Introduce learners to the devices used by authors to create specific effects, and see where it takes their own writing.
I know I am not alone in feeling a sense of unease when planning to teach students to write about structure. Too often, delivery of this subject seems uninspiring and dull, and many English teachers still feel unsure of what they should be teaching students in relation to this topic.
In the first year of the GCSE exams, many of us went overboard, teaching our students about Todorov’s narrative theory, where to spot the equilibrium and rising tension, only for that to eschewed in the 2017 Examiner’s Report.
And to our frustration, many students are flummoxed by this question despite everything we have taught them, simply reverting to describing the ‘beginning, middle and end’ of the text.
Why teach this?
Structure may not seem like the most riveting subject, but for exam success students need to be taught how to employ structure for effect in their own writing and analyse the effects of it in the work of others.
Key curriculum links
Pupils should be taught to:
Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views
Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts
Lindsey Till is an English Consultant for ACET Community trust in North Derbyshire.
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