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've cleared any distractions away and have everything you need at hand.

To begin with, let's have a look at the following.

We have two individuals on our screen.

We have Aron Ralston on our left.

He was the writer of "Between a Rock and a Hard Place." The gentleman who went into Bluejohn Canyon and got his arm trapped.

And on the right-hand side, we have Isabella Bird and her text, "Hawaiian Archipelago," is the text we have been working with this week.

Both texts deal with individuals who push beyond their limitations in a conflict with nature.

You have two minutes to list as many similarities and differences as you can think of between their experiences, between them as individuals.

Off you go.

Just into our final 30 seconds.

And just finishing off your final ideas, please.

Okay, let's try and bring that together a little bit.

What literal comparisons can you make across these two texts? And I've given you an example, both Ralston and Bird put themselves in dangerous situations.

So both Ralston and Bird put themselves in dangerous situations.

What other comparative sentences can you formulate? You might have, whereas.

So, whereas Bird does this, Ralston does that.

So you can think about different combinations using your information, similarities, and differences.

And from there, the second step.

What big picture inferences can you make? What do the two texts teach us about mankind, human nature? And we've got the four conflicts there as a little bit of a reminder of the types of things you might wish to be able to mention.

So it's now over to you.

Take your time over this.

Try and bring together some core ideas.

Aim for between three and five sentences, and make sure within that you have a combination of literal, comparative comments and also big picture statements.

Okay? It's over to you.

So, today, what we're going to do is to look at the two texts from Ralston and Bird side by side, and we're going to look at how the two individuals present their encounters with nature, and then we're going to expand on that by saying what we learn about them as individuals.

So what we're going to do is to follow the three bullet points on the screen.

We're going to compare the type of event and their response, compare the methods the writers use to convey their experiences, and you're going to make sure you support your response with references to both texts.

In terms of looking at that, in terms of criteria, we are looking at comparing attitudes, giving a thoughtful overview of the perspectives and feelings, considering the differences in attitude and any similarities, taking into account any changes within the extract, and then synthesising the ideas across the text, which we've had a little bit of an experiment with.

You're going to aim to select two to three pieces of evidence across the texts, and within those, you're going to have some of them as rich quotations, so one out of the three, for example, would be a rich quotation, which will form the basis of your analysis.

You can also consider any other features of the writer's style and bring those in.

So it doesn't have to arise from a specific piece of evidence, but if there is a particular feature of the style that you want to comment on, then please do.

So our frame question is compare how Ralston and Bird present their encounters with nature.

What do you learn about them? What do you learn about these two individuals? So, in terms of working through this, it's going to be as follows.

First thing I would like you to do is to get the table down.

Now, we've used this table last week, and what I want to do is to repeat the table structure again.

So we have, source A, Aron Ralston, and what you need to do is to get those headings.

If you have these in your notes from before, then you're one step ahead.

If not, not a problem, let's get this table down first.

And what you're going to do is just to get the table headings to start with, and then on a fresh piece of paper, you can put the details in if you haven't got enough space on one page.

I would struggle.

I've got quite big handwriting.

So you need to know what the table looks like, and then you need to be able to complete a fresh table.

So however that works for you, you make that decision.

I suspect it will be handwriting size bound as to how accurate you can be.

So what I'm going to do is to just take that back, put it the wrong way there.

Take that back, allow you to now pause on that screen, get down the table, and then once you've got your blank table ready, we will start to look at our first source text in order to examine our question of how Ralston and Bird present their encounters with nature.


Welcome back.

So what we'll do is we'll work through each text at a time.

So we're going to read through source A, Aron Ralston's extract first, and you're going to fill in the left-hand column, making notes using that planning frame to support you in establishing initially how Ralston presents his encounter with nature.

So that's your first point.

He can be the base text, so to speak.

So we'll record some ideas looking at how Ralston presents his experience with nature, and then, when we come to looking at Isabella Bird, we'll think about it in terms of similarity and difference from the outset.

So what you're going to be doing is reading through, the question is running along the bottom for you to remind you, and your aim is to make sure that you are starting to fill in this left-hand side of the column, aiming for your two to three rich quotations/supporting evidence in order to answer the question.

Okay? So control is over with you.

Take your time, gather evidence.

You may have too much to start with.

So maybe have a scrap piece of paper, we did this last time.

So scrap to start with, and then you select the two to three final supporting/rich quotations that you are going to use in your grid.

