Unit: Module a dialogue

ATESOL NSW Professional Development Program 2005

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ATESOL NSW Professional Development Program 2005

Unit: Module A Dialogue

Strictly Ballroom

This unit of work was developed by Teresa Baroni and Josephine Pecorella of All Saints’ Senior Catholic College, Casula and Bozena Szymanska of Mary MacKillop College, Wakeley, as part of the 2004-5 ATESOL NSW Quality Teacher Programme Project: Programming ESL in English 7-12 within a Quality Teaching framework.
Commonwealth of Australia 2005

This work is copyright. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes, subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for the purposes other than those indicated above requires the written permission of the Department of Education, Science and Training. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and copyright should be addressed to the Director, Quality Teaching Section, Schools Group, Department of Education, Science and Training, GPO Box 9880, Canberra, ACT 2601.


The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training.


This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training as a quality teacher initiative under the Australian Government Quality Teacher Programme.

Stage 6 English (ESL) HSC Course * Module A: Experience Through Language – Elective 2: Dialogue

Syllabus outcomes and content
Language to be taught

Teaching and learning sequence


Quality Teaching Elements

1. A student demonstrates understanding of how relationships between composer, responder, text and context shape meaning by:

    1. Identifying features of particular texts and describing their effect on meaning

4. A student uses language relevant to the study of English including:
4.3 language of personal, social, historical, cultural and workplace contexts
8. A student adapts a variety of textual forms to different purposes, audiences and contexts in all modes by:
8.4 composing and adapting texts to address different purposes and audiences

Vocabulary, sentence structure, punctuation, volume, tone and pace

Direct and indirect speech
Structure and language features of an interview

Activity 1 (H.1)

Students read monologues and in pairs identify how language used by different speakers reveals their age, gender, and social status.

They share the result of their discussion.
Informally students are assessed on their discussion of the texts.

Activity 2 (H. 2)

Students provide their own definitions of dialogue and distinguish between direct and indirect speech.

Activity 3

In pairs students choose one monologue and construct their own dialogues. Alternately, they can choose a different situation and compose dialogue.
Teacher feedback on students’ dialogues.

Handout 1

Different monologues and a grid.

Handout 2

Definitions of dialogue and examples of an interview.

Intellectual Quality:

  • Metalanguage

  • Substantive communication

Quality Learning Environment:

  • Engagement

  • Social support


  • Background knowledge

  • Cultural knowledge

4. A student uses language relevant to the study of English including:
4.5 conventions of language

1. A student demonstrates understanding of how relationships between composer, responder, text and context shape meaning by:

    1. explaining the ways in which changes in elements of the contexts of particular texts influence meaning

13. A student reflects on own processes of responding and composing by:
13.2 articulating the ways they approach texts

5. A student demonstrates understanding of how audience and purpose affect the language and structure of texts by:
5.1 identifying the language features and structures of texts composed for different audiences and purposes
7. A student analyses the effect of technology on meaning by:
7.1 analysing texts produced by a range of technologies

7.2 describing and explaining the effects of technological forms and conventions in personal, social, historical, cultural and workplace contexts

9.A student engages with the details of text in order to develop a considered and informed personal response by:
9.3 composing extended arguments supported by textual evidence

12. A student draws upon imagination to transform experience and ideas into text, demonstrating control of language by:
12.2 experimenting with ways of transforming experience into texts in different contexts for specified audiences

Metalanguage referring to functions and conventions of dialogue

Language of stage directions and instructions for actors in a play

Features of spoken language including tone, volume, pace, body language


Imperative mood

Verbal signals in a conversation.

Text structure:

Structure of an essay.

Language conventions:

Functions of dialogue and verbal and non-verbal conventions of dialogue that convey these functions

Structure and language features of different analytical and creative responses (eg. essay, speech, interview, feature article).

Formats of different dialogues and interviews – revision.

Activity 4 (H.3 A 3 B,)

Brainstorming activity – students discuss different functions of dialogue and conventions of dialogue. It is followed by a matching exercise.

Activity 5 (H. 4) -optional

Using Handout 3 A, in pairs students analyse their own dialogues to explain which conventions of dialogue they have used and why.

