Sample Unit – English – Year 12 Advanced Sample for implementation for Year 12 from Term 4, 2018



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Sample Unit – English – Year 12 Advanced

Sample for implementation for Year 12 from Term 4, 2018

Unit Title

Year 12 Common Module: Texts and Human Experience

Duration: 30 hours


Unit Description

This unit demonstrates an approach to the Year 12 Common Module for Advanced students. Teachers can add, change or delete activities based on the school context and needs of students. Teachers may also need to include additional opportunities to explicitly teach skills in reading and writing to address the particular needs of students. The prescribed text used for this unit is Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. Students will also have the opportunity to read and respond to a range of other texts, including poems, an extract of a novel, an essay, an animated documentary, a television documentary, podcasts and speeches. These texts connect with the prescribed text through the study of particular areas of human experiences, including:

  • Witch-hunting (to be explored in its broadest sense)

  • Transgression and redemption

  • Power and justice.

Note: There is more material in this unit than a teacher could typically deliver in 30 indicative hours. It is expected that teachers will choose texts and learning activities that are appropriate to the student’s needs and the school context.

Outcomes

EA12-1, EA12-2, EA12-3, EA12-4, EA12-5, EA12-6, EA12-7, EA12-8, EA12-9

Focus Questions

  1. How can composers use language and other resources to represent the range and complexity of individual and collective human experiences in texts?

  2. How can purpose and context, mode and medium influence the ways in which human experiences are represented?

  3. To what extent are responses to representations of human experiences shaped by the text and by the perspectives they bring to the text?

Text Requirements

Students study ONE prescribed and study ONE related text for the Year 12 Common Module.

Assessment Overview


Informal assessments

  • Students write an essay tracing another character’s experience of transgression and redemption, comparing it with the experience of Proctor.

  • Students think about one of the documentaries that you have studied and explain your emotional response to the text with reference to the ideas and effectiveness of the techniques used to present those ideas.

  • In groups, students, write and present a speech or podcast presenting a particular perspective on the issue of power.

Formal Assessment 25%

  • Students present a multimodal presentation using the prescribed text and related material






Content

Teaching, learning and assessment

Resources

EA12-5 thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively, critically and discerningly to respond to, evaluate and compose texts that synthesise complex information, ideas and arguments

  • analyse how text structures, language features and stylistic elements shape meaning and create particular effects and nuances, for example through allusions, paradoxes and ambiguities (ACELR005)



Unpacking the module rubric
Students read the rubric and underline important phrases. They draw a line beneath any words or sentences that are unclear and discuss terminology and meaning.
Students identify the key words that capture the essence of what needs to be studied in the module, for example ‘how texts represent individual and collective experiences’. They should focus on the key concept of representation. Check the syllabus glossary and the reference to ‘representation’ in the English Textual Concepts website. Essentially representation involves two key questions: ‘what’ and ‘how’…

  • What aspects of human experiences are represented in texts?

  • How do texts represent these aspects of human experiences?

Teachers discuss the following aspects of/and questions about the rubric with students:



  • The word ‘evaluate’ in the first paragraph can be clarified with another key question: ‘how well’…

  • How well do texts represent aspects of human experiences?

  • Aspects of human experiences that might be represented in texts? Words such as: ‘individual and collective human experiences’, ‘human qualities and emotions’, ‘human behaviour and motivations’. What other aspects of human experiences could texts represent?

  • The use of the words ‘anomalies, paradoxes and inconsistencies’ in relation to human behaviour and motivations. The rubric is presenting a notion of human experiences that are complex, and possibly problematic. Why does the rubric invite us to delve into the messiness of human experiences?

  • What aspects of texts might be utilised to represent human experiences in particular ways? Note terms such as:

  • language

  • forms, modes and media

  • structure, stylistic and grammatical features

  • storytelling (which brings to mind features such as narrative technique, point of view, allegory and characterisation, as well as a variety of forms)

  • visual, verbal and/or digital language elements of different modes and media

  • Brainstorm particular examples of techniques used by composers to make meaning and discuss how they relate to the terms used in the rubric to depict ways of representing.

