Lesson video

In progress...


I'm Mrs. Crompton.

Welcome to today's English lesson.

Our focus today is examining the writers thoughts, feelings, and perspective.

You will need a pen and paper.

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

To begin with then, let's start with our summary activities.

So on your piece of paper, could you draw four boxes and in those four boxes, can you draw me preferably, and I know some of you will still put words down, but try drawing four significant images in the correct sequence from Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void" extract.

Just two minutes on this activity, and I will time it out for you.

But remember why we do the images.

It's to try and help us recall key moments that are really visual and vivid in our minds.

Okay? Over to you.

Two minutes, off you go.

Just one more minute.

Okay, ladies and gentlemen is just finishing off that for me.


So hopefully you've had an opportunity to recall some of those main events from our extract from "Touching the Void" by Joe Simpson.

A quick reminder of the skills that we're covering, summary, thoughts and feelings we're going to look at today.

I'm particularly starting to develop this sense of perspective.

And then we will continue to look at methods and 'Big Picture' as we progress through our learning.

Let's start with how was Simpson feeling.

Now you've tried to do the recall activity, let's see whether you can pin that down with particular words.

And across the top I've put resigned, fearful, and pragmatic as three words that I think I would use to describe a Ralston's situation when Aron Ralston got his arm stuck in the canyon, initially, he was resigned.

I think he was scared of getting out of there.

And then there was this determination as soon as he realised what he had to do.

And from the minute that he decided that he was going to actually amputate his own arm, he was quite practical and pragmatic in his approach.

So that's how I would use three words from the boxes on the screen to describe Aron Ralston's points of view.

Which three words from memory at this point would you use to describe Simpson's point of view.

And as we go on, you might want to come back to some of the other vocabulary.

So if there's vocabulary on here that you like the look of, jot it all down, but for now, what I really want you to do is to try and pinpoint three particular words that would gauge his journey through his situation so far.

Okay, so over to you concentrate on finding three words.

However, if you like a few more, and you want to have them on your list, do pop them down, and you can eliminate them as we progress through the lesson.

It's entirely up to you because you are ultimately in charge.

So over to you, just one minute for this activity.

Just finishing off for me now please.


So we've tried to recall what happened.

We've tried to be precise and to actually choose our vocabulary to describe Simpson's feelings.

Let's see how that can progress and what we're going to do now is to start to build our understanding of perspective.

So what I would like you to do is to create yourself a note page as we have previously used.

And I've got the title writers perspective there, you could put Simpson's perspective, should you wish that's absolutely fine.

But what we're going to do is to look at perspectives.

As usual, as we're taking notes, I just want you to get down some key words and phrases, as I share some further information about the context around the climb that Simpson was involved in, and also about his companion.

So you're going to take some notes.

At the end of that you will have the opportunity to select the top three learning points that will help you in relation to our question of understanding Simpson's perspective.

Okay? Alright, so we should be nice and ready with your piece of paper and you're heading up to the top.

So let's have a look.

So in 1985, 25-year-old Joe Simpson and another British climber Simon Yates, who was 21 were climbing the West face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, and Simpson fell and badly broke his leg.

Further down their descent, Yates was forced to abandon Simpson on the mountain side.

Simpson's book about his improbable survival, "Touching the Void" has sold more than 1 million copies, and in 2003, became a BAFTA winning film.

In the process, Simpson became a hero, and Yates an arch villain, both of which notions Simpson strongly rejects.

So there is further information should you wish, in the Guardian's review of this particular book.

So that's where that little piece of information was taken from, and there may be some details in there that you wish to text.

I'm just going to go back a little bit.

I will give you an opportunity.

Think about his perspective.

Remember, perspective is all about his angle.

Got a little bit of information on this side about the nature of this autobiography.

And we've got another film here, just as we had with Aron Ralston's film, we've also got a film "Touching the Void" that was created and was a BAFTA award winning film.

So that's a lot to think about there.

Okay, a little bit more information.

So Yates writes about the same event 10 years on, and this is actually included within copies of "Touching the Void." So this is something that we've also got Simpson's agreement on.

So bear that in mind.

So Yates gets to give his perspective.

"Some would argue that there was no decision to be made, but cutting the rope and the powerful symbol of trust and friendship it represents should never have entered my mind.

Others say, it was simply a matter of survival, something I was forced to do." We can see here, that idea and I wanted to show you an image of a climber and a rope so that you could really see just how much they depend on one another.

And that's why Yates describes it as a powerful symbol of trust and friendship.

"As it happened for a long time, I simply hung on, hoping that Joe would be able to take his weight off the rope and relieve my position.

By the time I remembered I had a knife in the top of my rucsac, I was at the end of my tether, unable to hold him for much longer.

I knew I had done all that could reasonably be expected of me to save Joe.

And now both our lives were being threatened.

I had reached a point where I had to look after myself.

Although I knew my action might result in his death.

I took the decision intuitively, in a split second.

It simply felt the right thing to do, like so many critical decisions I had taken during the climb.

Without hesitation, I removed the knife from the rucsac and cut the rope." So that's Yates's perspective on the situation.

Let's go back.

