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Texts and Human Experiences: English Advanced

Year 12 English

Common Module

In this common module students deepen their understanding of how texts represent individual and collective human experiences. They examine how texts represent human qualities and emotions associated with, or arising from, these experiences. Students appreciate, explore, interpret, analyse and evaluate the ways language is used to shape these representations in a range of texts in a variety of forms, modes and media.

 

Students explore how texts may give insight into the anomalies, paradoxes and inconsistencies in human behaviour and motivations, inviting the responder to see the world differently, to challenge assumptions, ignite new ideas or reflect personally. They may also consider the role of storytelling throughout time to express and reflect particular lives and cultures. By responding to a range of texts they further develop skills and confidence using various literary devices, language concepts, modes and media to formulate a considered response to texts.

 

Students study one prescribed text and a range of short texts that provide rich opportunities to further explore representations of human experiences illuminated in texts. They make increasingly informed judgements about how aspects of these texts, for example context, purpose, structure, stylistic and grammatical features, and form shape meaning. In addition, students select one related text and draw from personal experience to make connections between themselves, the world of the text and their wider world.

 

By responding and composing throughout the module students further develop a repertoire of skills in comprehending, interpreting and analysing complex texts. They examine how different modes and media use visual, verbal and/or digital language elements. They communicate ideas using figurative language to express universal themes and evaluative language to make informed judgements about texts. Students further develop skills in using metalanguage, correct grammar and syntax to analyse language and express a personal perspective about a text.

Unit Description

Socrates facing the death penalty stated in his response to the jury 'the unexamined life is not worth living'. He dared to question, express his opinions and seek knowledge. He argued that the ability to examine, question and evaluate ethically made us human. Orwell and the composers of the short texts we will be exploring have the courage to question actions and behaviours that compromise and even threaten the quality of the human experience. By doing so they provoke us to see the world differently, to challenge assumptions, consider new ideas and reflect personally on what this means for our experiences.

This common module focuses predominantly on the representation of the human experience through genre, form, structure and language. The students will explore the prescribed text Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and a range of different texts in a variety of forms, modes and media and consider how purpose, perspective and context influence the way that these individual and collective human experiences are represented. This exploration will further develop students’ skills to make informed judgements about texts examined and evaluated in class and their related text.

With Nineteen Eighty-Four and its representation of the human experience as the central focus, the key aspects that impact on the of the individual and collective human experiences:

•            Having the courage to speak out

•            Overt use of power and control – ‘the intoxication of power’ (George Orwell).

•            The loss of personal freedom

•            Destruction of truth and morality

•            Mind control

•            Subversion of human relationships and trust

•            A culture of fear and mistrust

•            Rewriting of history

 

The selected short texts will feature composers, like Orwell, who express their concerns about something that they consider will have a significant and often detrimental impact on the human experience. These composers provide provocative insights into the anomalies, paradoxes and inconsistencies in human behaviour and motivations; thus, inviting the students to see the world differently, to challenge assumptions, consider new ideas and reflect personally on what this means for their experiences. Students are provided with opportunities to develop greater empathy for the attitudes and opinions of others by interacting with and interrogating a range of texts.

Guiding Questions

  1. How and why do composers use genre, mode, form, structure and language to represent the complexity of individual and collective human experiences in texts?
  2. How do purpose, perspective and context influence the selection of and the ways in which the specific aspects of the human experiences are represented?
  3. How and why do composers provoke insights through these representations into the anomalies, paradoxes and inconsistencies in human behaviour and motivations?
  4. Does this representation of the human experience invite responders to see the world differently, to challenge assumptions, consider new ideas and reflect personally on what this means for their experiences?