Top Notch Prompt Response Advice

Dear VCE 'Encountering Conflict' students,

This is a space for you to practise different forms of writing and responding to set prompts. When you write a piece you will need to indicate whether you are using The Secret River or The Rugmaker to inform your writing. You also need to provide a mini statement of explanation that outlines form, audience, purpose and context.

You will also be expected to read each others' work and use the comments feature and DIIGO (a web tool useful for conferencing) to provide feedback to each other. When conferencing you can comment about what is working well in the piece, areas for improvement and how you can see the prompt and nominated text influencing the piece. Due to this you might need to edit a post you have submitted so label each edit as post 1, post 2, etc.


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Thursday, March 22, 2012


Statement of Explanation sample:
I am writing in response to the prompt ‘It is not always easy to distinguish the innocent from the guilty in situations of conflict’. Based on my knowledge of the text, The Crucible, I will write an expository piece in the form of an analytical essay to highlight to readers that it can be difficult to know who is right and who is wrong when it comes to conflict. I have chosen to do this because I believe those that are truly ‘guilty’ are often left unscathed when a conflict has settled and I believe that this is unjust. The target audience for my discussion is young people, 16-18 years old, who are studying the play and keen to engage with the universal ideas of conflict that the text addresses.

I think the prompt relates directly to the plot of The Crucible and a vital element of my discussion will be exploring how the theocracy, patriarchal moral codes and superstitious beliefs of Salem’s 17th Century Puritan society created a vacuum of inequity where those who were guilty were glorified as righteous and those who were innocent were crucified. I am also aware of incidents similar to what happened in Salem taking place in different communities at different times in history. Miller used his historical knowledge of the Salem witch trials to craft The Crucible as an allegory to comment upon the unmerited persecution he and others endured during the McCarthy period and I am also going to use my historical knowledge to inform my essay discussion. I will consider the McCarthy period, the Nuremberg defence, child witches in the Niger Delta and social networking incidents to show how difficult it can be for people to tell who is guilty and who is not when conflict has been encountered. I believe exposing my readers to the issues of these topics will help them to understand how injustice has occurred in the past and today, which is hopefully a means towards preventing it from happening.

I have chosen to write in the form of an essay as it is the best way to explore the ideas and arguments related to this prompt. I consider my audience to be enthusiastic about history and literature studies and will use a sophisticated level of language in my essay to appeal to their academic nature. I will use quotes in my essay to enhance my discussion and add interest for the reader. In The Crucible Miller uses Elizabeth Proctor’s character to challenge a predominant cultural belief by the Puritans that witches must exist, ‘I cannot think the Devil may own a woman’s soul, Mr Hale…I do not believe it…If you think that I am one, then I say there are none’. When I discuss the examples I have collected to illustrate that ‘it is not always easy to distinguish the innocent from the guilty in conflict situations’, I will adopt Miller’s subversive approach by expressing my point of view in such a way that it will challenge circumstances where I believe unjust actions have taken or are taking place.

o Be very careful not to write a text response essay – this is Context writing and needs to explore the world using a set text as a model and inspiration for writing.

o Can you look at the revised statement of explanation and tick off FLAP+C? Think about how you’re going to write your own statement of explanation and bring in the detail you need. What will you say/write to talk about the form, language, audience, purpose and context choices you make? In the discussion, how/where will metalanguage help you do this?

o In your SAC use terms such as however, also, even though, perhaps, but, nevertheless, conversely, maybe, possibly – to open up discussion, show your thinking, develop writing that has depth

o What can you do in your writing to deliver writing that is powerful and has an impact on the reader?

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