping half of your speech because you just want to get the hell out of there. Also, speak so that the teacher can actually hear you. More likely than not, they’ll be sitting somewhere near the back of the room. Don’t be “too quiet” master the art/power of projecting your voice. It actually does make a huge difference.

Be aware of your actions

Don’t just stand like a statue in one spot. Think about real life – do you know anyone that stands completely and utterly still when talking to you? Make sure you look around the room; you’re addressing everyone, not just one person. Don’t stare at your teacher; it freaks them out. You don’t even have to look at a specific place. Start off looking at the back wall… then as you go through the speech, naturally turn from one back corner of the room to the other. Also, try not to look down because it will make you mumble and be hard to understand or hear. Don’t try to look at your cue cards while they’re right up next to your body. Move it out when you need to have a GLANCE at them then go back to the audience.

Always make sure that you face the audience.

Use some natural hand gestures they don’t hurt either!

Take some long, deep breaths before you go on and tell yourself that you can do it!

How to Effectively Annotate Texts

 Image result for pictures of writing booksWhy Annotate Your Texts in Studying English?

Annotating texts is a powerful step in getting to know your text and optimising your essay responses. Keep in mind as a reader and annotator 2 important questions:

  1. “What is the author saying?
  2. How are they constructing their meaning/values in their text?”

Listed below are some helpful tips in learning how to annotate:

A Definition: To annotate means to add notes to a text where you provide extra comments or explanations (usually in the margins of the book).

Break up the text by using post flags to distinguish sections or chapters

Some texts are large and sections or chapters are not easy to recognise but a good way to identify the sections is to use post flags to break up the text. This will make scanning the book much easier later when you are searching for a specific passage for an essay.

Think of your text as a colouring book

One way is to use different coloured highlighters for different themes. Think of it as creating a trail for you to follow throughout the book. If you don’t like using highlighters, another simple way is to use coloured post flags to highlight certain pages where you can underline the themes with explanations at the top of the page.

Circle new vocabulary

Look it up and then write their definitions next to the word. Using higher level metalanguage in your essays is going to help to gain better marks.

Write notes in the margins or at the top of pages

Here you can summarise the chapters at the top of the page and then other significant points of a passage as you read through the text.

What are the best items to annotate?

  • Character descriptions & dialogues significant to the plot/character development
  • Historical, cultural, social and natural contexts relevant to understanding the text
  • Structure of the text, narrative voice/viewpoint, implications for the plot & characters
  • Themes, motifs & symbols that are connected to characters & plot and how these represent ideas or concepts that show the author’s values and meaning
  • Literary devices such as metaphors, similes and foreshadowing that show how the author constructs meaning and structure of the text
  • Plot changes, major events and how they affect characters and meaning of the text


The Prologue in Romeo and Juliet

Image result for pictures of romeo and juliet

The Significance of the Chorus in the Prologue

The Chorus was played by a single actor, whose purpose was to explain and comment on the action of the play.  He is not a character and has no personality.

This opening speech by the Chorus serves as an introduction to Romeo and Juliet.  We are provided with information about where the play takes place, and given some background information about its principal characters.

He simply tells us that we are now in Verona, and that this is a city divided by civil war between 2 noble families.  Their quarrel is an old one, an ‘ancient grudge’.  We never learn its cause, it seems to have become a habit for the Capulets and Montagues to hate each other.  However, if we cannot know the cause of the quarrel, we can be warned of its cure.

The words of the Chorus would be used by Shakespeare to silence the audience and settle them into an appropriate mood for the first scene.

Sonnet = a 14 line poem

Line #

Sonnet Prologue


1 Two households, both alike in dignity, 2 families of nobility ie. same social status
2 In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, Where the play is set in Verona
3 From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Old violent quarrel that has been long   standing
4 Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. Civil meaning belonging to fellow citizens where the conflict has been bloody
5 From forth the fatal loins of these two foes Bred from deadly vital organs of both   parents
6 A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life; Ill-fated lovers appear from these 2   quarrelling families
7 Whose misadventured piteous overthrows Unfortunate disasters are mended by the 2 lovers
8 Do with their death bury their parents’ strife. Their respective children’s death brings each family together
9 The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love, The course of the lovers love for each other is doomed to death
10 And the continuance of their parents’ rage, The parents are enraged at the deaths
11 Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove, But only the deaths of their children can stop the conflict and strife of the families
12 Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage; The business lasting 2 hours
13 The which if you with patient ears attend, The audience must watch with expectation
14 What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. To fulfil the prophecy of this Prologue as Romeo & Juliet will certainly die

 The Obvious Function of the Prologue

The obvious function of the Prologue as introduction to the Verona of Romeo and Juliet can obscure its deeper, more important function.  The Prologue does not merely set the scene of Romeo and Juliet, it tells the audience exactly what is going to happen in the play. The structure of the play itself is the fate from which Romeo and Juliet cannot escape.

