Sunday, September 7, 2008

Belonging Workshop

The following is an outline of the workshop I conducted promoting the textbook. The handout also previews the process I underwent in developing teaching strategies suitable for the Area of Study: Belonging. Perhaps it may help you.

The handout given to teachers participating in the workshop is as follows:

Aim of workshop:

To assist teachers in the development of teaching strategies suitable for writing in Paper 1 of the HSC examination: Area of Study – Belonging

Outline of workshop:

Syllabus requirements for Sections 1-3 of the HSC Examination
Approaches to teaching the Area of Study – Belonging
Learning strategies for teaching content and skills related to the Area of Study: Belonging in the text book
Practical issues: The examination paper, prescribed texts and related material

Format of workshop

Explanation of syllabus requirements, content to be addressed and skills taught
Participant activities – brainstorming, questions, reflection on content and skills
Participant development of teaching strategies
Sample learning strategies for teaching content and skills based on research in Belonging textbook
Discussion on the examination paper, suitability of prescribed texts for students needs and sourcing related material.
Syllabus Requirements
Unseen texts

In Paper 1, Section 1 of the HSC English exam, students are required to answer questions about visual and written texts that they have probably not seen or studied before. The questions require students to examine, question, reflect on and speculate on (i.e. think about to form an opinion):

• What is being said about belonging
• How the concept of belonging is conveyed in texts through visual and written language
• An understanding of the way perceptions of belonging are shaped in and through texts
• Assumptions about belonging underlying the texts.

Creative writing

In Paper 1, Section 2 of the HSC examination, students are required to respond to and compose a range of complex and imaginative texts, demonstrating effective communication. By studying various composers and text types, students will develop an understanding of the way composers shape their ideas using language forms and features, and text structures.

Students are required to demonstrate:

· Effective communication
· Engaging ideas
· An exploration of the concept of belonging
· Appropriate structure of imaginative writing

Analytical writing

In Paper 1, Section 3 of the HSC examination, students will be asked to write an analytical response to one question about the concept of belonging. Students may be asked to write in a specific text type or form, such as an essay or speech.

Students are required to:

· Write about how the composers represent the concept of belonging by referring to the prescribed text and related texts of their own choosing
· Analyse how meaning is created through the text’s form, and through the language and/or visual features of each text.
Approach to teaching Area of Study: Belonging

So how do you prepare students for success in the HSC? There are three key areas to begin with:

The concept of belonging
The content

· Concept of belonging:

Question: What do you need to teach students about the concept of belonging?

- What is belonging/not belonging?
- Connotations of belonging/not belonging
- How do people belong/not belong in society (within various groups - families, peer relationships, schools, religion, etc)?
- Consequences of belonging/not belonging


Question: What information do you need to teach students about the content of the course? Consider the following sections of the HSC examination:

- Section 1: Unseen texts
- Section 2: Creative writing
- Section 3: Analytical writing

Analysis of unseen texts

- Key terms
- Types of HSC style questions
- Types of visual and language texts about belonging
- How to answer types of questions
- Meaning of visual and language techniques

Analysis of creative writing texts

- Types of HSC style questions
- Structure of imaginative texts
- Creative writing techniques (point of view, narrative voice, figurative language, characterization, setting, etc)

Analysis of key elements of prescribed text and related texts

- Key terms
- How text relates to belonging
- Text structure
- Characters
- Setting
- Language and visual techniques


Question: What skills do you need to teach students to write successful responses in the HSC examination? Consider the following sections of the HSC examination:

- Section 1: Unseen texts
- Section 2: Creative writing
- Section 3: Analytical writing

Unseen texts

- understanding types of questions (‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘synthesis’)
- reading unseen texts
- inferring ideas about belonging
- listening for ideas about belonging
- interpreting belonging texts
- how to structure responses for types of questions
- Understanding the concept of belonging in texts
- Analysing techniques (technique, example and explanation/analysis)

Creative writing

- How to structure imaginative responses
- Writing in different text types (journal, short story, speech, etc)
- Effective use of sentence structure (variety of sentences, types of sentences)
- Appropriate word choice
- Imaginative writing
- Appropriate paragraphs
- Development of ideas
- Character development
- Narrative voice
- Point of view (first, second, third person)
- Type of language (formal, informal, colloquial)
- Use of figurative language (metaphors, similes, etc)

Analytical writing

- Understanding of types of question
- Understanding of key terms
- Reading analytically
- Effective use of sentence structure (variety of sentences, types of sentences)
- Appropriate word choice
- Appropriate paragraphs
- How to structure analytical responses (thesis statement, developing paragraphs, thesis reinforcement)
- Development of ideas
- How to write about the concept of belonging through reference to prescribed text and related texts (accurate reference to elements of text, relevant examples, appropriate use of language and or visual techniques, explanation/analysis of text)
- How to link prescribed text and related texts

Learning strategies for teaching content and skills related to the Area of Study: Belonging in the book

Question: Identify learning strategies you would use to teach the content and skills necessary for students to write successful responses for the 3 sections in Paper 1 of HSC examination?

