Lesson video

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I'm Mrs. Crompton, welcome to today's English lesson.

Our focus today is to look at viewpoint writing.

You'll 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 start then, and what I would like you to do is to take a look at the image on the screen.

We have two individuals here, very different roles in society, but who makes a good role model in your eyes? What qualities does that person need to have? What are you looking for in a role model? One minute for you to jot down some initial ideas.

And if you just start finishing off the sentence or the word that you are writing at the moment, we will take a look at the question itself.

So we now have the full question for you to consider, and what I would like you to do is to actually write down the question and the task in full on your piece of paper.

So please do pause the screen at this point, get down the exact detail.

It has been said that people who save lives or help improve the lives of others are the true role models of today.

Write an article for a magazine in which you argue your view about what makes a good role model.

So what I'd like you to do is to make sure you have the whole of the question written down, and then just have a little look again at what you've written so far and your initial response to this question.

There might be a few more ideas that you want to add to your piece of paper.

So please take your time, pause, get yourselves ready, make sure you've got everything down that you want, and I'll be waiting for you to carry on with the next part of the lesson as soon as you're ready.

And welcome back.

So we've got some ideas now about our question, and what we're actually going to do is to read a sample response to this question written by a student, like yourselves, under a timed condition.

So, we'll have a look at this essay.

The essay has been split into three sections.

At the bottom of the screen, you will have your usual prompt questions just to get you thinking about some of the decisions that the writer has made.

I'd like you to record your responses on lined paper, just taking notes.

You don't need to write full analysis of this particular response.

We're not responding to a writer's piece of text as a reading extract, but we are looking at it more so with the design choices that somebody has made as a writer.

Okay, so bullet points are absolutely fine.

Then what we'll do, as usual, is pause, have a little opportunity to discuss some of the key things that you might have observed before we move on to the next section, okay.

So control is over to you, I'll just show you the first slide, so we're going to look at how the line of argument is established, and you're going to see the screen has been picked out with colours to guide you through about the types of things that you might notice and the prompts along the bottom listing, use of pronouns, the use of emotive language.

Okay, so as soon as you have worked through how the argument is established, we'll pause, review, and then we'll look at the next section, off you go.

So what did we notice? So looking at the opening paragraph, I've put down some notes at the bottom, and I'm almost doing this as a teacher marking this work and also somebody observing some of the features.

I'm trying to look at it as a little bit of a critique, but I'm also as somebody who is a teacher looking at this work and assessing the qualities of it against what we would expect to find in a piece of viewpoint writing.

So, that's what I tried to share with you at the bottom.

Your role at this stage is to add to any notes that you've already got and try and get down some of the ideas that perhaps you've missed.

Okay, so, "A role model should be someone to look up to, "someone who has all the qualities "of goodness, compassion, love, and strength, "wouldn't you agree?" So that opening paragraph is actually quite short, I put succinct.

It does the main job of an opening, and that it establishes the overview and lets me know exactly what this person is thinking in terms of what a role model's qualities are.

We've then got the use of pronouns in this opening section too, to establish that idea of us and them and the phrase direct address, "wouldn't you agree?" That's direct address where you speak directly to your reader.

So these are well-known features of viewpoint writing, and I can see those, and if I was assessing it, I can see that those are things where I would put a tick.

Effective use of devices.

We've got the rhetorical question in there.

We've got listing used for effect, and the language is really precise.

It's starting to be a little bit emotive, "unsung heroes," but it's also quite measured in tone.

It's not too loud in that opening paragraph.

It's not aggressive.

It's presenting an idea in a very measured, controlled manner.


Moving on, those language choices I'm noticing for this person are a consistent feature.

On this section I can see that they've used the word littered, emaciated, modest and courageous, and they've been placed really well to establish a contrast between the two groups.

So I'm starting to think that this person has got quite a wide vocabulary, and they are able to select precisely for effect.

I'm seeing that coming through.

And then finally, I thought it was really interesting the way that the final line was phrased, a singular heart is referred to, "shock a heart of someone's mother, father, brother, "back into action." So it's a singular heart, but then the list somehow makes it seem really personal.

Makes you think of your connection with a particular individual, but it's also quite a universal image.

It's quite a clever sentence, one heart, but a heart belongs to everybody, so as a technique, it worked really well, and it got my attention because it was a little bit unusual.

Okay, opportunity for you to just jot down any further notes at that point, before we look at the final comments.

And that is that overall, there's a really strong personal voice in this opening.

I can, I can hear the person.

I can sense their conviction in terms of what they're writing, so it's confident, and it sounds as though they're speaking to me, and I'm convinced.

Let's have a look at the next section then.

And we're going to look at how the line of argument is developed.

If you need to pause before we go onto this, please do, otherwise control is over to you.

And what you're going to see is that I've put some new prompts, so I've asked you to consider what's going on here in terms of a counter-argument.

So your counter-argument is the opposite of what you want to say in your essay, however, it's a common feature to dismiss that counter-argument within your own writing.

