Translation can be a linguistic bridge into another culture and may illuminate our understanding of some aspects of that culture.
Different translations of the same work will differ; when exploring the “literariness” of the work it is worth keeping in mind that the translator has used craft in finding equivalent words and art in working to convey literary elements such as the style and tone of the original author.
If possible, compare different translations of the same work—even short extracts. This is a valuable exercise that highlights issues such as: what is translated
how it is translated
how it is received in translation
what is lost in translation.
At least one interactive oral must be conducted for each work studied.
Each student should have some specific role in one of the orals (across all the works studied).
The prompts that students work with must require them to probe into the cultural and contextual underpinnings of the work and to consider how these considerations affect their understanding of the work.
Stage 2: The reflective statement
It must be written as soon as possible following the interactive oral. It is advisable for students to take notes during the interactive oral discussion to assist them in writing the reflective statement.
Each student must write one reflective statement on each work studied.
Students must know that the reflective statement on the work on which the essay is written will be assessed, along with the essay.
There is one guiding question for the reflective statement, which is:
How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?
“Context” refers to all possible contexts. It is intended to embrace the cultural underpinnings of the works by looking at specifics such as: the time and place in which the work was written
information about the author (particularly as it relates to the way in which the author’s ideas as presented in the work do, or do not, accord with situations in the contemporary society)
philosophical, political and social contexts
ideas that the students themselves bring to the work.
“Developed” is the other key word in the question. It is a personal statement that is most likely to be written in the first person, and should be an honest account of the evolution of understanding. If the student feels that they have not really learned anything, then they should reflect on what they still do not understand.
The aim is to ensure the focus of discussion is sufficiently challenging so that students will be stimulated to think more deeply about some aspect of the work.
The criterion by which students are assessed uses the same words as the question on which the reflective statement is based. If they answer this honestly and fully, then they should be able to achieve the three points.
Stage 3: Developing the topic--
Supervised Writing Essentials
At the beginning of the lesson, the teacher should provide three or four prompts for the work studied. The students must not have seen these prompts prior to the lesson.
Supervised writing is intended to stimulate independent thinking and choice of topic. It must be in continuous prose. However, the format is not prescribed—it could be journal writing, or it may be more like a draft.
At this stage, it is no longer important to consider the cultural or contextual elements of the work.
The students complete three pieces of supervised writing and their essay topic must be generated by one of them. The link between the final choice of title and the supervised writing does not have to be direct, but there must be a recognizable germ of an idea that can be tracked.
When students are deciding on which work to write (and hence which piece of supervised writing to use as a starting point), it is not the quality of the supervised writing that counts, but the link with the essay.
Teachers must play a key role in helping the student to develop from the supervised writing a tightly focused title for the essay. The examples below demonstrate how prompts for the supervised writing can lead to a precise title for the essay.
Stage 4: Production of the essay The teacher’s role Essentials
The teacher should assist the student to develop a suitably challenging topic that will allow him or her to show insight into the work chosen for the assignment.
Teachers are encouraged to comment on the first draft, either orally or through notes on a separate sheet of paper. However, they may not annotate the essay nor assist with subsequent drafts.
Presentation: The essay should be a formal piece of writing with a title and a developed argument. The main references are likely to be to the literary work chosen for the essay. It is essential that a recognized reference system is used consistently throughout and that the bibliography includes the full provenance of the work used, including the edition. Secondary sources may be used, although they are not essential, and they must also be referenced using the same system and included in the bibliography.
Students are assessed on their ability to organize and develop their ideas, and to integrate examples from the works used. Before they begin to write their essays, it is important that they have had plenty of practice in using quotations from literary works to support and further their arguments.
Written assignment checklist:
Has an interactive oral been completed by the class on each work? Has each student written their reflective statement? Has each student done supervised writing on each of the works? Does the topic of the essay derive from one of the pieces of supervised writing? Is the reflective statement 300–400 words in length and the essay 1,200–1,500 words? Have the student and teacher signed the coversheet?
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