“Star-crossed Lovers”

The Prologue refers to an ill-fated couple with its use of the word “star-crossed,” which means, literally, against the stars.  Stars were thought to control people’s destinies.  But the Prologue itself creates this sense of fate by providing the audience with the knowledge that Romeo and Juliet will die even before the play has begun.  The audience therefore watches the play with the expectation that it must fulfill the terms set in the Prologue.

Private Home Tutoring of English Not an On-Line Free Tutoring Service

I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.

Identity and Belonging Theme

Identity and Belonging

Identity and Belonging was part of the old VCE Context curriculum and is NOT included in the 2017 English curriculum from 2017 onwards.  Please use this information on Identity and Belonging as a theme only.

The Main Issues around the Theme of Identity and Belonging are:

  • Nature or nurture – what makes us who we are?
  • Defining ourselves through others – the paradox of belonging
  • The cost of belonging – sacrificing the self
  • Challenging and developing our identity – our identity develops as we grow and change
  • Choosing not to belong –being an outsider in mainstream society can be difficult

Here are my Essay Ideas for Identity and Belonging

Nature or Nurture

Ideas for an essay

Style and Purpose  =          persuasive essay / hybrid imaginative

Form                       =          deliver a speech at the wedding of your brother

Audience                =           guests at the wedding

Language               =           personal tone, descriptive, simple sentences, some humour

Explains speech

Tell the guests about the relationship you share with your brother, what it means to you, what you have learned from your brother and the impact they have on the family.

Defining ourselves through others

Ideas for an essay

Style and Purpose       =       imaginative writing

Form                           =        personal letter of refugee in Australia

Audience                     =        relative back in home country of refugee

Language                   =         personal tone, descriptive words used by family members

Explains letter

Write to an aunty left behind in the homeland about feelings of estrangement and alienation that came from being uprooted and transplanted on foreign soil.  The perilous journey to get to Australia.  Missing the sense of tradition and extended family. Remaining connected to the land and place where they once belonged.

The cost of belonging – sacrificing the self

Ideas for an essay 

Style and Purpose     =         imaginative / reflective piece

Form                           =         reflective piece in a diary entry

Audience                    =         only the author of the diary

Language                   =         personal tone, first person, anecdotes, unspoken feelings

Explains reflective

Masking the true self in order to belong.  Using a stream of unconscious and unspoken feelings never told to the family before.  Pain at having to disguise true feelings so that the family group would not disapprove.  Not wanting to go to university to study medicine like all the other family members.  Having to be always the ‘good’ child but afraid of disappointing parents.  Wanting another career totally different from parent’s expectations.

Some Other Ideas for you to Consider Writing Essays / Expository or Imaginative:

  • Stolen generation children now adults loss of both identity and belonging in society.  Not accepted as white or black and unable to relate to either groups.
  • Being homosexual in mainstream society / multi-cultural society and coming out
  • Realising you are trans-gender as a child or adult born in the wrong body
  • Unemployed youth who are struggling to find employment and they feel that they lack a purpose and a sense of belonging
  • Being subjected to racist principles that are “skin-deep”.  Your feelings when white people cannot see beyond superficial aspects such as your colour or appearance.

Private Home Tutoring of English Not an On-Line Free Tutoring Service

I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  I do not write student’s essays for them or give advice on how to answer a prompt.  However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.





To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a Worthy Recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in 1961

It does not matter how many times I teach To Kill a Mockingbird to Year 10 English students, I find a deeper understanding of Harper Lee’s beautiful novel each time I read it.  What’s not to love about this amazing novel?  It’s a story about a man wrongly accused of rape and a lawyer who confronts racial prejudice to defend him in a small Alabama town riddled with the poverty and racial tensions of the American South in 1935.  Yet when you look deeper it also chronicles the journey of its characters to do what is right, no matter what humiliation or consequences plagued them.