  • The broad notion of ‘language’ as the term is used in the rubric. Language is not just the written word, but extends to the spoken word, visual language and digital language. Check the definition of language in the glossary of the syllabus – does this definition confirm the meaning of the term in the rubric?

  • The rubric is not just focusing on what composers are doing to make meaning; it also focuses on how audiences contribute to this meaning making through their response to texts. Students will be composing texts that are responses to texts that are studied and composing their own imaginative texts representing aspects of human experience themselves. Identify any verbs and verbals used in the rubric that describe what students will do in their learning for this module. Clarify the meaning of these action words.

  • Identify the two sentences that use of the word ‘may’ and consider the meaning of these two sentences, and perhaps the nature of the learning in this module generally?

See description of representation as a key concept in subject English at the English Textual Concepts website:

http://englishtextualconcepts.nsw.edu.au/




EA12-1 independently responds to, composes and evaluates a range of complex texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure

  • evaluate the relationship between responder, composer, text and context

  • critically evaluate the aesthetic qualities of texts and the power of language to express personal ideas and experiences

EA12-3 critically analyses and uses language forms, features and structures of texts justifying appropriateness for specific purposes, audiences and contexts and evaluates their effect on meaning

  • engage with complex texts through their specific language forms, features and structures to understand particular representations of human experience and appreciate the power of language to shape meaning

EA12-5 thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively, critically and discerningly to respond to, evaluate and compose texts that synthesise complex information, ideas and arguments

  • critically evaluate the use of figurative language and rhetorical devices to represent concepts and shape arguments, for example symbolism, metonymy, irony or imagery (ACELR009)

EA12-7 evaluates the diverse ways texts can represent personal and public worlds and recognises how they are valued

  • appreciate, analyse and speculate about the power of language to represent personal and public worlds for critical reflection and pleasure (ACELR038)

  • evaluate the effect of context on shaping the social, moral and ethical perspectives in texts

Preparatory study of The Crucible
Students read, listen to and/or view The Crucible. They consolidate reading by keeping a reading log that consists of:

  • a list of interesting quotes, each explained and discussed

  • observations about the representation of human experiences in the play at the end of each act.

Students complete the following activities:



  • Identify the main characters in the play. Draw and annotate a character web showing connections between the characters.

  • Draw a graph representing the key events in the rise and fall of action. Indicate the stages in the structure of the play: orientation, rising action/complications, climax(es), resolution or denouement.

  • Research the context of The Crucible, including information on the following areas:

  • When was The Crucible written?

  • Events in USA at the time Miller wrote the play, particularly relating to the Cold War and McCarthyism. Find references to contemporaneous events in the passages of authorial intrusion in the play.

  • Miller’s life at the time the play was written. To what extent is Miller’s personal context reflected in the play?

  • Despite good reviews, The Crucible was not a particularly popular play when first produced – even though it has been the most widely produced of his plays worldwide ever since. Can you explain why?

  • What were Miller’s purposes in writing The Crucible?

  • Examine the techniques used by Miller in The Crucible. Create a table using three headings:

Examples of techniques for the first column:



  • structure – four acts, rising tension

  • dramatic qualities: action, gesture, facial expression, dialogue, sound effects, lighting, costume, props, scenery, stage directions

  • language features: historically authentic language, unique voices, colloquial language, theological and legal language, ritualistic language, poetic and figurative language

  • other techniques: authorial intrusion, significance of title, characterisation, point of view.

  • Brainstorm human experiences that are represented in The Crucible. Allow students to come up with their own ideas, e.g. repression, fear, vengeance, marriage, theocracy, the law. While all these examples have merit, discuss the value in identifying human experiences common to several characters and which show development through the course of the play. Consider these broader areas of human experience:

  • witch-hunting (to be explored in its broadest sense)

  • transgression and redemption

  • power and justice

These three areas of human experience will be explored in the later stages of this unit in a range of texts.