Unseen texts:

· Outline of Syllabus requirements (see above)
· Explanation of key terms

Purpose Why a text has been created
Audience Persons a text has been created for

· Explanation of types of HSC style examination questions

‘What’-type questions: These questions require you to identify one or more of the
- the type of belonging represented (e.g. belonging to a group, community, society, place, time, etc)
- the purpose of the text
- the audience of the text
- the concept of belonging represented.

· Read and analyse a language and visual text representing belonging through annotation/discussion questions

Text 1: Visual text From The Arrival by Shaun Tan
from Shaun Tan, The Arrival, Hachette Livre, Sydney, 2006

· Modeled response – answers to various questions

1. What type of belonging is represented in this text? (I mark)

(This question requires a simple but appropriate answer. It is only worth 1 mark, so it i
not necessary to elaborate on your ideas.)

Modelled response

Although the people in this image seem to belong together as they are on a journey together, they also appear to be disengaged and separate from each other as they are lost in their own thoughts.

· Writing activity based on modeled response explanations and modeled responses

Analyse a different text representing belonging. Give students a similar set of questions you analysed as a class.

Creative Writing

· Explanation of syllabus requirements (see above)
· Explanation of types of questions in the HSC examination

Sample HSC-style questions include:
1. ‘Belonging is essential to a person’s understanding of themselves.’
Use this statement as the basis for a piece of writing.

· Freewriting activities with modeled response (develops ideas, skills in figurative writing)

Sight memories
3 When we see something from our past it can trigger a memory. A childhood doll or train set can take a person back to a particular time in their life. Although we may not remember everything about that memory, we can piece together significant information to write about. Memories can be happy, sad, bitter or sweet. Write a paragraph by free writing about a memory from your childhood triggered by some special item.

Modelled response
I am in the middle of my grandparents’ backyard, immersed in water in a painted pink aluminium bucket, the kind that was used for washing clothes before we had washing machines. I have managed to squeeze my legs into the bucket and my bare torso is popping out the top. I am giggling foolishly, splashing the water up and out at my family who dare to pass me by.
Student response:

· Free association activity with modeled responses (develops ideas and imaginative writing)

Word association by sound

1 Choose one of the following words related to belonging or not belonging. What words come into your mind that relate to the sound of each word? Write down as many as you can think of.
• inhabit
• affinity
• secure
• abandoned
• place
• comfort
• alienation

Modelled response
Word: alienation
Sound association: always, natural, station, lean, alcohol, elation, alfalfa, light
Sound association:

· Analysis of photographs and film stills (develops characterization, setting, point of view, etc)

Writing characters
Characterisation is the total of all we can see in a human being. It encompasses all aspects of humanity we could scrutinise in a character. To make characters real to the audience, you can give them emotions and mannerisms that people can relate to.

Look at the image of a character (see textbook).
Orlando/Three Lions/Getty Images

1 In point form, describe the character’s facial features, mannerisms and body language.
Suggested answer
• lazily holding a cigarette
• head turned
• uninterested
• voluptuous lips
• graffiti brick wall
• slouched body
• defiant eyes
2 Write three sentences describing that character at that point in time. Use your brainstorm notes above.

Modelled response
The boy slouches against the concrete wall, which is chalked in graffiti. The ash grows as an extension of the cigarette as he forgets to take a puff, so consumed is he by the scuffle developing beside him. He thinks of his father driving his truck
through the early morning fog and how he hasn’t seen him for weeks.

· Create storyboards (to develop ideas, plot, turning points, characterisation, setting, etc)


1 Create a storyboard about the concept of belonging or not belonging, where one person is trying to either remain in a group or get out of a group. In each square, draw what is happening. Show who these people are and why they are behaving the way they are. Then write a description of the shot and the film techniques used under each drawing.
Before you begin, brainstorm some answers to the following questions to establish your storyboard narrative.
a What happens?
b Does the person belong to a group, or are they isolated?
c How does their belonging or isolation happen?
d Why does this happen?
e How do the characters feel about these events?
f What are the turning points in your storyboard? How do the choices you made abut where you placed the turning points in your storyboard affect the excitement of your scene?

