Distinctively Visual Related Texts Essay Writer

Modules. They’re confusing, fast paced and a little tricky to get a grasp of until you’ve actually done them – which can make them pretty daunting.

This collection of Understanding HSC Standard English articles aims to make them a little easier to understand and a lot easier to complete as you work through your HSC year. In them we’ll break down exactly what each module looks at, including how each elective within Modules A and C differ, and show you what you need to know to tackles these topics.

You can find the rest of the articles over at our Standard English Modules Megapost, but for now keep reading to learn more about Module A, Elective 2: Distinctively Visual!

Step 1: Understanding modules


You’ve probably come to this article because you’re probably wondering what on earth Distinctive Voices are all about. What is it? What is ‘distinctively visual’? What makes something visually distinct? How exactly does something which is visually distinct help me to experience through language? These are all legitimate questions!

In order to understand modules, you need to break down what it is and how you interact with your texts.

When it comes to understanding modules there are four key things to consider, which I like to call the Four T’s.Topic, Time, Texts and Tests.


Modules are essentially mini areas of study (with Discovery being your actual Area of Study). They’re shorter courses focussed on a specific concept or idea related to the study of English and/or English literature and always focus on a specific theme or topic. Their aim is to get you to think about English and texts in different ways and then respond to the ideas presented in essays that you’ll write both for class marks and in Paper 2 of your HSC English Exam.

Modules A and C have two electives each, meaning that your teachers will choose what sub-topic you study within that module. You don’t have to worry too much about electives – just make sure that you know which one you’re studying come exam time so you don’t end up answering the question for a different elective!

Simplified, this means that each module is a new topic, and each of these topics looks at a different idea about English and English texts.


As mentioned before your modules are shorter courses than your Area of Study.

While you spend 45 hours on Discovery, you spend a total of 75 hours on all three modules – meaning 25 hours per module. That’s almost half as much time as what you spend on discovery, making the study a lot more fast-paced and self-driven, so if you don’t keep up you could fall behind! But don’t worry; that’s what we’re here for – try these articles on making effective to-do lists and getting started on study notes to get ahead.


For each module you’ll be given at least one prescribed text that you’ll have to read pretty quickly – check out this article to make the most of reading it. Teachers are given a list of possible prescribed texts for each module/elective and then choose which one they will teach you, so you don’t get a say in what text you study.

Over the course of all three modules you’ll end up studying one of each text type. That means that you could end up being prescribed a film and novel for Module A, a set of speeches for Module B and a play for Module C (that’s what I got!). The aim of this is to make sure you learn how to interpret and analyse a whole bunch of different text types, so you won’t be able to slack off on any specific one! As you work through the modules you’ll have to adapt and learn how to write about and analyse each text type specifically – check out these articles for key techniques for written texts and visual texts.


Your HSC English Exam Paper 2 is made up entirely of modules-based questions and will end up asking you to write three essays – one on each of the modules you studied. The questions are usually pretty broad because they have to apply to all of the possible prescribed texts within the module and elective, so they tend to focus more on themes and ideas about the module than the text itself.

We’ll look more at marking criteria later, but the key thing to remember about the exam is that it wants you to answer the question with your module in mind! Make sure to always link your arguments back to the question and focus on themes that are important to not only the text but the module as well. You also have to remember to use sophisticated language, analyse the specific text type and present complex arguments, but I’m pretty sure that much is obvious by now!

Step 2: Breaking Down Module A

In order to tackle modules, you need to know what module you’re studying, as what you’re studying might actually be different to what your friends are studying. If you’re here, you’re here for the first of the two electives from Module A: Experience Through Language, and that elective is Distinctively Visual. Thus, you need to understand what Experience Through Language is in order for you to understand what it’s all about.

The best way to do this is by checking out the actual module and elective description on the BOSTES Website.

Let’s start by looking at the information we’re given about Module A.

Now let’s break that down into key words.

Awareness of language: You knowing what a composer is doing with their words and the effect it is having.

How our perceptions:  The way in which we regard, understand or interpret something.

Relationships: The way in which two or more things, people or groups regard and behave towards and interact with each other.

Others: Individuals who are not ourselves.

World: Human and social interaction based upon the differing considerations of context, environment, location, individuals, culture, religion, spirituality.

Shaped: How this is created, developed and nourished.

Written: Texts designed to be in the written and read form, such as a poem, short story or essay.

Spoken: Texts designed to be in the spoken form, such as a speech or song.

VisualTexts designed to be in the visual form, such as a painting, stage performance or film.

When you read it as it is, what they’re looking for can be very convoluted, which is why sometimes it is best for you to know it in your everyday language. That’s why I’ve written it below:

This module requires students to explore uses of a particular aspect of language. It develops students’ knowledge of the composer’s intention in what they’re saying and the effect it is having, and helps them to understand the way in which we regard, understand or interpret the way in which two or more things, people or groups interact with each other, individuals around them and their social interaction with different considerations. These things will be shaped by language in texts designed to be read, listened to, or visualised. 