Teachers introduce the formal assessment task that will be completed at the end of this unit. This enables students to start the process of selecting their own texts. The task requires students to independently identify and read/view/listen to a text that relates to one of the three areas above. A short list of possible texts of own choosing is provided.

The Crucible, by Arthur Miller, Penguin, UK, 1968
Examples of appropriate texts of own choosing: Witch-hunting

  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist, novel by Mohsin Hamid

  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist, film directed by Mira Nair

  • The Kite Runner, novel by Khaled Hosseini

  • The Kite Runner, film by Marc Forster

  • The Scarlet Letter, novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Burial Rites, novel by Hannah Kent

  • Jasper Jones, novel by Craig Silvey

  • Jasper Jones, film by Rachel Perkins

  • Jasper Jones, play based on Silvey’s novel, adapted by Kate Mulvany

Transgression and redemption

  • Lord Jim, novel by Joseph Conrad

  • Schindler’s Ark, novel by Thomas Keneally

  • Schindler’s List, film directed by Steven Spielberg

  • The Fiftieth Gate, nonfiction by Mark Raphael Baker

  • The Shoe-Horn Sonata, play by John Misto

  • Atonement, novel by Ian McEwan

  • Goblin Market, poem by Christina Rossetti

  • The North Water, by Ian McGuire

Power and justice

  • Anil’s Ghost, novel by Michael Ondaatje

  • The United Kingdom, film directed by Amma Asante

  • The Justice Game, nonfiction by Geoffrey Robertson

  • Snow Falling on Cedars, novel by David Guterson

  • The First Stone, nonfiction by Helen Garner

  • Joe Cinque’s Consolation, nonfiction by Helen Garner




EA12-1 independently responds to, composes and evaluates a range of complex texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure

  • critically engage with complex texts from a variety of personal, social, historical and cultural contexts, and evaluate how these contexts impact on meaning

  • critically evaluate the aesthetic qualities of texts and the power of language to express personal ideas and experiences

EA12-4 strategically adapts and applies knowledge, skills and understanding of language concepts and literary devices in new and different contexts

  • use knowledge of language concepts to engage with unfamiliar textual forms or complex texts in unfamiliar contexts

EA12-5 thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively, critically and discerningly to respond to, evaluate and compose texts that synthesise complex information, ideas and arguments

  • analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of argument in imaginative, informative and persuasive texts




Representation of human experience: witch-hunting
The teacher positions the play as a dramatic recreation of witch-hunts that occurred in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Students research the history of the Salem witch trials and prosecutions of 1692.

  1. To what extent is Miller’s representation of events historically accurate?

  2. To what extent did Miller change history? Can you explain why he did this?

  3. Are the events in Salem a unique event in human history? At what other times and in what other places, and how have ‘witches’ been persecuted in history? Does the practice still occur today? Read the Wikipedia entry for ‘Modern witch-hunts’ and the smithsonian.com article ‘Why do witch-hunts still happen?’

  4. Most people accused of witchcraft, and this was certainly the case in Salem, were women. What kinds of women were most likely to be accused of witchcraft? Can you explain why there has been the propensity to attack women in this way?

  5. The term ‘witch-hunt’ is often used as a metaphor for persecution of any individual or group perceived to be unorthodox or a threat to society, not just witches. What kinds of witch-hunts were occurring at the time Miller wrote his play? Can you explain why he chose to write about historical witch-hunts rather than deal directly with these contemporaneous events?

Students listen to The Economist interview of Tom Morris, entitled ‘Arthur Miller and modern-day witch hunts’. According to Morris, why does the play still resonate with audiences today? How has social media contributed to the modern-day phenomenon of witch-hunts?


