Lesson video

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I am Mrs Crompton.

Welcome to today's English lesson.

Its week seven, lesson Three.

Our focus today is to explore the writer's use of language in the text Touching the Void.

You will need a Pen and a paper.

Take a moment to ensure you have cleared all the distractions away and have everything you need, at hand.

To begin with then, our usual summery of skills that we have been exploring and will continue to explore during our study of our Unseen fiction text.


Thinking about the thoughts and feelings, thinking about the writer's perspective, today, our focus is looking at the writer's methods, and also throughout our study, considering those big picture ideas.

Now we started to look at our subject terminology list.

During last week's session, we looked at some of the language that is very similar to exploring fiction text, and some new things that we might want to consider in non-fiction texts.

So the ones at the bottom were the ones that we picked up on in particular, the emotive language, the anaphora, the use of listing, how pronouns can be particularly evocative within our work.

Today, just as a little bit of a recap and perhaps maybe new learning if this is the case, we're going to look at sentences; And we have commented on them quite a few times of late and I thought it would be a good point to stop and have a look at these in a little bit more detail.

So we have four key types of sentence; And I've put down two different versions of their names depending on what you might have heard, but also to let you see what other people might call those sentence types, just so that you're completely familiar.

At this point on your piece of paper, if you need to do take down the relevant notes, pause as you need to as we go through.

So we have declarative sentences, often called statement sentences.

They state a fact and end with a full stop.

We have interrogative sentences or question sentences, a question that asks for more information and ends with a question mark.

We have exclamatory or exclamation sentences An exclamation expresses a strong emotion and ends with an exclamation mark.

Finally, often known as either imperative or Command sentences are sentences which contain a command, verb and can end with a full stop or an exclamation mark depending on the tone whether you're giving a direct instruction or if you're showing that imperative nature as being quite deliberate and quite firm.

You might want to have an exclamation mark at the end.


So moving on from that we're going to have a look at a passage from Touching the Void.

And we're going to repeat the process that we looked at last week.

So what we're going to do is to look at our question and on our first reading of the extract, we are going to concentrate on the focus of the question and also just start to think about the word classes of any of the vocabulary that we think we might want to include within our analysis.

So our question today is, how does the writer use language to show a change in situation? So we're focusing on a change in situation.

We're going to look for any relevant evidence as you're reading through this and just starting to make a note of the evidence and thinking about the word class.

Okay? So, the control will be over to you at this stage for your first reading of the passage.


So we are about to embark on our second reading of the passage this time and now we're going to start really refining our response, and really thinking about what it is that we want to say about the changing situation that is experienced by Joe Simpson; And when now thinking about our selection and how we're going to actually build our response.

So this is where I will give you a reminder of our assessment criteria.

So in your answer, you need to show that you have understood the text and what that key changing situation is all about.

That you can select rich evidence and that the evidence that you select is linked together.

So that we are showing how language works to make meaning.

And in terms of preparation, we have our usual clouds ready with our anchor quotation that we're going to position in the middle.

Okay? So, the aim as ever is going to be to think about how they interlink and build our response.

So go back to the beginning.

You will have a reminder of the criteria there for you to look at.

Before you start, make sure you've drawn up the clouds on your piece of paper, turn it to landscape to give yourself plenty of space and you need to take your time over this, really thinking about your selection, thinking about how you are going to link one quotation to the next and show how Simpson is using the language, working together to build his sort of effect that he wants, showing that change in situation.

Remember, one of the things that we noticed when we did a similar activity with the Ralston piece, think about having different types of features that you're going to comment on, that can also add interest, variety of strength and the response as a whole.

Okay? All right.

So it's over to you.

You know the drill and I will be waiting for you when you have your detailed plan ready for our next step.

So welcome back.

You have your plan in front of you and you know that you are now ready for the write up.

So what we're going to do, again, as we have done in the past is to work through the whole process a little bit at a time.

Before we do that though, I'm just going to share with you some quotations that I have picked.

I've got my own quotation in the middle, a pillar of gold light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall.