I know – that second sentence is huge! But break it down into bits and pieces and it becomes a lot easier to understand, especially now that it’s not in the lingo with which the Board of Studies loves to confuse us all.

Step 3: Breaking Down Elective 1 (Distinctively Visual)

Now that we have the focus of our study – Experience Through Language – broken down, now we have to understand how we’re supposed to experience through language, and that is through the overarching study of Distinctive Voices. But just like breaking down Modules, what do they mean by Distinctive Voices?

Let’s start off once more with what they say about Distinctive Voices:

And once again, let’s have a look at it with the key words to clarify the important parts:

Now let’s break that one down as well to help you understand it.


Explore: The markers want you to identify different ways in which ideas are shown in texts. For the example question you’ll want to choose 2-3 different ideas to explore, making sure there’s some major variation. E.g. “The text explores discovery as a beginning, as well as discovery of betrayals.”

Images we see: Note that this means ‘in texts’, so this could be the presentation of images like pictures, drawings or graphs what are included in texts.

Images we visualise: This means how the composer has gotten us to draw upon our imagination to visualise an image. Think about it, what does your perception of Harry Potter look like in comparison to the Daniel Radcliffe-Harry Potter?

Forms: This indicates the configuration of a text – whether it is a speech, film or poem plays a huge difference in which a concept can be visualise. You’d then ask yourself, how does a text being a poem effectively visualise a concept over it being a film?

Features: Features of a text indicates the characteristics of the text. Composers will often include distinctive attributes and characteristics which are unique to that text against others.

Language: The language of a text is the style of communication used in a text. This can be visual (such as the use of colour), or it can be literary (such as a simile or onomatopoeia)

Affect interpretation: How does the use of particular forms, features or language alter the way in which one regards and understands something.

Shape meaning: This relates to the values and opinions we hold as individuals or as a group.

And in layman’s terms:

In their responding and composing, students consider identify the different ways in which images that can be seen in a text and/or imagined by the viewer are created. Students consider how the configuration, characteristics and attributes, and the communication methods of different texts create these images, the one in which one regards and understands and how they shape values and opinions. 

In order to achieve this, the syllabus requires you to choose one of the following texts listed below to study this:

Prose fiction

  • ‘The Drover’s Wife’, ‘The Bush Undertaker’, ‘In a Dry Season’, ‘The Loaded Dog’ by Henry Lawson
  • Vertigo by Amanda Lohrey.


  • The Shoe-Horn Sonata by John Misto


  • ‘‘Lady Feeding the Cats’, ‘Wombat’, ‘The Snow-Gum’, ‘Nesting Time’, ‘The Moths’, ‘The Fireflies’, ‘Waterlily’, ‘Cave Painting’ by Douglas Stewart


  • Lee, Ang, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Tykwer, Tom, Run Lola Run

For the best part of the next few months, one of the above selected texts will be your favourite thing (note: sarcasm). The thing is that usually if you get to choose what you’re doing, you’re more inclined to enjoy what you’re studying when you beat it to death with a stick from all the analysis you’ll be doing. Unfortunately, you’re not given that opportunity and it’s likely that if you’re not conscientious with your studies, you might find yourself asking ‘wait, what part of the text is that?’ when they reference a line in class.

However, it’s not all that boring – you do get to choose your own text to study along side the selected text. However, as much as you love Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, they’re probably not suitable for your studies. To know more about how to select these texts, make sure you read these two articles on the do’s and don’t’s of choosing a related text and thus the easy 3 steps on how to find a related text. 

It’s your duty to make sure you actually read the text. It’s you against a few thousand others, and everyone else will have the same copy of SparkNotes as you do, so maybe don’t just rely on SparkNotes, but the brain you know works pretty well when it needs to.

In order to familiarise yourself with your text, these ten questions will help you to better understand how the text came to be and why:

  1. Who was the author, what was their life like?
  2. How has this influenced the text’s content and perspective?
  3. When and where was the text made?
  4. What was society like at the time?
  5. What culture was it made in? (Western culture counts)
  6. How have these influenced the text and its perspective?
  7. What perspectives or points of view does the text present?
  8. What language choices are made to show this?
  9. How does the content and perspective of this text relate to the other prescribed text? (compare/contrast)
  10. How do you think the original audience felt about the text vs. how you feel about it?

All texts are written with a purpose, and it’s typically something about the author’s life and experience, and events in the world around them which gets them writing. That’s why getting into their head is a good idea, and  by answering these questions, you’ll have a little bit more of an idea about who they were.

Are Your English Notes Up to Scratch?