Activity 6 (H. 5)

Students read a scene from Away and are asked to rewrite the scene, adding stage directions and instructions for actors regarding their voice

Teacher corrects and gives feedback on students’ stage directions.
Activity 7 (H. 6) – alternative

Students read a passage from Norm and Ahmed. They discuss the relationship between the two characters and what advice they would give to actors (re tone/volume/pace of voice and body language) for acting this scene to show their relationship.

Students prepare a set of instructions for actors.

Activity 8(H. 7A and B)

Listening task

Students listen to different scenarios (Guido Hatzis) and they are asked to identify different elements of dialogue (language and other verbal signals) and how they reveal the relationship between the speakers (who controls the conversation).
Students analyse a sample essay response.
Students write mini-essays: ‘Explain how Guido Hatzis controls the conversation. Substantiate your answer with textual evidence.’
Activity 9 (H. 8 and 9)

Before viewing the film students are reminded of the different functions of dialogue and conventions of dialogue which convey these functions (refer to Handout 3).

The teacher elicits and pre-teaches background information about the film.
Viewing Strictly Ballroom:
- look at the purpose of the film

- discuss how visual, sound and language elements of dialogue reveal characters, relationships, and themes.

How are the characters and their relationships represented through dialogue?
How are themes represented through dialogue.

(Teachers can choose other functions of dialogue.)

Activity 10 (H.10 A and B)

Sample HSC questions. Students discuss different exam questions, choose one and write their own response.

They compare their extended responses with model responses and edit their own work.
Activity 11 (H. 11)

Assessment task.

Revisit the text formats required for the task and elements of dialogue students need to consider in their creative writing.
Discuss the writing criteria.
Students complete the formal assessment task independently.
Teacher gives feedback using marking guidelines sheet.

Handout 3 A and 3 B

Functions of dialogue and conventions of dialogue

Matching exercise

Handout 4

Matrix to analyse students’ own dialogues

Handout 5

Passage from play Away by Michael Gow

(Alternatively teachers can choose a scene from any other play.)

Handout 6

Passage selected by teacher from play Norm and Ahmed by Alex Buzo
List of “tone’ words.
Handout 7 A and B

Listening text from Guido Hatzis Album (Radio Triple M)

Available on www.google.com.au
Students listen to text and analyse how dialogue reveals relationships.
Essay structure.
Sample of an essay response adapted from BOS English ESL Standards Package CD, 2002

Handouts 8, 9 and 9 B

Matrices to use for the analysis of different scenes from Strictly Ballroom.

Prescribed text: Film Strictly Ballroom, produced by Baz Lurhmann

Handout 10 A and B

10.A Examples of questions from past HSC exam papers.
10.B samples of different analytical responses.

Handout 11

Assessment task instructions.

Intellectual Quality:

  • Deep knowledge

  • Deep understanding

  • Metalanguage

  • Substantive communication

Quality Learning Environment:

  • Engagement

  • Explicit quality criteria


  • Background knowledge

  • Connectedness

Intellectual Quality:

  • Metalanguage

  • Deep understanding

  • Substantive communication

Quality Learning Environment:


  • Cultural knowledge

  • Connectedness

  • Knowledge integration

Intellectual Quality:

  • Metalanguage

  • Deep knowledge

  • Deep understanding

  • Higher order thinking

Quality Learning Environment:

  • Explicit quality criteria

  • Engagement

  • High expectations


  • Cultural knowledge

  • Knowledge integration

  • Connectedness




So I told her azaleas won’t work in this spot it’s too hot ’ere and they’ll be burnt to crisps in the summer like when her rhodos carked it in that hot spell in ’68 how could she forget it that’s what I want to know well she says in her plummy voice I want azaleas in this corner and you just do what I say Spade remembering that I’m your boss and you’re just a worker here what choice does a man have when he has to work for ‘is bread and butter not to mention jam ha ha


I hate Bruce. You should’ve seen what he did to me today at kindy. I was just swinging on the swing when he came and pushed me right off and I got into trouble because it was his turn on the swing. Well I thought it was a good trick telling him it was snack time so when he ran in, I jumped on the swing.