The Moral Courage in To Kill a Mockingbird

By observing her father, Scout gradually discovers that moral courage is both more complicated and more difficult to enact than the physical courage most familiar and understandable to children.  To Kill a Mockingbird reveals the heroic nature of acting with moral courage when adhering to social mores would be far less dangerous.  At a time in the South when it was outrageous and practically unthinkable for a white person to look at the world from a minority’s perspective, Harper Lee has Atticus explain to Scout: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”.  For Atticus Finch, climbing into someone’s skin and walking around in it represents true courage.  This would have to be my all time favourite quote.

 Focus on the Trial of Tom Robinson

The novel focuses on the Finch family over the course of two years, lawyer and father Atticus Finch; his ten-year-old son, Jem; and his six-year-old daughter, Scout (whose real name is Jean Louise).  Scout serves as the narrator of the book.  Her narration is based on her memories of the events leading up to, during, and after her father’s defence of a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell.  Through Scout’s inexperienced eyes (she is only eight at the conclusion of the novel), the reader encounters a world where people are judged by their race, inherited ideas of right and wrong dominate, and justice does not always prevail.  However, by observing Atticus Finch’s responses to the threats and gibes of the anti-Tom Robinson faction and his sensitive treatment towards Tom Robinson and his family and friends, the reader, again through Scout’s eyes, discovers what it means to behave morally.  In fact, do the right thing in the face of tremendous social pressure.

 What I Love About To Kill a Mockingbird is the Other Side to Scout

To Kill a Mockingbird also chronicles the journey of a girl who challenges gender stereotypes in her determination to remain a tomboy.  Harper Lee clearly explores Scout’s unconventional female characteristics.  Aunt Alexandra tells Scout Finch to act like a lady and wear a dress so she can “be a ray of sunshine in [her] father’s lonely life.”  Scout does not respond positively: she retorts that she can “be a ray of sunshine in pants just as well”.

In fact, Scout does not respond positively to anything feminine, preferring reading instead of sewing, playing outside instead of inside, and the nickname “Scout” to the girlish “Jean Louise.”

On the other hand, the culture that Harper Lee depicts does not respond positively to Scout’s tomboyish inclinations.  Scout lives in Maycomb, Alabama, a rural Southern town, during the Great Depression.  In this setting, society dictates strict gender stereotypes, and people rarely cross the barrier between masculinity and femininity.  Maycomb is a place where “[l]adies bathed before noon, after their three o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum”. Scout, however, refuses to be a “soft teacake.”

Through her actions, Scout demonstrates a flexible view of gender.  Scout is not born with an innate predisposition to be a tomboy; rather her behaviours define her as a tomboy.  As she consistently repeats unconventional behaviours, she presents her own conception of what gender means.  Harper Lee depicts gender as a standard that alters according to each individual.

Gender Bending During WWII

The twentieth century brought a shift in attitudes towards tomboys.  During the years in which Harper Lee grew up and wrote her novel, America advocated the home as a woman’s domain.  During WWII views changed as women entered the workforce assuming positions previously considered to be masculine.  Michelle Ann Abate in Tomboys: A Literary and Cultural History. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2008 (p.146) refers to Rosie the Riveter as an icon of “tomboyish toughness”.  However, society’s high regard for gender-bending females was temporary, when the war ended, women once again returned to their homes (Abate p.150).

To Kill a Mockingbird also Reflects this Ambivalence Concerning Gender-bending Females

The novel contains characters who both support and disapprove of Scout’s tomboyism.  For instance, Aunt Alexandra wants Scout to wear a dress, while Atticus allows her to wear overalls.  Moreover, other characters paradoxically condemn feminine mannerisms while simultaneously expecting them.  Scout’s brother Jem, for instance, frequently teases her for being a girl, but he also commands, “It’s time you started bein’ a girl and acting right!”.

Scout Stays Resolute

Even though she endures these conflicting principles, Scout stays resolute.  For example, when Jem criticizes her “girlish” fear of the Radley house, she shows masculine bravery and joins him in sneaking into the Radley yard.  On the other hand, when he suggests she “take up sewin’ or something,” Scout replies, “Hell no”.  Reflecting the twentieth-century’s hesitation over the changing roles of women, Jem has shifting expectations for Scout as a female.  Scout, however, remains steadfastly opposed to conventional femininity.