If you need reliable notes or simply want to check your notes are right, take a look at HSC-Notes.com.

Their English notes are crafted by the 99+ ATAR Club and provide concise answers to the HSC Syllabus dot points with what you need to know for your exams. Diagrams, mind maps, tables, dot points, paragraphs, sources are included to aid your learning.

With these notes you can spend less time rewriting your textbook and worrying about whether your notes answer the syllabus dot points correctly and spend more time learning and practicing your skills knowing your notes are accurate and concise.

Head on over to HSC-Notes to get your HSC subject notes now

Step 4: Knowing Your Criteria


As much as students love to say that teachers aren’t marking to the criteria, it might come as a shock to some, but they actually do – especially when the HSC is based entirely upon sets of criteria.

If your maths teacher asks you ‘What is 12 + 17?’, you probably wouldn’t say, ‘Actually, I’m #TeamCaptainAmerica. I think Iron Man is overrated’ because it has nothing to do with what the teacher is asking.

A criteria gives you exactly what they are asking for, which is what you’ll need to then give them a relevant answer. This is by far the easiest thing you can do to get your Band 6. You’ll have probably seen these before:

It’s important to know the key words in the criteria, as this is the most fundamental part of understanding what they are looking for in your response:

Compares effectively: Highlighting the similarities and different in a thorough and analytical manner. This means that you need to delve into the thorough details of the text, selecting and discussing central themes and issues to discuss at length.

Variety of perspectives: Not merely looking at one point of view, but how distinctive voices offer multiple points of view about the world in one both your prescribed/selected text and the related text of your choosing.

Effective response: Just because you provide a response, doesn’t mean it’s effective. This essentially means that you need to have made your response based on relevantdetailed textual knowledge. What they are asking you to do is to know your text, the themes, language and components, and discuss it with relevance to the question they will be asking you in the exam. NOTE: This is NOT merely a knowledge dump!

Organised: This means to give a structured response. Imagine writing your conclusion before your thesis statement, or presenting your weakest point first. It’s a trainwreck waiting to happen. This means that your arguments are written in a clear and concise manner which can easily be read and understood.

Develops: This one relates to the question of how you got to that point of view. Places like SparkNotes offer you a position, but it does not often offer you how they got there and what elements were important in creating that conclusion. This means that when you offer your point of view, you can show how you got there.

Expresses… effectively: Are you writing in a way that anyone can understand what you’re trying to express? Are you conveying your message clearly and concisely, or are you repeating yourself and using overcomplicated words that you don’t quite know how to use? Your answers need to be structured and organised, and communicate your ideas relating to the Module and texts clearly.

Language appropriate: This means language relevant to what you have studied. This doesn’t necessarily mean having to use big words or complex language – it means using language appropriate to the topic of Standard English. For example, instead of ‘the time period which the author lived during’,  ‘the author’s historical context’ would more appropriate.

Audience, purpose and form: Who is the intended audience of your response? What is the argument  you are making? What kind of response is it? These are the three questions which will guide how you write your response, as your audience is obviously the HSC Markers, you are writing it to express your position in response to the question, and your response will depend on the HSC verb which has been used in a question. For example, if you were being asked to ‘Compare and contrast’, you wouldn’t give simply list your response.

Each school will have a different essay criteria, but now you know exactly how to break down a criteria, and what some of the key words they frequently use actually mean.

Understanding the criteria is just as important as breaking down the question, and to know how you can effectively break down any English question, you had better head over here to read exactly how to do it so that you know exactly how to answer the questions being asked.

Step 5: Start Writing


It’s easier said than done!

As you go through your text, you will be deconstructing different components and themes which make that text unique in Experience Through Language.

But nobody becomes good at essay writing overnight and no first draft is ever a masterpiece. Essay writers like George Orwell often wrote hundreds of pages which would eventually be reduced to just a few in the composition process. It all comes down to frequent and self-reflective practice. This means that you not only practice writing, but often and with awareness of your strengths and weaknesses.

For this example, I will guide you through a simple paragraph with the following question:

‘Distinctive images offer a variety of perspectives on the world.’ Compare how this is achieved in your prescribed text and ONE other related text of your own choosing.

For this, I will be using the films Run Lola Runand Minority Report. Want to know why I’m doing this? Because you should never use the same text type as your related text as it limits how much you can analyse, and leads markers to believe that you’re being a *little bit lazy*. Despite the fact that Minority Report is a wonderful related text due to the similarity of themes to Run Lola Run, it is still a film.


S.T.E.E.L is one of the most effective essay scaffolds as it is easy to prepare, collate and compose a response. Within it, we have two styes; AABB and ABAB:

  • A refers to a paragraph about the first text;
  • B refers to a paragraph about the second text.

