Language Analysis - zoom in, zoom out
More thought on this analysis approach (please refer to last blog entry). I keep on coming back to questions. If the student can ask themselves the right kind of questions when they're reading a text, they're heading in the right direction. So, with this in mind, I had a tuition session with a Year 11 and felt it was time to explore further this questioning approach. I took a sample creative writing response (from a previous moderation for English Language Paper 1 - it achieved a high level 4 from the mark scheme) and focussed on an open question, 'how does the writer use language to engage the reader?'.
First we highlighted individual engaging words e.g. 'naked (forest)'. Then thought of connotations related to this word: vulnerable, exposed. Next, we asked ourselves how does the character feel at this point? Maybe threatened and frightened. Then, how do we feel towards the character here? It might be sympathy. Finally, why does the writer want us to feel this way at this point in the narrative? Maybe because he wants to foreshadow danger ahead or by creating sympathy for this character is leads us to share her ordeal with empathy so we trust her view which might be important later on in the story. I cam up with this questioning sequence:
Find a word that interests you (in terms of the question).
Think of connotations of that word (again, related to the question).
Consider how the character feels at this point.
Consider how you feel towards the character at this point.
Explore what the writer's purpose could be at this point (e.g. why does he want the reader to feel sympathy for the character?)
The responses to this line of questioning would produce an impressively thoughtful and explorative paragraph.
In order to prompt the student to make more sophisticated vocabulary choices and more subtle explorations, I will make up a vocabulary board of 'mood/atmosphere' adjectives (watch this space...).