Control is over with you.

Welcome back.

So hopefully you've got the first column filled in.

You should have had lots of additional quotations, you've refined those choices, and you've filled in the first part of your grid so that the section on the left-hand side now has some ideas about Ralston's experience with his environment, what you want to say in response to our question.

So compare how Ralston and Bird present their encounters with nature.

What we're now going to do is to immediately, as we start to approach Isabella Bird's extract, be thinking about similarities, differences, contrast.

On the other hand, whereas, so all of the comparative language from the middle section will be applied as we think about the next step.

So we're looking for those comparable moments so that we say how the two differ or combine similar attitudes in their approaches to their encounters.

Okay, so we are now going to be completing the remainder of the table.

Again, you might want to have some scrap paper.

However, it's possible that you find this slightly easier.

I used the phrase, use the Ralston extract as a base text.

Once you've got an initial interpretation, you can then start to think about building almost like the additional argument, the counter argument in places.

So you might find this a little bit more straightforward.

Nevertheless, control is over with you.

Compare how Ralston and Bird present their encounters with nature.

Time for you to read through the second extract, complete your grid, and then I will join you to look at the next step.

And welcome back.

So we're going to have a go at writing this up now.

So you should have quite a structured plan, and it's the structuring of that plan that should make the writeup quite straightforward.

So from that initial point of having our plan, we need to remind ourselves of our assessment criteria, thinking about a thoughtful overview, thinking about making sure we've got the key ideas in there, and that we have taken into account any changes in perspective, and making sure that we have a combination of evidence that is acting as both a supporting comment as to their attitude to their environment, but also we are thinking about analysing the method.

You've got the plan then, nice and ready, and then I have given you some sentence starters to support you in writing up your response.

So the writers' perspectives are different because in.

The writer of source A says this, which suggests that he thinks or feels.

Moving through to method, on the other hand, so that comparative language is there with a few sentence starters to support you in generating your response.

So this is where you now need to have real independence and autonomy in terms of deciding where your focus needs to be, taking care in using your plan effectively, and really being ambitious in capturing all of those key ideas.

What is it, ultimately, that Ralston wanted to say about his encounter with nature? What is it, ultimately, that Bird wants to say about her encounter with nature? You've got to have the essence of those texts within your response, and you also need to address that final part of what you will learn about them as individuals.

Okay, so this now is control over to you.

It's very much about taking your time.

This could take 15 minutes, 20 minutes.

They are not wasted minutes.

Those are really important minutes where I would love to think that you are trying a sentence out, scrubbing it out, and then rephrasing it so that you're absolutely precise.

Through all the models we've been looking at this week, we've really looked to extend our answers and to push to those big picture ideas.

So I'd like you to do that in your response right now.

So control is over with you.

When you have your best response recorded on your piece of paper, I will be waiting for you, and we will review it together.

Over to you.

Let's go for it.

Welcome back.

So final step is for us to assess the work.

So we do have the assessment criteria for us to look at.

We've also got a model response.

As per our routine, what I will do is to read through this with you, and you can see that I've used the colour coding as usual, with the orange for the phrasing, the pink for the evidence, and the purple for the subject terminology.

You can see that the orange is concentrating on the comparative structure.

You can see that actually the purple is perhaps a little bit less than normal because we've got the balance of supporting and rich evidence.

So what I'll do is go back to the beginning.

I'd just like to show you what's coming your way, and we'll read through it once together, and then I will give you opportunity to go back and look at your response in more detail.

As you go, reward where you have got comparative phrasing in, reward yourself for your use of rich and supporting evidence, and give yourself a big tick when you have got your subject terminology in as well, and we can start seeing that the response is coming together in the way that it should, and is addressing our assessment criteria, okay? Although both accounts are autobiographical and detail the events of an encounter with nature, the situations are quite different.

Ralston's position is an unfortunate accident whereas Bird has sought out this opportunity to come face-to-face with a volcanic eruption.

So I've got that comparative language right from the start, and I've set up the whys and wherefores.

How are they in this situation? And we've actually got, one is an accident, and one, a very deliberate, active choice on the part of Bird.

Bird's choice to be in this position is coupled with the fact that, as a Victorian female travel writer, hers is as a pioneering voice in a world that is traditionally a male one.

So we've got this additional comment now.

I'm drawing out the context, and we're talking about the fact that actually you might have thought that it would be the man who'd be going out and choosing to go and see a volcano erupt, but in our instance, we have a female persona who is in that situation and, with it being a female Victorian, there's something here that is slightly pioneering in its quality.