I hate my teacher too. Mrs. Ryan. She told me I had to go and sit in the corner for stealing the swing when it wasn’t my turn and now I can’t have a cake at snack time. I only get crackers and water. It’s not fair. All those goody-goody girls that stand next to her all laughed at me when I got into trouble. I hate them too.

I hate my mum. She said I can’t watch TV at all today because I tipped my corn flakes on my little baby sister this morning. I only did it to stop her crying so much but it didn’t work.

I hate my little sister, she always has pooey nappies, she smells horrible, and she always cries. After she eats her stinking food she throws up.

So now I have to sit here in the corner and stare at the wall until Mrs. Ryan says I can go. I hate looking at the wall. And I’m not eating my crackers and water at snack time either. I think that after I go home from here, I will go and beat up those goody-goody girls because I hate them.


Mate, it has been the worst game I’ve ever played in my life. Things ain’t easy when you’ve got the coach on your back.
Funny how they’re your mates when you’re kicking ‘em good, but it all changes when you’re not…

HANDOUT 1 (continued)


They’re looking at me. I can feel it. Staring at me. I bet they feel sorry for someone like me. I was always a chubby child. Always teased. Fatso they would yell. I hated all those skinny girls. Flat stomachs, thin long legs, small pear-shaped faces. That was never me. Of course I tried losing weight. It’s too hard. If I had a dollar for every time I ate something with more than ten grams of fat, I would be rich. I’ve always wanted to be thin. They’re still looking at me. I can feel it. It is so humiliating being in a fabric shop and asking for five metres of material just to make a skirt. They’re still looking at me. They look away quickly, but as soon as I turn my back they’re staring again.


I used to have a real handbag you know, a soft one made of leather, it wasn’t always plastic bags from Sydney. You wouldn’t think it to look at me though. I suppose you wouldn’t believe I was pretty once either, never beautiful mind you, but I didn’t look like this. Now the council’s trying to get me to move on. Young councillor come up to me the other day, smarmy young fellow, told me this is a posh suburb, they don’t want people like me around, think we might spoil the tourists’ view. Don’t know where I could go though. Besides I’ve got a right to stay here, I was born in that big house there. You don’t believe me do you? I’ve lived here longer than any of the councillors on that stupid council. Now you’re walking away from me. Why? Do you think I’m senile? Just a crazy old hag?

(Source of monologues unknown)


WHO IS THE SPEAKER (age, gender, social background)?



WHAT IS THE SPEAKER’S PURPOSE (Why is he speaking?

WHO IS THE SPEAKER’S AUDIENCE? (Who is the speaker talking to?)





It was nearly dark as I stepped out of the picture theatre into noisy peak-hour traffic. Turning left, I walked slowly along the street, engrossed in thoughts of the film I had just seen.

“That guy was terrific …. imagine killing a fly with a peashooter, blindfolded …. fighting twelve guys at once and not even creasing your pants – what a beauty!” were the thoughts that filtered through my mind.

I sat down at the bus stop and was asked the time by a kindly old man also waiting there.

“Watch it, pop – I’ll have you on the ground in a Chinese death-hold before you take your next breath,” I thought, mentally flexing my muscles.

“The time? – ten past five,” I said soberly.

The bus arrived and I nonchalantly boarded it, only to be stopped by the driver.

“Hey, son, what about your fare?”

“Listen, punk. I ought to break you into little pieces and scatter you in the gutter – show a bit of respect!” The words boomed in my ears.

“All right, here’s ten cents. I sometimes forget. You know how it is,” I said sheepishly and walked to the back of the bus.

I was home by five thirty and was just in time for tea.

“I know you’re trying to poison me, but it’ll do you no good – I’ve got so many stomach fluids that even if I drink a gallon of poison I’ll burp. No one gets the better of me,” I thought and ate the meal confidently.

“How was the picture, dear?” Mum asked, gazing at me thoughtfully.

“Listen, you old bag – don’t push me about. I talk to you – you don’t talk to me.”

“Oh, it wasn’t too bad, Mum.”

Anthony Breman (15)

1. How does the boy’s language shape his relationships with the people around him?

2. How would his internal dialogue shape his relationships with the people around him? (What would have happened to him if he had actually said what he had imagined?)
3. What do both dialogues reveal about the boy?

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