Lesson video

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Welcome to today's English lesson.

I'm Mrs. Crompton.

Before we begin our learning, let's make sure we have everything we need.

You will need a pen and paper.

Take a moment to make sure you cleared any distractions away and have everything you need at hand.

To begin with then a very quick summary of the skills that we have been covering as we've been exploring our unseen nonfiction work.

We've been looking at summarising, considering thoughts and feelings, thinking about the writer's perspective, considering writer's methods, and also remembering our big picture ideas.

Thinking about what we're learning about mankind and human nature.

First activity today, is for you to decide on three words that you would select that capture how Isabella Bird was feeling during her visit to the volcano.

You will recognise some of this vocabulary.

I have taken some of the words that we've been using to talk about Aron Ralston and John Simpson's thoughts and feelings.

And if you think about it, our three people that we have been working with, have all been placed in dangerous situations.

However, I have added two additional rows of vocabulary at the bottom.

Because I felt, that with Isabella Bird's particular circumstance, we needed to consider a different range of emotions and feelings.

So first step is over to you.

One minute in that minute, I would like you to pick the three best words from the screen to describe Isabella Bird's thoughts and feelings.

Off you go.

You just made those final choices.

And we will begin.

So we've got a few ideas there about Isabella Bird's thoughts and feelings.

And hopefully you've got that concept of the sublime nature of the moment, really clear in your minds.

What we're going to do today, is to have a little bit of a look at the context behind writing.

And what we're going to do in terms of exploring these ideas is to take notes.

However, we're going to do it in a slightly different way.

You can see already on the screen, that I have picked out various details from this information in green for you.

So I've kind of done the note taking for you.

And what I'm going to do is to share some information, first of all, about travel writing itself.

So the form that Isabella Bird is writing in, is named travel writing.

And Victorian travel writing, is a very particular genre.

So we're going to look at that.

As we go on, we're then going to expand upon that, and to consider the role of Victorian women travellers within the mix.

And then finally at the end, I am going to ask you to write three reflection sentences.

I just wanted to show you those for a moment.

So you can see where we are going.

We're going to be writing three sentences, Victorian female travellers, such as Isabella Bird, found new freedoms through their travel, and you can expand on that.

The female travel writers were pioneers because, and criticism is that.

So I'm just going to let you look at those questions and it might be that you want to write those down now, so that we've got a little bit of an idea of the types of things that we want to be able to come to, in our conclusion.

I'll just give you a minute to write the sentence stems down now.

I've gone back, I've gone.

So what we're now going to do then is to have a look at the extract.

I'll read it with you.

So your focus needs to be on thinking about the answers to the questions, jotting down some ideas, focusing in particular on the detail that is picked out in green.

So I'm trying to sharpen your focus as we read through.

So fueled by transport improvements and expanding British global influence, Victorian travel writing emerged in the period as a commercially popular and successful genre.

Increasing popular interest in scientific, geographical and anthropological research meant that travelogues could serve as accounts of individual experience, instructions for future travellers, advice on imperial administration, religious admonition, reports on scientific discoveries, or a combination of all of these possibilities.

So our first point there is about the fact that, this was an explosion that was happening.

Travel writing came from the fact that the Victorians were travelling.

We have the time of empire, global influence that's what that means.

And we have a particular interest in expanding our knowledge of science, geography, and anthropological research.

So finding out about new communities and the way that people live.

So that's our first point.

Let's have a look at the role of women in all of this.

So we heard that Isabella Bird was given a hundred pounds by dad who said go, off you go, off you go wherever you want.

And it was initiated by the fact that her health wasn't great, and the doctor had prescribed travel.

And off she went.

She was of sufficient financial stability within her family to be able to do that.

So women began to travel in the 19th century for many personal and political reasons.

Some women sought to further a cause, like missionary work, while others travelled to satisfy personal curiosities of exotic lands.

One form of gender oppression had manifested in scholarly and scientific writing.

In which women scholars were not take seriously.

The masculine tradition of travel writing was considered to reflect public and professional concerns.

Whereas the feminine tradition was considered to fall into the private and personal sphere.

Let's just pause for a moment here.

So women were travelling for lots of different reasons.

However, there seems to be a little bit of snobbery even about the quality of what a woman would write versus what a man would write if they produce travel writing.

And the women are considered to produce private and personal accounts.

Let's just think about what we know about Isabella Bird.

Think about what we've talked about previously too, about the female space.

The idea that the female belongs in the home and all of these ideas from previous learning are starting to come together, as we're looking a different genre.

For example, Victorian females were allowed access to certain communities that men were not.

Therefore, being able to act as pioneers in studies of native people.

So there's an interesting angle.