Generally ABAB works better, as it has a smoother flow, shows better integration and allows you to compare and contrast the texts as you go, keeping your essay balanced.


Refer back to the central focus of the discussion: ‘Distinctive images offer a variety of perspectives on the world.’

When I review both Run Lola Run and Minority Report, the very first thing that comes to my head is the immediate tension of free will vs. determinism. Free will is the belief that we are able to have some choice in how we act which alter the outcome of the event. Conversely, determinism finds that for every event, we are pre-destined to reach a conclusion determined by our prior actions (also known as cause-and-effect)

As it is a compare question, I am going to frame my argument with the similarities of this position.

Run Lola Run and Minority Report explore the tension between the philosophical positions of free will vs. determinism through the ways in which the distinctively visual qualities of the films give meaning.

The focus of my statement encompasses both my central theme of free will vs. determination and addresses that both texts are texts which utilise the distinctively visual.

To give some background, Tom Tykwer was born in West Germany during the Cold War. This imposed a ‘what if?’ question early in his youth through a divided Germany: how could two sides of the same city have the same starting point at the conclusion of World War II, but end up so drastically different? This serves as the basis of the ‘what if?’ question posed in Run Lola Run. 

Minority Report, based off of the Phillip K. Dick novel of the same name, is a continuation of Phillip K. Dick’s Cold War anxiety. A fundamental part of the Cold War was the increase of surveillance and psychological manipulation. His most profound concern was the German Stasi (intelligence agency) and their use of ‘Zersetzung’, which saw its victims subversively manipulated according to the will of the Stasi.


Technique + Example

This is the part where you have to bring in your visual analysis of your texts. You won’t be simply listing these; instead, you’ll be introducing the ways in which the composer uses techniques in the texts and what it does to give meaning. You’ll also be integrating your quotes and examples at the same time in order to give a nice, polished answer.

The philosophical discussion of free will vs. determination is often circular in nature due to questioning of cause-and-effect. In order to demonstrate this, Tykwer spirals recur throughout Run Lola Run to demonstrate both questions, to which there is no answer. There are many instances of spirals throughout the film, but it is most profound when the viewer looks upon Lola after receiving the telephone call, where the camera, level with Lola’s eye level, circles around her with fleeting images of interactions she will make on the way to her run, and of whom her interactions have a butterfly effect. This circular theme is also utilised by Steven Spielberg in Minority Report. Upon the drop of the predictive sphere from the Precogs, the sphere is seen to spin in its place endlessly, and does not stop until there is an intervention by Anderton when he picks it up. The name is unseen by the viewer as the ball continues to spin in its place. Once picked up by Anderton, it is placed into a cradle where it is still, and Anderton begins to wind through the visions of the Precogs utilising a circular hand movement to wind the visions forward and backwards.



This part then answers, ‘What exactly did these things do to give the text meaning?’, and in this particular case, how do they show the exploration of loss during war? Essentially, you are to answer why you included them.

The use of spirals in both Run Lola Run and Minority Report assert the inconclusive question of free will vs. determinism. The images of individuals with whom Lola interacts appear insignificant as the camera spirals around her, but ultimately play significant roles providing her with the many cause-and-effect options offered to her on each run. As such, Tykwer uses the spiral in this scene to express the dilemma which Lola faces when she comes across each individual. Use of the motif provides a visual presentation of the endless options prior to the run in order to emphasise whether or not her actions towards certain individuals determine the ultimate outcome. Similarly, Anderton’s intervention in the spinning sphere resembles that he, as a Precrime officer, determines the fate of the alleged criminal. Spielberg’s choice not to reveal the individual’s name until it is picked up by Anderton emphasise the question as to whether an individual truly has control over their destiny, and providing the tentative answer that an individual’s life is predetermined.Spielberg imposes an additional display of determinism as the camera angles upwards with Anderton looking down upon the sphere, producing an almost omnipotent god-like image of Anderton against the individual. Upon discovering that he, himself, is accused of a crime, Anderton picks up his own sphere, indicating that there is a possibility of free will. At this point, Spielberg alters the camera angle to see both Anderton’s sphere and Anderton at equal eye-level, allowing the tension between the competing concepts to surface.


In this section, you will need to link the two texts together in relation to your overarching statement. This is what seals the deal and brings them all back together.

Tykwer’s use of spirals ultimately illustrates the endless possibilities faced by Lola in exploring the cause-and-effect of her available choices. The repeated motif of spirals continues to question the importance of the tension between the concepts, just as Spielberg applies spiralling as a representation of an individual’s fate. This distinctively visual recurring motif throughout both texts provides an in-depth exploration into the inconclusive philosophical tension between free will and determinism.

Voici et voilà! There’s 1/4 of an essay, without an introduction, 2-3 more paragraphs and a conclusion.