I'll give you an opportunity to capture any key words and phrases that you would want to take and it gives his side of the events.

And then we've got just Simpson's comment on what Yates has actually written.

"Simon Yates was kind enough to acknowledge that I had told his side of the Siula Grande story 'faithfully and truly' in "Touching the Void."" And if you're interested in reading this autobiography, you will see that he writes it from the perspective of Yates, and it alternates between the two.

"I'm so relieved to hear him say that his conscience is clear that he did what I would have done in his place, the only sensible course open to him at the end of an heroic attempt to rescue me." So what's his perspective on events at this stage? And I just want to throw into the mix.

Does it make a difference that this is later? Time is important, isn't it? How would you have been feeling in the moment versus how you can feel when you're safe.

Let me just give you one final piece of information.

It took Simpson three days without food and with barely any water to crawl and hop back to base camp, eight kilometres away from the accident.

So from the point at which we have him now, we're going to read the final bit from there on words, when he does get out of this situation, it's going to take him three days.

Remember, he smashed his knee.

Okay, so out of all of that information, our usual thing now, just have a little read through your notes.

And I would like you to select three things that you think are your top three learning points to help you consider Simon's perspective, as well as considering Joe Simpson's perspective.

So, I've introduced this alternative voice to you because I think it's really important that we appreciate that there were two people in this situation, and the perspective of this whole event has to take into account that Simon and Joe set off on this event together.

Okay, so three things that we have learned from reading this information about the perspectives of the two participants involved.

Just take your time, pause, read through your notes, and make sure that you have those three key ideas, written out in full sentence.


Okay, let's now, now we've dealt with the perspective.

I want to establish what I'm calling a frame for our consideration so far.

And what we're going to think about is Simpson's perspective.

And I've got a few prompts here for you.

So he's a British mountaineer in an unfamiliar environment.

That's part of his viewpoint, his angle on the event.

So he's not climbing Ben Nevis within this country in terms of being up in Scotland, so he's somewhere really quite alien as a landscape.

He's been left by Yates, and he knows that he's alone now.

And then this other idea that I was just hinting at, would he have absolved? Would he have forgiven Yates so quickly at that time? So those are three things that I want you to consider.

And to be able to consider those, you do need to be able to reread the passage.

So what you're going to have now is an opportunity to reread the passage.

You can see it here.

From what I've also given you are the following sentence starters, to help you start to formulate your thoughts on the perspective.

So we can see, Simpson is a British mountaineer in an unfamiliar environment, okay, so you can start off like that.

We then have, his perspective is one of, how does he approach it? When you read through, do you think he's professional? Is just a realist? Is he a pragmatist as we ended up describing Ralston? Or something else? His relationship with Yates reflects his understanding that.

What do we learn about their relationship? What have we understood? And what does it tell you about Simpson's perspective? Simpson as a man, how he approaches things? So I've got a couple of sentence starters, hopefully to get you thinking about the types of points you might make in response to these prompts.

Okay, so I'm going to hand over control to you.

I'm going to leave you to jot down the bigger question and then to think about these frames sentences, and to reread the extracts so that you can be absolutely precise in what you want to say.

This would also be an opportunity for you to consider the feelings that we're trying to pinpoint earlier on, and you might want to tweak your answer there.

So it's a really nice opportunity now to check the ideas that you have in your head and to actually say, and anchor the detail to them.

Where have you got those ideas from? And can we be really precise in our understanding of perspective? Okay, your turn.

So control is now with you, work your way through the slides carefully.

Think about the three prompts.

Use the sentence stems to help you and I'll be waiting for you to read that final part of our extract when you are ready.

Okay, so you should now have had opportunity to write a paragraph.

Hopefully you have thought about refining your phrasing and use the sentence starters as scaffolds to help you out, just trying to pinpoint some of those key ideas.

On familiar surrounding, knows that he's alone, how is he feeling.

In and amongst everything else, how is he feeling towards his companion Yates? A Very different situation to Ralston's situation that was completely on his own, and quite frankly, had nobody else to blame.

So we've got two very different extracts that we're working with.

Okay, familiar screen again.

In this final section of the extract, we'll be exploring Simpson's attitude in more detail.

I'm going to give you a frame again to support your response.

And I'm going to ask you to remember to consider the precision of your vocabulary choices to explain his emotion.

So that's going back to the boxes at the beginning, and trying to get yourself down to two or three keywords that really capture his changing feelings and emotions.

I want you to try and aim for three to five quotations that will backup your ideas.

Okay, so there's lots of information on the screen there.

I'm going to show you how it's going to appear before I give you control.

So here are your final reflection sentence starters.

Okay, so it's a very short section that we're reading now, and it's going to build on what you've already got.

So we're going to finally, when we get to the end, think about Simpson's perspective is.

We've got the sentence, His overriding thought throughout the experience is.

His thoughts now turn to the importance of.

The language he uses reveals, and Simpson's actions show the power of man versus.

And you decide what you want to fill into those gaps.

You then have, as usual, an extract with details picked out.

So I'm not going to read that with you.

I'm going to let you have a look at that for yourself.

You can see it's only very short.