What’s not to love about this amazing book?  I can’t think of anything.

Private Home Tutoring of English Not an On-Line Free Tutoring Service

I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  I do not write student’s essays for them or give advice on essay prompts. However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.


Poetry Analysis Step by Step

Why Read Poems?

Some people say they don’t like poetry, it’s boring or they don’t understand it.  I think poetry is more like a song, the more you hear it the more you like it.  The words are very similar to poetry; in fact we can break down the verses of songs and see the meaning as poetry.

Poetry doesn’t have to be boring; it can also be funny like limericks.

Start with a Step by Step Analysis

Have a look at this Poetry Analysis Step by Step Flow Chart in PowerPoint to show you the way to read and understand a poem.  Follow it below as well with a full explanation of the Poetry Analysis Step by Step.

Poetry Analysis flow chart

1. Read a poem 2 or 3 times

Each time you read a poem you notice different things

When you read the poem a second time you pick up on ideas and themes that you may have missed the first time you read it.  Also the poet can have ideas hidden just below the surface of the words and as you read it again, the new ideas can jump out.

2. Paraphrase the poem by stanza next to the original text

Writing it in your own words is a good idea to make sense of the poem, so you know what it means in simple terms

Stanza means the verses of the poem just like a song

How the poet organises the stanzas in a poem is often an important aspect of the poem’s structure.  Nothing in a poem is by accident.  Poets choose their words carefully as well as giving careful thought to the form and layout of the poem.  You should ask yourself why the poet has done this or that because there will be a reason and there is an effect for everything in a poem.

3. Answer the 5 W’s

Who? Who is the poet referring to?

What? What is the poem about?

Why? Why is the poet writing about it?

When? When is the poem set, the time period?

Where? Where is the poem, the place the poet is taking about, the setting?

4. Identify the theme, message or topic

What is the poet trying to say? What is the poet’s message in the poem?

What is the point? Is the poet trying to make a specific point in the poem?

5. Identify and Highlight Examples of Literary Techniques


Definition: Simile is when you compare two nouns (persons, places or things) that are unlike, with “like” or “as.” “The water is like the sun.”  “The water is like the sun” is an example of simile because water and the sun have little in common, and yet they’re being compared to one another. The “is” is also part of what makes this stanza an example of simile. “The rain falls like the sun,rising upon the mountains.”


When something is described in terms of something else, ‘her eyes are the stars in the sky’ is a metaphor as one thing her eyes is being described in terms of another thing the stars. Metaphors are comparisons that show how two things that are not alike in most ways are similar in one important way. Metaphors are a way to describe something. Authors use them to make their writing more interesting or entertaining. Unlike similes that use the words “as” or “like” to make a comparison, metaphors state that something is something else.


Poets use words to create images in your mind.


This is the repetition of a consonant sound in the words.  For example slippery slithering snake is alliteration.


This is where human qualities or emotions are given to non human things.  The wind howled in agony all day.  He gazed at the angry sea.


The overall mood of the poem, the emotions can be sad, optimistic, solemn.

Point of View

From what point of view is the poet writing.

Private Home Tutoring of English Not an On-Line Free Tutoring Service

I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  I do not write student’s essays for them or give advice on essay prompts. However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.


Metalanguage for Drama and Plays

Plays have Some Special Features

Although many features of drama are similar to those of other narrative fiction genres, plays have some special features, most of which are directly related to the fact that a play is intended to be heard and seen as a live performance.  As drama is spoken, there is no narrative voice to describe places and characters or to explain characters’ thoughts and motives.  With the aid of stage directions, the dialogue has to create the characters and the context for the narrative, generate the narrative momentum and generally fill the audience in with background information.

Elements of Drama

Many students will be familiar with drama associated with news and programs on television that have heightened emotions, extremely intense situations, unpredictable and even horrific outcomes.  Most of these elements of drama are found in great tragedies in movies and stage drama like the works of William Shakespeare.  Elements found in tragedies include conflict, suspense, distress, pain and suffering.  Comedies, on the other hand set up conflicts of a different order, they are often based on misunderstandings between characters and fraught relationships.