If we put all the sections together, you’ll see that it is a very large and chunky paragraph, but in fact, even as I write it, I had to write and rewrite sections in order to ensure that it is clear and cohesive. What you’ll notice is that I constantly refer back to the focus of the discussion: the difference between communal and personal loss, and thus, remain centred on the overarching essay focus: Distinctive images offer a variety of perspectives on the world. 

Give it a try, and let us know how you go!

Need a Hand Writing Your Notes?

If you need reliable notes or simply want to check your notes are right, take a look at HSC-Notes.com.

Their English notes are crafted by the 99+ ATAR Club and provide concise answers to the HSC Syllabus dot points with what you need to know for your exams. Diagrams, mind maps, tables, dot points, paragraphs, sources are included to aid your learning.

Head on over to HSC-Notes to get your HSC subject notes now

Have a question for us? 

Flick us a message on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/artofsmart/), give us a call on 1300 267 888, or email us on info@artofsmart.com.au.

Elizabeth Goh isn’t a fan of writing about herself in third person, even if she loves writing. Elizabeth decided she didn’t get enough English, History or Legal Studies at Abbotsleigh School for her own HSC in 2010 so she came back to help others survive it with Art of Smart Education. She’s since done a mish-mash of things with her life which includes studying a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) with a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University, working for NSW Parliament, and exploring antique shops to find a working Remington Noiseless typewriter.

Elizabeth is on academic exchange at the University of Vienna, Austria until March 2016.



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  • Cooperative Learning and Thinking Tools

    Rita Van Haaren gives a brief overview of the rationale for using thinking tools to develop cooperative learning and then offers some practical examples of what to use and how to use it.


  • New Teachers Speak Out:

    The heading New Teachers Speak out links a few articles sharing the personal views of new teachers on a variety of topics:  On finding inspiration in English: ETA Beginning Teachers Scholarship Award; On the Practicum experience; Applying for jobs; Adapting to the Qld system from NSW; On going past surviving to thriving


  • The value of twitter

    Danielle Vandenberg explains why twitter is so important


  • Why sentences matter

    Jane Sloan pleads a case for clear sentences. 


  • Environmental fears in Science fiction

    Angela Rose looks at science fiction texts including games to show how they reveal attitudes to environment.


  • Time in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: Using temporal deictic to understand the play

    Angela Rose applies an understanding of deixis to yield an interpretation of the play Romeo and Juliet.


  • Music Videos - multimodal texts to engage and inspire

    Kerri-jane Burke shows how the music video lends itself to the literature classroom.


  • The literary voice

    Heather Stafford defines the literary concept of Voice and offers a close reading of voice in The Life and Crimes of Harry Lavender.


  • The Kibble and Dobbie Awards 2014

    The shortlists and winners of the Kibble and Dobbie awards for 2014


  • Professional learning in the digital age

    Viviana Mattiello starts #OzEngChat a weekly twitter conversation.


  • The Stream of communal ideas:

    Reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldon’s Letters to Alice in context 
    Associate Professor Rosalind Smith considers the connections between the two texts and their contexts. 


  • The Justice Game as a related text for Module C: Representing People and politics

    David Strange considers some chapters of Geoffrey Robertson’s The Justice Game through a series of teacher’s discussion points and a language study as a representation of people and politics.


  • Artistic Wrecking ball or loving translation? Turning Joyce’s classic story ‘The Dead’ into film

    Rogan Jacobson considers the idea of fidelity in the adaptation of Joyce’s short story ‘The Dead’ into film by John Huston (1987). 


  • Idealism in literature: A conceptual unit of work for year 11 students

    Saurabh Bhattacharya designs a unit on idealism using the poetry of Kahlil Gibran, Rabindranath Tagore and Wordsworth, the writing of Thoreau and the short stories of Tolstoy. 


  • Attacking Hamlet from left field: how to create an original personal response

    David Strange offers a close reading of Hamlet looking at symbols, heliocentrism, astronomy and paradoxes.


  • Writing analytical sentences: the DIAS way

    Mel Dixon models different sentences and categorizing them using DIAS (Describing / Interpreting / Analysing / Synthesizing). 


  • Panic Stations: Post war experience and writing after the bomb

    Dr Melissa Hardie looks at how Plath’s poetry and Le Carre’s book The spy who came in from the cold fit into their context.


  • The Adolescent Novel: Feed and Joel and Cat set the story straight

    Kate O’Connor contrasts the dystopian adolescent novel Feed with the humorous story Joel and Cat set the story straight.


  • 'High Noon' meets the high king.

    The western as a genre study, with comparative references to Arthurian legend.


  • A Man with Five Children

    In this unit, Stage 6 students  explore a variety of texts that deal with the ways in which individuals and communities experience and live in a global context .


  • Just imagine!