In certain anthropological studies, the women were actually allowed into communities where a man wouldn't be.

This creates this idea of a female gaze, a female lens onto a situation.

However, it was compromised as they took on the voice of Western masculine society and objectified rather than identified with the communities.

What does that mean? We've got this idea here, that as the women were given the opportunity to sort of break that boundary of not being able to do more serious travel writing, they then took on the language and perhaps the attitudes that were masculine and of a Western society, rather than really getting to know the women and thinking about them.

And this is actually a criticism of Isabella Bird too.

We don't see it in our passage because she's describing a physical moment.

In some of her other writings, and if he wants to find out a little bit more about her, particularly when she's in Asia, she often did get access to certain communities, and she still was trapped a little bit by the language that was at her disposal.

Think back to our learning that we did, when we looked at the "Heart of Darkness", it was a really similar issue there.

Whereby Joseph Conrad, didn't have any other vocabulary to describe things with.

So we're seeing this coming up time and time again.

But that's quite an important point.

The female gaze they brought, however, was often compromised as they took on the voice of Western masculine society and objectified the communities that they went into.

So they didn't really get to know them.

It's not a subjective personal response, which would have been their traditional style of writing.

And they kind of get stuck between two worlds.

Whether white women travellers did so for a political purpose or not, the power they gained in foreign lands, as opposed to at home, caused them to re-examine their position.

This realisation of oppression and domination by men, however, did little for the liberation of the peoples and countries they've visited.

The women regained that power through race, which was lost at home because of gender.

And on that screen, you can see I've picked out one key line.

The women regained power through race, which was lost at home because of gender.

So the women get some form of liberation from this travel.

They even found some liberation through the travel writing, however, it's because they now are more powerful because of their race and their gender is put to one side.

Is that really a great position? So we've got some fairly mixed complex ideas to unpick there.

But these are things that we do often need to consider when we encounter in particular Victorian texts.

They are very much characterised by that context.

And we need to be respectful and understanding, but also question what we're reading when it comes to these types of texts.

And even though it's not absolutely pertinent because we're talking about a volcano, not a people, I wanted you to have this background.

So just to finish off this little stage of learning, we come to the sentences.

Victorian female travellers, such as Isabella Bird, found new freedoms through their travel.

What sorts of things were they writing about? In what way were they pioneers? What were they doing that was so unusual? A pioneer is somebody who goes into an area or a domain that nobody else has ever been to.

So, what was it that female travel writers were able to do that nobody else could.

And then we've got the however, but what is the criticism? So you have those sentences already.

I'd like you to complete your response by reviewing your notes.

So over to you.

Take your time, work through each one, try and get the detail down.

And welcome back.

So today we're going to be considering the writer's perspective.

And I'm just going to show you the criteria that we've looked at before.

When we talk about a writer's perspective, we're going to give a statement about their perspective on a situation, an event.

We're going to then provide evidence.

And there's going to be a combination of supporting and rich evidence.

The supporting evidence, is there to backup our statements.

And the rich evidence, is where we're going draw our comments on writer's methods.

And then we're going to explain.

So those are the skills that we will demonstrate as we are evaluating a writer's perspective.

In terms of our task today, what I'm going to do is to ask you to do exactly the same as I did last time we looked at this scale.

I have provided you with an overview statement to the question, why does Isabella Bird place herself in a position of danger? What is her perspective? So this is what we're thinking about.

You're going to write an overview statement, slash I'm going to provide you.

And then I'm going to ask you to write down the sentence starters that you see and jot down any initial thoughts.

And don't panic if you're thinking I can't remember detail, because then you will get an opportunity to look at the detail.

I wanted you again, to capture your gut response to the reading that we've been doing this week.

I'll show you the screen so that you can see what's coming.

So we have an overview statements.

And then we have some sentence starters that I would like you to use to frame your written response.

At this point, you can just write down single words, phrases, different ideas, memories of specific words from the text if you have them.

Just as a starting point, and then you will have opportunity to write this up a fresh.

So those are the sentences I wish you to get down.

And what you're going to get now is an opportunity to record those on your piece of paper and just make those initial gut responses.

So now what I'm going to do is let you look at the extract.

And you're going to focus on selecting three to five quotations to support your response.

You're going to use the writing frame to complete your refined answer.

As you go through, remember, you're looking for a combination of rich and supporting quotations.

But aim for between three and five.

That's all you need completing the writing frame as you go.

Point two, is about it becoming a refined response.

So moving away from just jotting down initial ideas, you then need a fresh piece of paper, writing up so that you have got all of those links clearly presented.

You're thinking about the quality of the analysis when you get to the rich evidence, and you're thinking about the sequencing of your points.

