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Author Topic: 2015 Section B Prompt Breakdowns and sample Section C Annotations  (Read 6297 times)  Share 

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literally lauren

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Hey everyone!

So I don't know about you but my internet's thrown up a veritable array of different error messages these past few days, and I haven't been able to access the site long enough to post this. Plus, I was basically beaten by Brenden's L.A. blog post anyway but I thought I'd take you through Sections B and C of the exam with regards to what some of the assessors might've been looking for.

Naturally for English, there is no one right answer, so below is a potential breakdown for each of the Context prompts, including some possible contentions and ideas you might have explored. Note this is by no means conclusive, but it might put your mind at ease to know that what you've done was relevant anyway. Also, there's no possible way a single piece could cover everything listed here, so don't panic if you see some new ideas that didn't come to you in the exam; that's to be expected.

I've also attached an annotated copy of this year's Language Analysis material. This is a record of some of the persuasive techniques and effects you might have commented on, as well as a highlighted representation of some of the major sub-arguments. (The highlighter didn't come up on my scanner too well, so that dull purple colour is meant to be bright pink :/ Hopefully you can still make it out.) Where the blog post unpacks the flow of the arguments and key appeals in the pieces, this is more of a visual representation of what , and I've left out the really basic techniques like inclusive language, but again, this is not the only way to analyse, and you could've done incredibly well by approaching the task in any number of ways - this is just a general indication of the kinds of things assessors might have been looking for, amongst others.

The Imaginative Landscape:
Every place offers imaginative possibilities.

- Note the absolute: 'every' - this is something you could challenge
- The word 'offers' implies that places naturally present these possibilities to us, but that doesn't necessary mean we have to or choose to embrace them
- What does it mean for a possibility to be imaginative?
- Why do these places offer these possibilities? Is this something we choose to interpret, or is there something innate about places that means they will inherently offer us such potential?
- This prompt is specifically about the nature of places, but that doesn't mean talking about our responses to landscapes is of the table; think about our reaction to this; what do people do with these possibilities, and how might that be important?

Weirdly, despite being by far the vaguest of the contexts, IL always seems to get the easiest prompts. Last years' boiled down to 'Imagination shapes landscapes. Discuss.' and this years' is basically just saying 'Landscapes can be imaginative. Discuss.' Asking some of the questions above or similar might've helped you broaden this a bit and deal with some more interesting material, but I doubt relevance would've been an issue for too many people. The notion of 'possibilities' poses some challenge, and I can imagine a few people would've gotten caught up dealing with the absolute 'every' ( la: ummm...  some places offer those possibilities, but not all of them, but some of them do... err... idk... The End.) This is also one of those prompts where every single word could've shaped your argument somehow, but attempting to deal with each one was a fool's errand. So long as you endeavoured to tie the overall implication together in some way, you would've done fine though.

Whose Reality?:
We create our own reality, but we are never completely in control.

- Absolute: 'never' - so can we ever be in control?
- Also: 'completely' - can we be partially in control?
- What does it mean to be in control of one's own reality? Do we have to have complete control to be 'in control?'
- Why is it that we can create a reality, but not control it? Does that say something about us, or about the nature of reality? Or both?
- If we aren't in complete control of 'our own reality,' who is? Is anyone? Is that even possible?
- It's specifying 'our own reality,' so you could broaden this by considering why we may be able to create our own reality, but ultimately be unable to control it because of external/interpersonal influences
- Perhaps because the creation of a reality can be a spontaneous or accidental, but nevertheless single event, while controlling a reality implies an ongoing commitment to maintain power, the former is a lot easier
- Are we ever in control to begin with? Is that a matter of opinion or perspective? Can we ever feel in control whilst having very little control at all; or conversely, do we ever think we have very little control, when in reality, we have more power than we realise?

This is a double-barreled prompt with a bit of a tricky trap. Poor essays would've just talked about each component separately, or worse, just focused on a single one. A mediocre-to-good response would've dealt tangentially with the fact that we create our own realities, and then explored the notion on being in control in a lot of depth. But the outstanding responses would've been the ones that united the two, and found a link between the fact that we create our realities, but don't have full control over them. There's a reason this prompt didn't just say 'We are never completely in control of our own reality' - that first part is meant to feed into your discussion too. However, the many different challenges you could've issued, and the fact that both of these components offer a lot of discursive options means that they'd likely reward students who fell more on the 'depth' side of the fence than the 'breadth' side.

Encountering Conflict:
The strength of our beliefs is tested when we encounter conflict.

- Why does conflict test our beliefs?
- Do our beliefs become stronger, or weaker when encountering conflict?
- How does conflict 'test' us? What does it mean to 'pass' the text. What does it mean to 'fail?'
- Do our beliefs change as a result of being tested? Why?
- Is it a good thing to have the strength of one's beliefs tested?
- Are strong beliefs better, or worse?
- Does this test come about because of something we do, or is it to do with the nature of conflict? Should we fear this test, or embrace it?

I had some concerns about this year's Conflict prompt since the texts that are currently on the list are somewhat... disparate, so any highly specific key words could end up screwing some people over purely on the basis of their text choice. However, the idea of 'testing our beliefs' is fairly central to all of them, albeit in different ways. Thus your interpretation of this prompt and the focus of your arguments would've varied greatly depending on which set text you were using. However, even if you haven't dealt with the concept of 'beliefs' before, this prompt was much more straightforward than basically all the prompts from '08-'13. Even 2014 had more of a hidden twist than this years' in that you had the 'powerful + powerless' combination to unpack. I think the core problem here would've been that so many responses would've simply stated that yes, the strength of our beliefs is tested in conflict, and here are some examples of that happening, leaving only the high-end pieces to tackle the question of why this might be the case.

Identity and Belonging:
An individual's sense of identity and belonging changes throughout life.

- Both identity and belonging change - in equal measure? - in the same ways?
- 'Throughout life' is an important qualifier here. The change is persistent/constant/universal
- Are these changes continuous and gradual, or discontinuous and sudden?
- Does our sense of identity change alongside our sense of belonging, or does one necessitate/facilitate the other?
- How much does our sense of identity/belonging have to change before it is considered 'changed' or different?
- What brings about this change, and why?
- Is this change a good thing? What are the consequences of these changes?

Curiously, this is the first year where the prompt has explicitly contained the words 'identity' and 'belonging,' even though they're implicitly present every year and you're always expected to address them both in some capacity. True to form though, VCAA have given you an unnecessarily verbose construction that should've just said: 'Identity and Belonging Prompt: Change. That is all.' As usual, there's room for more complexity, but this is the heart of it. Much like the Conflict prompt, any endeavours to answer the question of why this might be true would've been rewarded, and the post prominent issue of the weighting of 'identity' vs. 'belonging' should also have been addressed in some form. You might've made something of the difference between our identities and factors that influence our belonging changing, as opposed to our sense of those things changing, but that probably wouldn't have sustained a whole piece. This is a prompt that demands you pose and answer your own questions, like in what ways do we change, and to what extent? Luckily, most of the texts suit this broad scope quite well, so text links shouldn't have been a challenge - nor should relevance - although as someone who was prone to waffling in these very open-ended style tasks, staying on-topic could've been somewhat problematic.

edit: link to the L.A. because a single page went over the upload size limit because my printer scans everything in ten billion pixels per centimetre  ::)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2015, 11:56:04 pm by literally lauren »


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Re: 2015 Section B Prompt Breakdowns and sample Section C Annotations
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2017, 02:53:58 pm »
Hey Lauren, that section C annotation image is not in full view, meaning i cant see all of the annotations as some of the parts are cutt of
Is there anyway this can be fixed?