Metalanguage [the language to describe language devices]

When you look at metalanguage for drama and plays there are some specific terms that are distinctly different from narrative texts.  However, many terms can be interchangeable with drama to create the appropriate meaning in the context of the drama or play being performed.

Below is a list of Metalanguage for Drama & Plays

The list incorporates other terms from narratives that you can consider when describing significant moments in a play that you are studying.

Metalanguage for Drama & Plays



Act The major sections into which plays are divided.  Each act includes several scenes.
Allegory Story in which there are 2 meanings, a literal meaning and a symbolic representation of the story.
Alliteration Repeating the initial consonant sounds of words close together to achieve an effect.
Allusion A reference to a famous figure or an event from literature, history or mythology.
Analogy A comparison to things that are very alike.
Antagonist A character opposite to the protagonist (main character).
Aside A short speech that a character gives directly to the audience.  Other characters remain on stage but it is understood by the audience that they cannot hear the aside.
Caricature Exaggerated description of a person.
Context Environment and situations surrounding the text.
Chorus A group of actors in Greek tragedy who are not characters in the play.  They speak between acts and comment on the morality of the characters’ actions and decisions.
Dialogue Anything said by one character to another character.  A play is written in dialogue.
Drama A work intended for performance on stage by actors.  Most drama is divided into the genres of tragedy or comedy.
Denouement The unraveling of a plot.
Dramatic irony Irony understood by the audience but not the characters in the play.
Epilogue Closing part of a speech or play.
Epitaph Statement carved on a tombstone that sums up a person’s life.
Eulogy Speech at a funeral.
Euphemism Indirect way of saying something that is unpleasant.
Fable A short story that has a lesson in life.
Flashback Device used by writers and film makers to return to events in the past.
Imagery Pictures created with words.
Irony Literal meaning is different from intended meaning.
Melodrama Play based on exaggerated or sensational part of a story.
Metaphor Figure of speech comparing one object with another.
Mise en scene Stage or film setting with all the elements that form the scene.
Monologue A part of a drama in which a single actor speaks alone.
Paradox A statement that appears to contradict itself but has some element of truth to it for example beautiful tyrant.
Personification A type of metaphor in which objects or animals are given human characteristics.
Plot Sequence of events in a text and play that tells the story.
Playwright The writer of the play.
Prologue Introduction to a play.
Protagonist The main character.
Repetition Repeating words over again for effect.
Scene Smaller sections into which the play is divided within each act.
Set Backdrops, furniture and props on the stage used to set the scene.
Setting Time and place in which the action occurs.
Soliloquy A speech made by a character when alone on stage.  Soliloquies let the audience know what the character is thinking and feeling.
Stage directions Made by the Director to help create meaning and establish settings and sound effects for the audience to follow.
Symbol Something used to represent something else.
Theme Central idea or issue behind the text or drama.
Tragedy Drama that tells of serious events that end with disastrous consequences.
Tragic hero Main character who suffers a down fall due to defeat or weakness in their character.

Private Home Tutoring of English Not an On-Line Free Tutoring Service

I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  I do not write student’s essays for them or give advice on essay prompts. However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.



What is Metalanguage in English?

What is Metalanguage in English?

This is a question many students ask.  They see it on criteria sheets for assessment tasks but never really understand the term or how it is used.

The Answer is:

Metalanguage in English is a language that describes language

One of the key skills required by students in VCE is using ‘appropriate metalanguage to discuss and analyse [your] own and others’ authorial choices’. Metalanguage is simply the words used to describe the language choices authors have made, and the choices you have made about your own writing.

I have put together a list of metalanguage terms with an explanation of each that you might find useful when asked to describe language used in your set texts.  Once you read through this list I am sure you will already know many of the terms mentioned below:

Allegory: Simply put, it’s a story in which the characters or  incidents symbolise key ideas that are usually ethical. Allegory is usually used to describe longer versions of the ‘fable’ form.

Ambiguity: Double meaning, often used deliberately by authors.

Antagonist: The character who sets himself or herself against the protagonist.

Anti-climax: A sudden ‘descent’ in excitement or effect, sometimes deliberately used by authors.

Audience: The intended readership for this piece of writing. Is it for an adult audience? A specialist audience who would understand the technical terms? A younger audience?

Author: The creator of a text.