I've then picked a contrasting sentiment in the weary, frightened hours, claustrophobic dread had been swept away, So I've got that contrast change in situation; And then I've got my final quotation, from further on in the passage, I could crawl and climb and keep on doing so until I had escaped from this grave.

So those are my three selections.

However, I'm just going to show you That I've got another thing that's bothering me or I want to include in my analysis.

And I'm going to be a little bit sneaky with this and use it maybe as some supporting sort of bridging quotations as I explain my answer.

So this is what I'm thinking.

I'm thinking that I want to say something about the sentences that I have noticed and there's a real dominant sentence type all the way through the passage.

And they are these really strong statements of intent.

I was going to reach that sunbeam, I just knew I could do something positive.

Now I had a plan and what I'm thinking is I'm going to try and link between one of my anchor to rich quotations by using some of these statements of intent and commenting on the sentence types.

Because I think it's too powerful and noticeable for me to leave out.

Okay, so I warn you now when I show you my model answer, don't say Mrs. Crompton, you've got more than three quotations and I'm going to tell you now I'm going to bend my rules a little bit.

But that's fine.

We are allowed to that's what rules are for.

So I've got my three quotations that I'm going to work with And if you like, you can think about those as you go through or maybe pinch those or you might be thinking, you know what, I had that too, which is fantastic.

And it's, it's a case of us all starting to see very similar things as we're working through this process.

So we are going to use our rich quotation plan to write up our response to the question, how does the writer use language to show a change in situation.

You're going to start with the anchor quotation.

So mine would be a pillar of gold light.

And, you're going to start with the following sentence should you wish.

So I've given you an overview of sentence.

Simpson uses language to contrast his situation before with the current moment, then you insert your anchor quotation, you then unpick by commenting on the language technique, we then zoom in, analyse a specific word, try and unpick further, explain fully in relation to the context of the passage and then you're ready for your next step.

Okay? So I'm going to hand over control to you, you're writing that first stage working with your anchor quotation, just as we have done previously.

But you now know, my expectation of the work that we're producing.

We are refining our expression as we go, we are being ambitious and we are making sure that we push and try and include big picture interpretations wherever possible.

So make sure that you remember all of the things that we've been doing across the course of our learning and really challenge yourself and extend your thinking and push to make those little improvements that you notice you needed to make at the end of the last time we did this activity.

So if last time some of your links weren't as strong, that should be your focus today.

If last time you didn't drill down far enough with a quotation, that should be your focus today.

Okay? Okay, so now we're going to repeat the steps of work through the linking quotations as we have done before.

Remembering again, how does the writer use language to show a change in situation? So we're going to start with the sentence This is reinforced by or contrasted by, you're going to then bring in point two, work through the process on picking, then move on to point three.

Okay? Control again, is over with you think particularly about how you are bridging from one quotation over into the new one and that's where I thought I was going to sneakily try and get something in about sentences too.

Sentence types.

Okay, over to you.

Okay, and now we're on to our final parts, which is to give our concluding comments.

How does the writer use language to show a change in situation, but this time, we're going to try and bring in any of our big picture ideas.

So the overall effect is one off and then think about how you might want to link back to your opening overview statement and bring in your big picture comments.

So your final part of your writing, again, re-read what you've previously written.

Think about those links, how you've been building this response.


How does that feel? Hopefully you're feeling quite confident with the work that you have produced.

I'm going to remind you at this stage, as we're looking at our model response, how I would like you to notice your work.

So at the beginning of your writing, I asked you to think about really trying to address the area that you noticed the last time you looked at a model answer, that you needed to improve upon.

So it could be, that it's the way that you frame your comments.

So, the things in orange all the way through this month model answer are going to be the connecting sentences.

These are the ones that link from one idea to the next.

Okay, as you can see, I've picked things out in orange.

If that was your target previously, have you done better this time? You can see that things in purple, are details that we've got subject terminology.


So is that something that has improved? Is that something that is a strength in your answer? again, it doesn't necessarily have to be that there is an improvement area.