Students review the sites that deal with metaphoric witch-hunts and make a list of individuals or groups who are persecuted. What do these individuals or groups tend to have in common? In what ways are the victims of witch-hunts scapegoats? What motivates the witch-hunts?
At the end of Act 3, Proctor, exasperated by the perfidy and hypocrisy of the court, declares:
“A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be a fraud – God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!”.
Proctor is denouncing authority figures who promote dubious witch-hunts. In the examples of witch-hunts identified through your search of the web, who (like Proctor) is calling out the witch-hunters? What methods are they using to redress the injustices caused to victims of witch-hunts?
Students read the opinion piece ‘Hunt Terrorists in Paris Massacre, Not Witch-hunt Muslims’, by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, in The Huffington Post blog. What event in 2016 precipitated this commentary? What argument is Hutchinson making in this opinion piece? Evaluate the effectiveness of the argument.
Teacher guides a class discussion on the importance of characterisation in The Crucible as a means to show the range and complexity of experiences of witch-hunting.
Students review other techniques used by Miller in The Crucible. How does he utilise these techniques to represent human experiences related to the notion of witch-hunting? In particular, how does he use dramatic techniques and language features to show the viciousness and hypocrisy of those who label witches and the anguish and suffering of those so branded?


‘Arthur Miller and modern-day witch hunts’, interview of Tom Morris, The Economist, 22 October 2015

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2015/10/economist-asks-tom-morris


‘Hunt Terrorists in Paris Massacre, Not Witch-hunt Muslims’, by Earl Ofari Hutchinson, in The Huffington Post blog: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/hunt-terrorists-in-paris-massacre-not-muslims_b_8564894.html
Extract from The Natural Way of Things is available at Charlotte Wood’s website: Chapters 1-4 from The Natural Way of Things
Smithsonian.com – ‘Why Do Witch Hunts Still Happen?’

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-do-witch-hunts-still-happen-180957106/


Modern witch-hunts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_witch-hunts




EA12-1 independently responds to, composes and evaluates a range of complex texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure

  • analyse and evaluate how and why texts influence and position readers and viewers (ACEEN040)

EA12-3 critically analyses and uses language forms, features and structures of texts justifying appropriateness for specific purposes, audiences and contexts and evaluates their effect on meaning

  • engage with complex texts through their specific language forms, features and structures to understand particular representations of human experience and appreciate the power of language to shape meaning

Representation of human experience in a related text - witch-hunting
Students read an extract (first four chapters, pp 1-20) from The Natural Way of Things, by Charlotte Wood, then use the following questions to guide analysis of the extract:

  1. How and why does Wood establish a setting that is both contemporary and Australian?

  2. Who is the ‘she’ on pages 1-4? What do we learn about her?

  3. Discuss the significance of Yolanda’s memory.

  4. Comment on the irony of the sentence: “Perhaps she was mad, and all would be well.” (p2)

  5. How does Wood establish Yolanda’s connection with nature?

  6. Discuss the effect of the final sentence in the first chapter: “She breathed in and out, longed for nicotine, curled in the bed, watching the door.” (p4)

  7. How does Wood represent the conflicted state of Verla, caught between drugged stupor and burning outrage? Identify some sentences and discuss their effectiveness.

  8. What does Verla expect will happen? What is the reality?

  9. Comment on Wood’s use of similes and metaphors to depict Verla’s situation.

  10. What is the significance of the women gripping each other’s hands?

  11. Why does Yolanda volunteer to go first (p12)? Why does she look for wires and plugs? What has she volunteered for after all? Why is she so relieved?

  12. The ‘stoner’ seems to be a fairly innocuous character at first. When do we see a darker, more menacing, side to his character?

  13. Discuss the impact of the simile found in: “…exactly as a sheep… terror of the sheep yard…” (p15). Students find the quote and consider how the sounds contribute to the impact?

  14. When Verla pleads, “’I need to know where I am’, the pock-faced man responds, ‘Oh, sweetie. You need to know what you are.” (p16) What is he implying? How do his subsequent actions confirm Verla’s status in this new world?

  15. How does Wood’s use of imagery and sentence structure in the description of the setting on pp 17-18 contribute to the sense of desolation and dread?

  16. Why does Verla initially laugh when taken to ‘Admissions’? What causes her to feel rage?

  17. Discuss the effect of the final sentence in the extract: “While Verla curls, weeping on the dusty floor, Boncer returns to his desk and his rattling papers”.




The Natural Way of Things, novel by Charlotte Wood

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