There has been long-standing debate on why Mainstream English is automatically within the top 4 subjects.
My stance on this issue is that language and our ability to speak and write relatively well is important.
To articulate your thoughts, comprehend and to be understood by others can be weapons of mass destruction.
Dun dun dun. Okay, perhaps, not mass destruction.
It’s a weapon- in a metaphorical sense.
The way you speak can be a measure of intellect and poise.
Right now, we are not going to have a long-winded and unnecessary debate on why English is automatically accounted into our atars. Let's start talking about tips and tricks on doing well in this subject.
So, get your cup of tea/coffee/shot of vodka ready.
(No, you won't be needing the last one to drown your stress and sorrows.) Uh-UH.
1. Get to know your texts.
Be friends with the characters within your novels and films. Decide on who you like best, which character are rooting for? Alternatively, which characters do you absolutely despise? (Oh, and if you despise all the characters, I challenge you to justify why! 😉 If you have read your texts at least once, engage in a discussion with your teachers, classmates and friends about it.
Ask what they thought of the text, their own interpretation of characters and themes underpinning the plot! Such casual discussions in relation to your texts will truly substantiate and advance your depth of knowledge.
Trust me, everyone likes talking about their opinions. (Us human beings, we are pretty narcissistic.)
Besides, the beauty of English or studying languages is that it is always an open-ended discussion with only grey areas. Never definitively right or wrong. Neither is it black or white!
Also, what I mean by getting to know your texts goes beyond annotating and highlighting!
Yes, go crazy with your new typo highlighters and new pens! Underline the quotes that caught your eye! Highlight in green the paragraphs you deem as pivotal in the text!
However, go that extra mile and write your own interpretation of the quote or paragraph.
‘What are the themes underlying the author’s words here?’
‘What is the character/author trying to convey?’
Passively reading the novels or watching Mabo 3/4 times will not enrich your understanding of its themes.
You need to interact with the texts!
If you know the plot and characters inside out, you have more time to conquer higher intellectual grounds relating to the text.
In the weeks coming to your first text response, you can continue to deepen your understanding of the key themes and ideas.
Ultimately, that constructs the juicy bits of your text response. Your teacher does not need to know the plot of Mabo again. They want to see how your discussion of themes and characters palpably links back to the given prompt.
Do not eat a thesaurus and regurgitate impressive sounding words at every given opportunity.
No, you need not use the word 'Sesquipedalian' every single time you write an essay. Ironically, the definition of ‘Sesquipedalian’ is as follows: characterized by long words; long-winded.
Little personal tidbit:
In Year 11 English, I fell in the trap of employing complex and unnecessarily fancy words. My grade in context pieces fell from an A+ (prior to the usage of newly found vocabulary) to a B+. I used vocabulary that made my expression terribly convoluted. Ultimately, you mustn’t sacrifice clarity for sophistication!
Keep a cool balance between clarity and sophisticated language.
So, simply nibble at the thesaurus and find synonyms to common words you repeatedly use throughout your writing.
For example, the word bank for 'persuade' encompasses:
This is particularly useful for language analysis pieces!
Alternatively, in text responses, instead of using ‘the character shows…’ , ‘This shows…
· This scene shows the importance of racial equality.
· This scene is central in registering the importance of racial equality. Other words you can use includes: distinctively demonstrates or provides discussion for.
Eg) "One prominent scene that highlights a distinct disparity in the treatment of whites and blacks is when a policeman gives Eddie an unwarranted pat down search."
And that’s a wrap!
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Now that school has officially started, I would just like to say:
P.S I am also a VCE Study Guides English tutor!