So why does Isabella Bird place herself in a position of danger? What is her perspective? What do you want to be able to say? And it's bringing together lots of the thinking that we've been doing.

Most of all the sublime nature of the whole experience.

You have control of the screen now to select your very best evidence and then take your time writing up the final response before we come back together again.

Welcome back, so what we're going to do now, is to look through model response together.

I would like you to reward yourself for the quality of your expression.

Think about your phrasing.

For your use of subject terminology, and for your use of your evidence.

So as you can see, I have picked out those three areas using our colour coding system of orange, for the phrasing, the pink for the evidence and the purple for the subject terminology.

So you're gauging your response against this one.

And as you work through, we're thinking about the clarity of the statement, how is supported by combination of evidence and how well you have explained and linked your ideas.

I will, as usual read through with you once, and then go back and allow you take control of the screen so that you can then build your perfect response.

The extract is from Bird's travel account, Hawaiian Archipelago, which relates her experiences and documents her discoveries during her visit to the islands.

In this extract, Bird is placing herself in a potentially dangerous situation, but does so in order to experience the sublimity of encountering a volcano at close quarters.

Throughout the response, Bird presents a pragmatic approach.

"I have no room in my thoughts for anything but volcanoes, "and it will be surface some days to come." Through this declarative statement, Bird demonstrates an absolute determination to ensure she both commits to the experience and records this in her writings.

"But what are cuts, bruises, fatigue, "and singed eyelashes, "in comparison with the awful sublimities "I have witnessed today?" It is the sublimity of the experience that drives her, to experience something as an individual, a woman, which others before her have not.

It is interesting to see how she draws attention to her female body in the asyndetic list, cuts, bruises, fatigue, and singed eyelashes, which she rejects as insignificant in the pursuit of a sublime moment.

So I've tried to bring in there some of the contextual learning that we had at the beginning of the session.

Nevertheless, despite this determination, she admits that her previous perspective of awe and admiration on visiting the volcano, has now changed to terror, horror, and sublimity.

Recognising that to achieve this ambition, she has to overcome her fears.

To go into a region once is brave, to return with knowledge of the dangers presents Bird as a true pioneering spirit of her time.

Her acknowledgement that this moment will be her nemesis for years to come personifies the abstract moment, and bestows an adversarial nature to the encounter.

She is pushing beyond her physical limitations in the present, but there is a suggestion the mental impact of staring into hell itself will live in her memory for a long time to come.

So you can see here, I've really tried to combine the ideas of the sublime and to also think about the context of Bird being a pioneering figure.

And that's what I think she was.

I think she did something very unusual for her time.

And this idea that to go into a region once would be brave, but to return with knowledge of the dangers and still go in there really shows her pioneering spirit.

I've tried to explain that really carefully, and to unpick how she is doing something extraordinary.

I've also tried to attract the fact that, she felt one way about the volcano on her previous visit, and now she's increasingly aware that it's not just about a magnificent vision in front of her, but that is a fear.

So capturing any changes in the perspective is really important in our answer.

And just go back to the model.

This idea of staring into the abyss and experiencing a moment of revelation is further underlined when she states, "the awful sublimity of what we did see, "was enhanced by the knowledge "that it was only a thousandth part of what we did not see." Bird has not only learned a truth about her own nature, but about mankind's frailty and in significance in the context of the universe.

As a female traveller in the late 19th century, she feels a sense of fear, privilege and reverence towards the knowledge she has gained.

And you can see that I picked from the list from the beginning.

I think she is quite fearful of what she's seeing.

She feels incredibly privileged to this moment is something that not everybody can be afforded.

And this whole reverential respect for a knowledge.

A knowledge that she realises is that she didn't know anymore, because if she did, that would be too much for mankind to humble.

So I wanted to capture that in the end.

So as a response, we deal with perspectives and contexts and we try and bring everything together at this stage.

It's over to you.

Have a little look.

It is a dense response.

There's a lot going on in there.

I think we need to keep looking at how we can extend and push and get these really comprehensive responses together.

Because we're making really solid progress at the moment.

I want us to keep being ambitious in what we do.

So control is now over to you.

Work your way through, make additional notes to your own response, and also recognise all of the things that you have to achieve within your response.

When you're ready, I'll be waiting for you to close the lesson.

That was a complicated lesson, but I think really interesting to find out about the context and to find out some of the really interesting things that were happening, for not just individuals in terms of travel, but also all of the other little areas that are added to it.

In terms of gender and race.

And all of these angles that we need to look at.

All these different lens that we need to apply to a text, to get a full understanding.

All that remains for me to say is thank you for your focus and enjoy the rest of your learning today.