She is somebody who's a forerunner.

Not many women at that time would have been in this position.

So I've tried to get that in my opening section.

Initially, Ralston appears despondent.

"I'm no longer living, no longer surviving.

"I'm just waiting," and presents him as a victim to nature.

The final simple sentence, "I'm just waiting," underlines his inferior status in this scenario.

In contrast, Bird adopts an active and forthright persona, which is atypical of female representations.

Now, can you see I'm carrying on with this idea that Bird's persona is something that I wasn't quite expecting of a Victorian female if I was going to just be told that as a piece of information, and so we've gone down this atypical route.

"I have no room in my thoughts for anything but volcanoes." Bird's focus remains resolutely on detailing her surroundings rather than concentrating on her feelings.

"Suffocating gases, scorching heat, crashings, "surgings, detonations, half-seen fires, "hideous, tortured, wallowing waves." She does go on to describe the moment as her nemesis and how it will haunt her dreams, but, even in doing so, she turns the abstract into the concrete with the proper noun nemesis and, is in truth, responding to the sublime nature of the overall experience rather than a personal dread of the physicality of the situation.

One should also further acknowledge that her style of account is shaped by the nature of travelogues , but it has to be conceded that this presentation challenges the typical male/female dichotomy of rational versus emotional responses as Bird, with her "thick gloves shrivelled off "by the touch of sulphurous acid, "and her boots nearly burned off," returns to the location on more than one occasion.

So I've extended my interpretation now and said that this is an unorthodox representation, and it's not just the fact that it's a woman in this situation.

However, it is added to by the absolute focus on this rational recording of the logical information and the lack of emotional response that is atypical of its time and of the genre, and it's about really capturing that idea.

In contrast, it is Ralston who gives us an emotional response.

"The rage blooms purple in my mind.

"Carrunch! I growl with animalistic fury." The metaphor of his rational mind blooming purple not only emasculates his response, but goes one step further when it is described as animalistic.

Ralston is pure reaction and base emotion in his encounter, a complete contrast to the controlled Isabella Bird who is experiencing a moment of enlightenment.

We learn more about why this is when Ralston explains "only in action does my life approximate "anything more than existence." This is interesting as the reader is informed that it was not the physical injury that was frightening to Ralston, but the fact that he could not do anything about his situation.

Being active is what gives Ralston his sense of identity and his passive status is what ascribes him his victim status.

In contrast, we learn that Isabella Bird's strength throughout comes from her appreciation of the sublimity of her experience.

Now, I'm just going to pause there for a moment.

I've carried on thinking back to some of the learning that we've done previously about representations of men and women in literature, yes, but we have to grant that this is a representation of genders that is transferable to lots of different text types, and to lots of different artwork, and to lots of different contexts.

So what we've got is this idea of the active male versus a passive female being flipped.

We've got the idea of the world of immersion belonging to the female and rational thought belonging to the male flipped in these particular passages.

And that's the line of argument that I have taken within my answer.

I'm expanding it out now to look at this idea of those core motivations and core feelings that the two characters get.

And here, we've got the idea of sublimity.

She celebrates and embraces both the awe and terror of the moment, understanding that she is only receiving "mere momentary glimpses of a terror and fearfulness "which otherwise could not have been borne." Bird is able to surrender herself to the power of nature whereas Ralston is able to conquer his environment by overcoming his conflict with himself.

So in my conclusion, I've gone for this idea of Bird almost giving herself in, so in those final moments, we do have almost a sense of a passive response from her, which then flips back, and Ralston taking on the active response, and therefore regaining his control in the last moment.

So we've got these different perspectives.

We've got a really close analysis of how the two characters subvert expectations, and at the end, we've got this final image of them reverting almost to type, but, with Isabella Bird, it being an active choice, and, with Aron Ralston, him overcoming and finding his strength.

But it was a strength and a battle not with nature, but with his own mind.

Okay, take your time.

Lots of rich ideas in there for you to work with.

Lots of things that you can add to your response.

And I want you to be really enjoying these alternative interpretations and trying to use all of the learning that we've been doing throughout our study and bringing everything together.

Synthesis of all of these different angles, all of these different interpretations, can come out in these analysis that we're doing right now.

So control is over with you.

Have a little look through.

You are now creating your perfect model.

And welcome back.

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