    This article describes a creative writing experience where students explore their thoughts and feelings about art through guided workshops, then compose a short story.


  • Reviews Issue 4 2016

    Poetry: Word Migrants by Hazel Smith; Novels:The Truth about Peacock Blue by Rosanne Hawke; The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd; Beck by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff; Play: Harry Potter and the cursed Child by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and JK Rowling; Snow White: A Graphic novel by Matt Phelan


  • Year 11 Fundamentals of English

    This unit, based on the concept of The City,  is to assist struggling students to achieve the outcomes of the English (Standard) or the English (ESL) courses.


  • Ten Canoes: Representing People and landscape

    Derek Peat explains how story and time operate in Ten Canoes to represent a special relationship between people and landscape.


  • Premier’s Teaching Award 2016

    Narcisa Nozica wins the 2016 Premier’s Teaching Award (sponsored by the ETA) to study the impact of teaching Slam Poetry in the classroom.


  • 1984 and Metropolis: a rubric based summary

    Stewart McGowan offers two guided responses comparing the texts 1984 and Metropolis.


  • Unleashing creativity through art and poetry

    Karen Yager shares creative writing assessment ideas for Stage 4: years 7-8.


  • To Bell or Not to Bell

    Joan Fraser recipient of the inaugural Bell Shakespeare Regional Teacher mentorship program, writes about what she learnt. 


  • Teaching oral communication skills

    Adrian Pauley gives advice on oral presentations.


  • Holiday Reading suggestions

    Cass Pride edits these recommendations for teacher reading.


  • Reflections

    Bruce Dawe reflects on his  work and career.


  • 2016 Beginning teachers’ scholarship

    Sarah Toole, one of the recipients of the ETA beginning teachers’ scholarship 2016, explains what inspired her to become an English teacher.


  • Bruce Dawe: A study of a poet

    A poetry unit on Bruce Dawe for Stage 6.


  • Best thing I’ve ever done as a teacher

    Tegan Morgan shares her first year of teaching at Glen Innes High School.


  • The Element of Care in Bruce Dawe's poetry

    An article outlining and documenting the caring attitude permeating Bruce Dawe's poetry.


  • Boys' Literacy

    This article looks at the theories around boys' literacy to examine the issues and offers a unit for Year 11 which puts these into practice.


  • Beowulf: The beginning of English literature

    A unit designed for the Year 11 Extension course, Text, Culture and Value.


  • Interview with Melissa Harrison author of Clay

    Tony Britten uses the Module C framework to interview Melissa Harrison author of the author of Clay a Module C text.


  • Constructions of Race in online games

    Helen Young shows how online games perpetuate stereotypes of race.


  • Metacognition, self-regulation and the new NSW syllabus

    Michelle Bannister-Tyrell and Deidre Clary  give and overview of some metacognitive approaches and how to adapt these to the classroom.

  • Try this: Identity/Discovery

    Mel Dixon shares a lesson that can work for an identity or Discovery unit.


  • Old texts, New tricks

    Sharon Jones and Alex Wharton share some tried and true lesson ideas for the classroom.


  • Using poetry to explore the concept of discovery

    Michael Murray applies the Discovery rubric to unpack Hopkins’ poetry.


  • Using Additional texts in the HSC: History and Memory and Discovery

    Derek Peat introduces some interesting texts that can be used for History and Memory and Discovery.


  • Shakespeare shouldn’t be taught in schools

    Phil Thomson in the UK delivers a provocative challenge to teachers of Shakespeare in this blog.


  • Writings from the East: A quest to locate quality Asian texts for the cross curriculum priority, ‘Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia’

    Angelina Bea, Premier’s Teacher’s Scholarship Winner 2013, showcases a range of authentic Asian texts for the English classroom.  


  • Discovering ‘The Dream of the Thylacine’

    Lisa Edwards highlights how to use the richness of this picture book to teach a variety of ideas and concepts.


  • Accreditation at the Highly Accomplished Level

    Danielle Vandenberg shares her experience of the accreditation process.  


  • Writing for Publication

    Kerri-Jane Burke provides practical advice to inspire English teachers to publish their work.


  • Related texts for area of study: Discovery

    This regular column is focusing on related texts for the Area of Study: Discovery.


  • The Poetry of Wilfred Owen: A sentimental rebel

    Heather Stafford provides pathways into exploring the rich poetry of Owen.


  • Welcome to Teaching the HSC!

    Jane Sherlock and Deb McPherson provide advice for teachers when starting the journey of the HSC English course with their students.


  • All that (useless?) beauty.

    Some thoughts on commentary about English, aesthetics and critical literacy.


  • Connecting with the world of texts

    An argument for English teachers using both high and popular culture texts to develop students' capacity for understanding more deeply.


  • P.D. James' 'The Skull beneath the Skin'.