Autobiography: The story of a person’s life, usually written by that same person. Sometimes you might talk of a story or novel having ‘autobiographical elements’ – pieces of personal history made into the creative work. Romulus My Father, is autobiographical.

Character: A person in a novel, short story or play.  Can be either major or minor characters.

Characterisation: The writer’s skill in creating realistic or effective sounding characters.

Cliché: An over-used or outworn phrase that has lost its effectiveness.

Climax: The point of greatest intensity in a narrative.

Context: The historical, social and cultural environment in which the narrative is set, such as a particular country during a war.

Counterplot: A sub-plot which contrasts with the main plot, often used to add meaning to the main plot.

Crisis Point: A point of significant conflict or tension.

Dialogue: Conversation between characters in a novel or story.

Dramatic conventions: Departures from reality which the audience is used to accepting when watching a play.

Epigraph: A short quote or statement, usually at the start of a book or chapter.

Epilogue: A short final section of a novel or play.

Fable: A short narrative in which some moral truth is shown through a story.

Figurative language: The opposite of literal language, figurative language is the language of imagination, and it makes demands of the reader to understand the meaning.

Flash-back:  A very common technique in film, but also in novels where the narrative returns suddenly to an earlier time in the story.

Form: The overall format of your piece of writing: short story, poem, blog entry, film script etc. Each form has a general set of expectations and conventions that have developed over time.

Genre: The ‘kind’ or ‘type’ of writing. The style within the form; ‘detective fiction’, ‘love poetry’. Genres often have certain conventions or expectations which you can follow, or sometimes break with, to great effect. Famous genres include the detective fiction genre, the romance genre and the gothic genre.

Idiom: The natural speech of the person being represented.

Imagery: Images are pictures in words, a common feature of poetry. Similes (‘the moon was sailing across the night sky like a balloon’) and metaphors (‘the moon was a balloon sailing across the night sky’) are typical of how images are constructed.

Indirect speech: The reporting, in a story or novel, of what someone else has said.

Irony: A figure of speech in which the meaning is the opposite of what is spoken.

Jargon: Technical or difficult language specific to a profession or sub-culture.

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a comparison is made between two things by stating one as the other.

Monologue: A speech by one person in a play; think of Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to be’ speech.

Montage: A dramatic effect built up by a series of short scenes or impressions, often in apparently random order where the effect is more important than the content of each scene.

Narrative: Simply put: a story. The events occur in the order they appear.

Narrative perspective: The source of the story telling, the way the story is told.

Narrator: The person or ‘voice’ that tells the story.

Orientation: The moment at which the story begins.  For example a character has just made a discovery, or a shipwreck survivor has just made it to shore.

Person: The authorial perspective, first person ‘I’, second person ‘you’, or third person ‘she/he/they.

Personification: Giving human qualities to non-human objects such as animals, the sea, the wind, etc.

Plot: The framework of the story and the conscious arrangement of its events.

Point of view: Is this piece of writing told from a particular perspective or from the point of a view of a character with unique views of their own?

Prologue: Literally, a ‘before speech’, a short speech or introduction before the main story begins.

Prose: The opposite of poetry, prose is direct expression without rhyme and with no regular rhythm. Almost all novels are written in prose.

Protagonist: The main character in a narrative.

Pun: A play on words where a word is used in two senses.

Purpose: Often, this might be more about multiple purposes, but revolves around what this piece is trying to do: to persuade, to inform, to record and document, or to make the reader feel something specific?

Register: The variety and scope of language related to a specific type of communication setting, such as a formal register, or in the register of educational discourse.

Resolution: The section in which conflict is resolved.

Rhetorical Question: A question put for effect, that requires no answer, and expects none.

Setting: Where a novel or play takes place, often a real or historical place (the play A Man for All Seasons is set in historical England) but it may be imaginative (Nineteen Eighty- Four is set in an imaginary London of the future).

Stage direction: An instruction or explanation by the playwright as to how the play should be staged, but sometimes more than this to involve a description of the intended mood or a character’s feelings. Arthur Miller uses long and detailed stage directions in The Crucible.

Style: The overall direction and voice of the piece; how the writer says things. It might be in a ‘realistic’ style, an ‘exaggerated’ style, etc.

Structure: The way the elements of the text are arranged.  The text may happen chronologically, in parallel or move backwards and forward in time using flash-backs and/or flash-forwards.