It's considered to be a smart thing to do, you acknowledge what other people might have to say, dismiss it, and then move on.

And then this precise vocabulary choice, is it a consistent feature, so those are the two things for you to track.

Control is over to you, and I'll be waiting to go through the review with you.

Welcome back, so let's have a little look.

So counter-argument addressed and dismissed.

"Some people say that it's their job to save our lives, "it's no brave thing to quench a fire for money.

"However, you must see that it was their choice of job." So we've got this idea that you can't call them heroes, they're gettin' paid, dismissed really, really smartly.

And it's this idea of choice.

They have got a conviction, they've got a passion, they want to do this for a living.

There's a formality as well to the whole thing.

The tone is very controlled and measured, as I've mentioned before, and that's because the register is very formal.

We've also got the use of pronouns to further underline the message.

Moving onto the next section.

The vocabulary now takes over, and it's starting to really be quite clever in choice, and it's also quite, quite good at building images in your mind, "photoshopped versus plastered on billboards." We've got the p sound repeated there, that a little bit of alliteration working in the background.

Then you've got this idea of, "there is no substance to them," a short statement sentence, and that's contrasted to the more emotive, exclamatory sentence at the end, "just plastic and glitter." So we've got some really clever juxtaposition of different techniques going on.

There's the calm, formal register, but a little bit more of the personality coming through with the vocabulary and some of the sentence types changing and working together.

And when we talk about thinking about your punctuation for effect, thinking about using sentences for effect, that's what this person is doing, they're really good at it.

And it's a skill, and it's something that we can practise.

Okay, pause again at this point.

You might want to have a look over some of your notes, as soon as you are ready, it's over to you to look at the final section, and this is how the argument is concluded.

Over to you.

And welcome back, so let's review that final section and look some of the prompts that we had along the bottom.

So this idea of similar or different, what you notice is that we've got statistics and facts being used.

Now, sometimes they can be incredibly clunky within a piece of writing, and I'm not the biggest fan of using them, however, they were used here really well, and they were integrated into the style of writing, and it didn't feel like somebody was working from a checklist and their teacher had told them to put them in.

And I think that's really important.

Use them if they support what you are doing.

Emotive devices in the final sentence, "fireman caught in the blast, "lifeguards drowned in unruly seas, the list goes on," actually compliments the statistic.

Now on the next section of the paragraphing, there was a bit about an MP speaking, And I thought that's the bit where this particular writer used one technique too many.

I didn't think it was as successful, and I also think the really long quotation from the MP didn't sound very realistic, and I could hear the writer's voice rather than the MP's.

So I think this is an example of being cautious, use things when they work, don't force it.

Okay, I just wanted to draw your attention to that.

And then finally, how is it finished off? "These are the kinds of role models we need.

"No sparkles or plastic just simple grit, determination "and overwhelming compassion for other people.

"If you think there is any better role model, "please be my guest." And I thought that was a really smart ending for this particular piece of writing.

Why? Because I could see the following happening, there's a declarative sentence, "these are the kinds of role models we need," and it sums up the argument again.

And it mirrors the conciseness of the opening.

There's precise and powerful vocabulary choices, and those I have noticed have been sustained all the way through.

Just at the right time, I get something that's a little bit more passionate in tone, and then there's an ability to pull back and be quite measured as well.

And I really like the phrase, "no sparkles or plastic, just simple grit, determination, "and overwhelming compassion," and we've got the rhetorical devices of the listing happening too.

And then finally, in the last line, we've got an echoing of the direct address from the opening.

So I can see that this person has sequenced their piece of writing and made sure that the final paragraph mirrors and echoes and finishes it off really well.

Okay, ladies and gentlemen, what I would like you to do, now you've made your notes on the final section is to just complete a little bit of reflection.

So I'd like you to look through all of your notes and just pick out three things that you have noticed from this model essay that you can take into your own viewpoint writing, and that's what we're going to be producing this week.

Every session we'll be looking at a different part of the essay, and cumulatively, we will create a response.

So why don't we say, think about three learning points.

It could be something in terms of content.

You had your initial ideas at the beginning, you're going to be writing this essay, there might be something that has been mentioned today that you think that's a really nice idea, and I want to add that to my own content.

It could be something about the organisation.

I think that's one of the biggest strengths of this piece.

It is organised very carefully.

It has a really good blend of tone, and there's a really strong sense of the personal voice that is created through the organisation and sequencing of ideas.

So it could be somethin' that you've noticed there.

Or it could be a particular technique that you've never thought of using, or you like, or a phrasing in that respect, a rhetorical feature that you think like, that's something that I want to take into my own piece of writing.

So an opportunity now to reflect on the whole piece and look at all of your individual notes and give yourself a three point target of things that you're going to try and work on in your own piece of writing.

Okay then, so all that remains for me to say is thank you for your focus today.

Please remember to bring all of your notes from today's session to your next learning with me, and we will be looking at the next step in our planning and development of our viewpoint writing.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your learning today.