So once we've read right to the end of our extract, you would then need to complete the reflection task, taking into account everything that you've read, and also all of the prior notes that you've made.

Okay? But this is where it's all going to end up as a final response.

It's over to you.

Work your way through steadily.

Start by pausing on the screen and getting your sentence starters.

And then continuing your reading, looking to select between three to five quotations that you can use.

Remember I've said here, supporting evidence.

It doesn't have to be rich evidence, but it does need to support your statements.

So remember the distinction between the two.

Supporting evidence proves your argument.

Okay, control is with you.

Welcome back.

Okay, let's see how that has gone.

What I'm going to give you is a sample response.

And what I would like you to do is to assess your own work.

Think about in particular phrasing, that was one of the things I said, being really precise in your vocabulary.

Think about where you have put your evidence in, and think about the sort of bigger picture connections, you are able to draw out of the response.

Okay, and you will see that within this sample response, I've used the sentence stems to get them started, but I haven't just left it there.

So it's a developed response for you to be able to see how much you can include but how that scaffold gets you started and keeps your focus on the right track.

So Simpson's perspective is that of a professional; he bears no ill-will to his companion Yates, and understands that he had to make a sacrifice he did in order to save himself, otherwise, both would have perished.

He demonstrates an inner strength and resilience that few would have in such such a situation, never giving up hope.

Remember, I wasn't sure when I first read the extract, what I thought was it blind faith, I've now decided, now that I've got to the end of the extract, that he does actually have this core resilience that really shines through in the piece.

And that, for me is the reason why men like Simpson men like Ralston survive these situations because they have got this inner belief and resilience that maybe lots of us haven't.

As such, he's not so much a pragmatist as an optimist.

So I've also got this idea of him never giving up hope.

Notice I've introduced this word, optimist.

Ralston was pragmatic, chops off his arm because it's a sensible thing to do.

Whereas Simpson seems to be driven by hope, faith, a belief.

And it gives him this inner strength, showing a faith that he will be delivered that seems to be unsupported by the reality of his situation.

So I've still included my initial thoughts.

Haven't let go of them.

Your gut reaction to a text is always there.

Simpson's overriding thought throughout the experience is that he will be successful, even when it is tempered on occasions by a new obstacle, and from the moment that he sees the "beam" of light, it is as if he experiences epiphany that this is not his time to die.

As he describes the "abyss" below, he allows fate to take control.

You can notice that I've got quite a lot of short embedded quotations rather than lengthy supporting evidence, and that's absolutely fine.

In this part of the passage, however, his thoughts now turn to the importance of realising this goal and executing his return.

I'm using the language of the journeying hero there, of realising a goal and executing his return.

Initially, when he set off on this whole trip, his goal was to reach the top of the mountain.

He's achieved that and he still has the strength to then go on and achieve a further new goal.

The simple statement sentence, "it was a difficult decision," hints at a cautious and perhaps more fearful tone.

He dare not say more.

This is supported by the fact that he now "glanced nervously at the beam." The use of the adverb "nervously" interjects a sense of anxiety that has not been associated with the image previously.

I'll just stop there for a moment and say, if there is a change in the perspective, or the feeling, or the attitude of our persona of our individual that we're working with, then we need to recognise that.

And what was interesting for me was that there was not only a change, I could see the nerves, but I noticed it was linked to the light too, and I thought that was a really important detail to put down, that suddenly this thing that had given him all this faith and hope, was also something that had him looking at it a little bit more anxiously than he had before.

This is a high-stakes decision.

As Simpson moves tentatively on in his quest, he acknowledges that he has to "draw strength" from the power of nature, calling upon the beam of light to act as his guide and mentor him to his salvation.

When he conquers the immediate situation as the floor holds, Simpson celebrates the power of man versus self, as guided by the ultimate power of the natural world.

There you can see I've thought through lots of different things that are a little bit nutty in my head, and I wasn't quite sure of, and I've work it out now for myself, that there's a combination here of him recognising nature as his mentor, and the ultimate power.

But there is also the importance of man versus self.

He first has to overcome that obstacle, before he can then accept his situation in terms of the ultimate power of the natural world.

So it's an interesting dynamic that's being explored.

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, so it's over to you now, time for you to pause the video, have a look at what you've written, have a little look again at what I've written and go through it quite slowly.

There may be some ideas that you want to disagree with.

There may be some ideas, hopefully you want to pinch 'cause you think, that's really interesting.

And that's why we offer you these examples.

They show you what you can achieve and I want you to be ambitious and to try and get those ideas down, and to make your answer the very best it can be.

But always trust in your response.

Work it out, work it through.

You felt like that for a reason.

So make sure that you get the evidence to back it up.

It took me time to get to that answer.

It took me time to work through what I was thinking.

And I hope I've managed to articulate that to you over the last two sessions, where I've put question marks in, and I've queried what was going on.

Finally, I feel a little bit more confident that I can offer an interpretation.

Okay, so it over to you just to have another look through your response.

Make those amendments and be proud of the achievements that you have made.

All that remains for me to say is thank you for your focus today.

Enjoy the rest of your learning today, and I will see you very soon.