Sub-plot: A minor or secondary story underneath the main story, very often paralleling the main story in some way.

Symbolism: The use of something simple and concrete to represent much more complex ideas or concepts. In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, a glass paperweight comes to symbolize something about the beauty and fragility of the past.

Tense: Is the piece set in the past, present or future? Present tense might be something like, ‘I am walking along the beach. The sun is shining.’

Tone: The sound of a voice at specific moments in the piece of writing. Of course this will change through a piece, but if you are striving for a particular or specific tone at a particular point it might be worth saying so. You will also need to comment on the tone of a piece of writing in your language analysis tasks.

Theme: A major issue running through and explored by the text, such as friendship or growing up.

Tragedy: A representation, often in plays, of a human conflict ending in defeat and suffering, often due to some weakness or flaw in the character of the main tragic ‘hero’.

Turning Point: A point at which decisive change occurs.

Values: Qualities that the author and/or characters believe are important, such as loyalty and integrity.

Voice: The overall sound of the writing.

World View: The author’s overall view of the world as illustrated by the text.  For example the author may portray the world and human beings as doomed or capable of improvement or redemption.  In Girl with a Pearl Earring, the world view presented is that choices made in life when young often determine people’s future directions and that those choices can be limited by historical context, gender and class.

Use the list above for describing the metalanguage of novels and short stories and how the language constructs meaning for the reader in these texts.

Private Home Tutoring of English Not an On-Line Free Tutoring Service

I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  I do not write student’s essays for them or give advice on essay prompts. However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.









Essay Command Terms

What is an Essay Command Term?

When writing an essay for a test, SAC or exam there are specific essay command terms that you must interpret in order to answer and write what the teacher or examiner wants in that particular essay.

A very common essay command term used as a prompt in years 11 and 12 is the essay command term “discuss”.  It is very important that you follow this directional prompt carefully.  Do not just discuss the topic only.  You must also include both sides of the topic ie. the pros and cons as well as the implications they might have in context.

Here are some of the most important essay command terms with an explanation of what you are required to write:

Account for – requires an explanation or reason for an event or situation.  For example, account for the apparent rise in the average IQ – this does not mean write at length about who noted it or how they found it, or describe the history of IQ testing, or even debate whether IQ exists.  Rather, look at social, statistical, intellectual or procedural reasons why it might have happened.  These should include explanations from existing sources, but it’s worth trying to think of an original idea to add to the mix.

Assess – explain how important it is, e.g. assess the effect of television violence on children who watch it.  This would require evidence from research studies, together with an opinion on what it all means about the effect, and whether indeed it is a real effect.

Compare – consider the two or more subjects given: how they are alike, and how they are different.  If appropriate, views on whether one has more benefits than the other, or more negatives, would add substance.

Contrast – look just at the difference between what the question mentions.  If it fits into the wording of the question, add what is better about each one, and why. Differentiate is similar, but is often used where two things are easily confused.

Define – explain the meaning of a topic word.  This is usually followed by another instruction, possibly from this list, which will be at least as important as defining the term.

Discuss – a broad term.  Usually a brief explanation of the topic or item to discuss could be helpful, but the main thrust is to give the pros and cons, and then to go on to mention the implications they might have.

Evaluate – similar to assess.  It requires an in-depth look at the positives and negatives, with reference to research and any other sources.

Illustrate – explain the topic clearly, then quote examples and actual evidence which is relevant to it.  This is not a term which demands personal opinion.

Relate – an explanation of the relationship and links between the two or more things. It is all too easy to digress from this clear direction, for example lurching into a detailed description of each term or topic in great detail.

Trace– describe and explain the progression of the topic.  For example, “Trace the Development of the Superstore” would require a description of how it evolved to its present form from the earliest shops, or even from local market trading or bartering unless the question says otherwise.  Some explanation of why each step may have arisen would be good, providing time and word count permit – again unless the question specifically says not to do so.

Private Home Tutoring of English Not an On-Line Free Tutoring Service

I am NOT an on-line free tutoring service.  My resources on this website are for general use only.  I do not write student’s essays for them or give advice on essay prompts. However, for more intensive tutoring in a specific area of English, I will visit students in their own homes for private tutoring sessions that are paid on an hourly basis.