Memorized essays betray a lack of confidence and an unwillingness to commit to authentic answers. Examiners have always advised students to prepare 'talking points' instead - a selection of ideas that they can draw on and which convey solid analysis and interpretation of the text.
These talking points can be used by teachers, to focus discussion on higher-level or less-noticed features of the text and context. They also form effective student revision materials for formal assessment. Each point is supported by a piece of evidence from the text, and there are sufficient points to generate solid responses to almost any essay question. The Talking Points also model how students can articulate more complex thoughts about the text, and adduce evidence in natural and well-integrated writing.
The essay is a three-part resource for students undertaking the NSW HSC Advanced English Module A: Textual Conversations
1. A generic essay plan shows students how to compose an essay suitable for Stage 6, progressing them from the simpler PEEL/TEAL models of Stage 4 and 5.
2. A sample essay for the prescribed texts, The Tempest and Hag-Seed, answers a sample question for this module.
3. There is also a second copy of the essay, marked up to show how it follows the plan, and with five short questions which require students to engage critically with the essay and its form.
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