    This article explores the idea of the novel being a melodrama without a character.


  • The Gothic Revolution

    Suggestions for a unit of work for Year 11 Extension 1


  • Belonging and picture books

    This article suggests six picture books as related texts to exploring the concept of belonging.


  • Hamlet and the discourse of reason

    This article examines how the deconstruction of the discourse of reason is a key factor in Hamlet's 'madness'.


  • Worldspace in 'Frankenstein' and'Blade runner'.

    This article compares these texts tracing the line from romanticism to artificiality.


  • Navigating the Global: Theories of global and local spaces and Alex Miller’s Journey to the Stone Country

    Professor Robert Dixon explains some theories that can be used to support Extension 1: Navigating the Global; he offers a reading of Miller’s Journey to the Stone Country using these theories. 


  • Genre: Life writing

    An examination of some of the issues surrounding life writing as a genre.


  • Using Thick Analysis: Representations of Discovery in Tim Winton’s The Turning

    Brigitte Rieger demonstrates with practical activities how thick analysis will lead to insights about Discovery in Tim Winton’s The Turning.


  • Related texts

    This regular feature has many related texts for Area of study, Discovery; Standard Module C; Advanced Module C; Standard Module A; Speeches, poems, non fiction 


  • Exploring ‘conflict’ in Rolf de Heer’s The Tracker

    Melinda Low offers lessons suitable for a Preliminary HSC course on Conflict, focusing on the film The Tracker.

  • Narrative techniques for students

    David Leys takes teachers through four narrative techniques with student activities for creative writing: interior monologue, narrative voice, flashback, and anti-climax.


  • Swallow the Air: A conceptual approach to discovery

    David Strange traces the development of some concepts through the HSC text Swallow the Air, focusing on how the text develops the idea of Discovery. 


  • Run Lola Run: Celebrating Uncertainty

    Lori Lebow offers a reading of Run Lola Run as a text for the HSC Module, Distinctively Visual.


  • A Short History of Nearly Everything: How to read the big fat book

    Alison Cardinale gives an overview of this HSC text, discussing form, structure and language with close reading of some sections as well as activities that can be used in the classroom.


  • Lysistrata: not just a sex strike

    Dr Frances Muecke offers a reading of this text on the Extension 1 Comedy course.


  • Metropolis and Nineteen Eighty Four: Writing a formal extended response

    Stewart McGowan shows how to guide students to write effectively for Module A using Metropolis and 1984.


  • Rolf de Heer’s Ten Canoes: Real, remembered and imagined landscapes

    David Strange gives a reading of the film Ten Canoes and its place in the HSC Representations of People and landscape.


  • The Tempest: A text from the Age of Discovery

    Magar Etmekdjian offers a reading of The Tempest as part of the Age of Discovery.


  • Grammar in Wonderland: what might a reimagined grammar look like in contemporary school English?

    Dr Mary Macken-Horarik shares some of the stimulating ideas that she presented for the Ken Watson address at the state conference 2015. She uses Alice in Wonderland and other visual and written texts (including the HSC 2015 image for discovery exam) to reveal the complexity of understanding that can be achieved though a grammatical approach.


  • Distinctive qualities of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

    Cherida Chapman shows how The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time responds directly to the syllabus statements for Standard Module B. 


  • The Great Gatsby: A graphic adaptation

    Using Nicki Greenberg's graphic adaptation to teach complex ideas in the text.


  • Discovery related texts and Linguistics: Including Frost’s ‘Home Burial’

    Mel Dixon takes a linguistic approach to discovery related texts and shows how linguistics can yield insights into Frost’s poem ‘Home Burial’ as a text about discovery.


  • A Voice in the Wilderness: The people, politics and silences of Brave New World

    Steve Henry demonstrates how Brave New World addresses the Module C Representations of People and Politics elective.


  • Teaching the AoS Integrated Response

    Structuring a thesis and suggestions for related texts for Belonging.


  • Interview with Maxine Beneba Clarke

    Interviewer Tony Britten explores the creativity of Sydney writer Maxine Beneba Clarke.


  • Julius Caesar and The Prince: Intertextual Perspectives

    Derek Peat shares his insights into the intertextual connections of these two significant canonical texts.


  • SAMR as scaffold for classroom technology

    Cass Pride shows how the SAMR scaffold gives guidance on how to analyse the effectiveness of a digital site for teaching.


  • Free-falling into fiction

    Writing for Extension 2.


  • Transforming texts

    A process for transforming and examples of transformed texts.


  • Reflection Statements foer Extension 2

    This article provides annotated reflection statements.


  • The Art of Travel: Representations of landscape

    David Strange offers ways into Module C: Representation of People and Landscapes using the text The Art of Travel.


