The Craft of Writing

What is the purpose of this unit.

The new syllabuses for English Standard and English Advanced provide 30 hours dedicated time to extend the repertoire of classroom writing so that it goes beyond the analytical essay. The module encourages students to engage in varied writing experiences for a range of audiences and purposes. Through engagement with the module students will be provided with opportunities to strengthen and extend their knowledge, skills and confidence in writing. The module also reinforces the important connection between reading and writing.

 

Students will read at least two short texts from the Module C prescribed lists as well as texts from their own wide reading; they use these as models and stimulus for the development of their own writing style. Students may revisit texts studied in other modules to enhance their experiences of quality writing.

Selected texts should include texts that exemplify writing styles as well as those that comment on writing so that students have opportunities to:

  • imitate specific aspects of writing – narrative, character, point of view, argument, figurative language, genre, perspective and style

  • write in a range of forms and for different contexts

  • explain the effects of their writing choices for audiences and purposes

  • reflect on their own writing as required by the module.

The module provides students with the opportunity to engage in a wide range of textual experiences, including imaginative recreation and reflection. In addition, in English Advanced students will experiment with and comment on aesthetic elements of the text and how this may influence their own compositions. Selected texts from any module as well as Module C will allow insight into aspects of writing craft.

What is a discursive Text?

Discursive texts are those whose primary focus is to explore an idea or variety of topics. These texts involve the discussion of an idea(s) or opinion(s) without the direct intention of persuading the reader, listener or viewer to adopt any single point of view. Discursive texts can be humorous or serious in tone and can have a formal or informal register. These texts include texts such as feature articles, creative nonfiction, blogs, personal essays, documentaries and speeches.

What are some of the typical features of discursive writing?

Discursive writing may include some of the following features:

  • Explores an issue or an idea and may suggest a position or point of view

  • Approaches a topic from different angles and explores themes and issues in a style that balances personal observations with different perspectives

  • Uses personal anecdotes and may have a conversational tone

  • Primarily uses first person although third person can also be used

  • Uses figurative language or may be more factual

  • Draws upon real life experiences and/or draws from wide reading

  • Uses engaging imagery and language features

  • Begins with an event, an anecdote or relevant quote that is then used to explore an idea

  • Resolution may be reflective or open-ended

Are there examples of discursive texts prescribed for study in Module C?

Yes. Examples of prescribed texts include: Zadie Smith’s ‘That Crafty Feeling’, Helen Garner’s ‘Dear Mrs Dunkley’, Geraldine Brooks’ ‘A Home in Fiction’, Noel Pearson’s ‘Eulogy for Gough Whitlam, Siri Hustvedt’s ‘Eight Days in a Corset’, Sylvia Plath’s ‘A Comparison’.

Are there examples of discursive texts prescribed for study in Module C?

Yes. Examples of prescribed texts include: Zadie Smith’s ‘That Crafty Feeling’, Helen Garner’s ‘Dear Mrs Dunkley’, Geraldine Brooks’ ‘A Home in Fiction’, Noel Pearson’s ‘Eulogy for Gough Whitlam, Siri Hustvedt’s ‘Eight Days in a Corset’, Sylvia Plath’s ‘A Comparison’.

Can students use a hybrid of imaginative, informative, persuasive and discursive writing?

Yes. Many effective and engaging texts are hybrids of these forms. The examination question and/or stimulus will determine students’ use of form as appropriate to the audience, purpose and context. Students should be advised to develop a personal voice to express their perspective/ideas confidently.

 

What is a reflective text?

NSW K–12 English glossary doesn’t define reflective texts but it does define reflection as follows:

The thought process by which students develop an understanding and appreciation of their own learning. This process draws on both cognitive and affective experience.

Some examples of questions and marking guidelines that require reflective writing are Example B (b) English Advanced and Example C (b) English Standard.

What are some typical features of reflective writing?

Reflective writing may include some of the following features:

  • Use of first person to express self-assessment

  • Use of evaluative language

  • Considered use of examples

  • Use of anecdotal references, imagery or metaphor

  • Explanation, description or justification of the use of specific language or stylistic devices

  • Connections between what students learn about writing and the writing that they craft

  • Self-awareness of the learning process

  • May be objective and/or subjective