Recognise where you have achieved these things and if you're using your subject terminology consistently and accurately and effectively, to help really pinpoint your observations, that's the ideal.

And then finally, we're looking at the range of evidence.

So you can see that I've got my main quotations picked out in pink.

And then you can see how I have broken those quotations down when you get the little details.

So as we read through this, what I would like you to do is to recognise those achievements and I want you to tick where you have used your subject terminology.

I want you to tick where you have got your key quotation and where you have zoomed in and unpicked, that's really in important.

And I also want you to recognise if the flow of the argument is improving, if you are creating that mock analytical vocabulary and register all the way through.

So those are the three areas that we're trying to really build as we move through our analytical work.

Okay, are we ready to have a look at this together? So I'll read through it with you.

You are tracking, you're having a look at your own work, but also thinking about where areas of improvement might come.

As I'm reading through this the first time, just concentrate on what you can perhaps see on the screen and thinking about, that and just ticking off anything that you've got that is similar in terms of success criteria.

I will then recommend that you have control of this and go through it more slowly and really tweak and refine your answer.

So that you can use bits of this one, add them to your own to get the best answer possible.

Okay, so first time through just ticking the successes, second time through fine tune to really looking at where those marginal improvements can still be made, those little details that you think I'd are really like that in my answer too I could build that in there, etc.


So, first time through then.

Simpson uses language to contrast his situation before with the current moment.

The passage opens with a moment of epiphany.

As a pillar of gold light beamed diagonally from a small hole in the roof, spraying bright reflections off the far wall.

The imagery of light entering a world of darkness, transforms Simpson's mindset.

The concrete noun "pillar" to describe the shaft of light gives it a tangible and powerful presence, something that Simpson can rely upon.

The present participle verb spraying is gentler, but again energises him through its continuous active motion.

He describes the effect on him as being mesmerised and fixated.

Verbs which indicate that he is taken over, almost hypnotised into action.

This new feeling is contrasted through the use of darkness, as he remembers the weary, frightened hours of night and claustrophobic dread, which he now describes as being swept away.

The all encapsulating nature of the previous fear is pinpointed in the heavy consonant noun phrase of claustrophobic dread.

This weight is now lifted and swept easily away by the positivity that has been created by the gold light.

The value of the light, as suggested by the objective gold, is shown to be to Simpson's spirits.

Throughout the extract, Simpson's change in attitude is highlighted by a series of declarative sentences that dominate the text.

I was going to reach that sunbeam.

I just knew.

Now I had a plan.

The even spacing of these sentences creates the impression of calm descending upon him.

Simultaneously, there is a real sense of a call to action.

I could crawl and climb and keep on doing so until I had escaped from this grave.

The conditional nature of the verb "could" is negated and we are in no doubt that he believes in his ability to succeed despite his smashed leg.

The alliteration in crawl or climb creates an onomatopoeic effect that acts as a call to action.

Simpson hints at the reality of his situation in the use of the noun grave, but we know that this is now a symbol of the past rather than his future in his mind.

He will rise from the abyss and achieve his goal.

Okay, so once again, the interpretation that we've had of the text is constant, but we have really concentrated on the language and how the different elements from sentences through to nouns to verbs are all working together to create the overall effect of this heroic figure rising from the abyss.


Deliberately deliberately ram jam packed with lots of detail there for you to see how you can really unpick an extract like this.

What I'm going to do is once more give this over to you for you to control and have a look through.

What I really want you to concentrate on, the areas of focus.

The links, the analysis of the evidence, the backing up of that with the use of subject terminology.


So, second reading is for you.

Second Reading is now for you to know, have I improved? celebrate that.

And also what do you still need to keep working on? Know that, because then you know what to try and tackle next time round.

And finally, is there anything that you can take from this answer to really sharpen up your own response so that next time you read through it, you have a model of excellence of your own, that you can then build from.

It's over to you.

Take your time, really secure the perfect answer.

Thank you for your focus today and enjoy the rest of your learning.