  • Travels in self-consciousness

    An exploration of metafiction in Calvino's If on a Winter's Night a Traveller


  • Reviews Issue 2 2016

    Prose Fiction: Crime Scenes Ed by Zane Lovitt; Freedom Ride by Sue Lawson; The Comet Box by Adrian Stirling; The Haters by Jesse Andrews; Endurance by Tim Griffiths; Picture book: MILO – a moving story; Non fiction: Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger by Fiona Wright; Wordburger by David Astle; 


  • Teaching King Lear

    Some approaches to teaching King Lear.


  • In the Zone: Working with Crime Fiction

    A selection and summary of suitable texts.


  • The Imaginary Journeys of 'The Tempest'

    This article examines the concept of ‘imaginary journeys’ in The Tempest.


  • Speculative Fiction: Journey to the centre of the genre

    An overview of the genre and some possible texts for study.


  • Raising the bar in English Studies

    Sarah Peachman explores the issues and possibilities of English Studies and shares lesson ideas on student portfolios and the unit Playing the game.


  • Will Kostakis in conversation

    Tony Britten interviews Australian YA author Will Kostakis on Sidekicks.


  • Creative Writing: Mastering Structure in AoS

    David Strange gives some practical strategies to help students write imaginatively on discovery.


  • Rosemary Dobson: Discovery through her poetry

    Jane Sherlock and Margaret Burke offer this complete unit on Dobson for the Area of Study Discovery.

  • Reviews Issue 3 2016

    These reviews include:

    Teacher resources: The Two Romanticisms by William Christie; The Weekly Poems: 52 exercises in open and closed forms edited by Jodie Albiston; Speak Well by Ryan Pauley Projects;

  • Composing and Responding to Narratives about Journeys

    A range of texts and approaches to reading and writing narratives in the senior years.


  • Analysing the Symbolism of Jindabyne

     An analysis of how mise-en-scene and semiotics illuminate his central ideas and themes of Jindabyne.


  • The films they did not let you see

    A discussion of significant films that did not make the big screen in Australia.


  • An Overview of Crime Fiction

    A historical overview with many texts recommended within the genre.


  • Housemates Unite!

    A study of the concept of power using 'Big Brother' reality TV.


  • Aboriginal Poetry: from dramatic monologue to hip hop and rap.

    A selection of contemporary Aboriginal poetry with commentary.


  • Reflective Writing: the 3D format

    A framework for writing a reflection.


  • Text, Culture and value: The madwoman in the attic

    A unit on the trope of the madwoman in the attic has been appropriated.


  • Speeches: A Framework for Response

    A frame for considering set speeches for critical study and some introductory activities.


  • Self-Determination in the 19th Century

    A study of the individual and society focussing on Ibsen's  A Doll's House.



  • Experimental Writing

    Various strategies for creative writing.


  • Films dealing with Belonging

    An overview of films dealing with Belonging.


  • Avoiding the Trench Pits of 'Frontline'

    This article by David Strange provides an analysis of two episodes of Frontline.


  • Developing the concept of narrative through film

    The concept of narrative is introduced through the study of the codes and conventions of film.

  • Science Fiction and Pataphysics

    Josh Mc Mahon offers some theoretical perspectives for science fiction.


  • C.R.A.P. analysis

    Dave O’Donohue offers a formula for analyzing speeches.


  • Portrait of an Artist

    The resource "Portrait of an Artist", commissioned by the Caledonia Foundation, was developed by ETA on the documentary Paul Kelly: Stories of Me
    It addresses content in the Australian Curriculum English and Literature and focuses on teaching the idea of representation. The resource has been designed as modules that may be combined into a single unit or incorporated into units on other texts or on particular aspects of the syllabus.
    View a trailer of the resource 
    Register and download resource and the movie.


  • The Fate of Love from Wimpole Street to West Egg

    A comparison of The Great Gatsby and "Sonnets from the Portuguese" by Dr David Kelly, Sydney University.


  • Exploring ‘conflict’ in Rolf de Heer’s The Tracker

    Melinda Low offers lessons suitable for a Preliminary HSC course on Conflict, focusing on the film The Tracker


  • Years 11, 12: Studying the Australian Novel in Senior English Courses

    This resource has been designed to assist teachers support their students in understanding the nature and elements of the realist novel. The resource focuses on elements of the novel form and illustrates these through the close study of an exemplar text, Andrew McGahan’s The White Earth, then reinforcing understanding of each element of the novel by comparing its role in another text. The focus is on Australian award winning texts, particularly those that have won or been listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.

    This resource has been developed in conjunction with The Trust Company as trustee for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and funded through the the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund.

  • Embedding Creative writing into unit design using Textual Concepts

    Mel Dixon shows how using English Textual Concepts and processes to program from Year 7 can add rigour into creative writing establishing foundations for Year 12 study. 

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