Analytical writing

· Explanation of syllabus requirements (see above)
· Explanation of key terms

Compare Identify and explain similarities represented in textual features in two or more texts

· Explanation of types of HSC style questions

Despite an individual’s desire to belong to a group or community, this is not always possible.
How do the texts you have studied represent the processes and results of belonging?

· Explanation of structure of a analytical response

Introduction or thesis statement
• Write one or two lead-in sentences which address the question and establish your thesis or argument.
• Identify the texts to be analysed, including the names of their composers.
• Outline how the texts to be discussed link to the question and your thesis.

· Explanation of language features of an analytical text

Narrative mode

First-person narrative is used when you are invited to give a personal response, for
example, in a speech or an opinion piece. First person is indicated by words such as me,
us, I, we, ours, etc.
At this stage, we begin to wonder.

· Plan of an analytical response including modeled responses

Points for first body paragraph/ second body paragraph, and so on
- Topic sentence
- Main points
- Key quotes

Modeled response: Body paragraphs

‘Strictly Ballroom’ successfully creates humour by satirising aspects of the ballroom dancing world, showing the restrictions placed on the individual’s desire for self-expression and individuality. The opening scene highlights a fantasy world, depicting silhouettes of ballroom dancers gracefully dancing to the famous waltz, ‘The Blue Danube’, followed by images of the glitzy and glamorous dancers in their brilliant costumes. It is a world the audience is set up to admire: we would all would like to belong to it. Or would we? …

· Student writing activity based on explanations and modeled responses

If you have studied ‘Strictly Ballroom, use the modelled response as a guide to write a plan for the next three body paragraphs. On a separate piece of paper, write the paragraphs in full, using your notes.
Fourth body paragraph
Topic sentence:
Main points:
Key quotes:

Teaching the prescribed text

· Explanation on background information (context, purpose and audience)

Context The screenplay of Strictly Ballroom was written by Baz Luhrmann and Andrew Bovell. The film was directed by Baz Luhrmann, and was well received internationally when it was released in 1992. Since Strictly Ballroom, Baz Luhrmann has directed two other internationally successful films—Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge—and, at time of print, was directing Australia. He is known for his artistic and innovative cinematic styles which blend film techniques from Hollywood musicals and dance films with more traditional techniques.

· Explanation of key terms (see above)
· Analysis of how the text relates to belonging

Rebellion, exclusion and true ‘belonging’

The film opens at the Waratah Championships for ballroom dancing where Scott Hastings dares to dance his own steps, dazzling the audience with his samba routine. Those who value tradition—mainly his mother, his dance coach Les Kendall, and Barry Fife—abhor his behaviour. They are united in their opposition to Scott’s rebellion and prevent him from exploring his individuality, because the traditional world of ballroom dancing gives them a sense of belonging, and they do not wish for this to change. Changing the established order is difficult, because people in power make the rules and are responsible for ensuring they are followed. Therefore when Scott dances his own steps he is disqualified and prevented from participating in the competition. He is excluded from the group and his sense of belonging is devastated.

· Students answer the question: How do you relate your prescribed text to belonging?
· Explanation of Text structure

Text structure
The film can be divided into four parts.
Part 1
The traditional values of the ballroom dancing world are established though the opening scene at the Waratah Championships for ballroom dancing where Scott Hastings dances his own steps during the samba. His partner, Liz Holt, walks out on him and Fran, an unlikely candidate, offers to be his dance partner. The love story is thus established between the handsome, competent dance champion and the plain, professionally untrained daughter of a Spanish migrant. She entices Scott to dance with her because she understands how he dances.

· Explanation of Characters

Scott Hastings: Scott is youthful, handsome and a champion dancer, and has many opportunities ahead of him. At first he is portrayed as arrogant, especially in his treatment of Fran. He is obviously a talented dancer, but is bored with the routine way he has been taught to dance. He challenges his mother and the Dance Federation when they insist he follows established conventions. He undergoes a transformation through his relationships with Fran and her family, as he learns the value of family spirit and dancing from the heart.

· Character activity – analyzing what quotes tell the reader about the character and belonging

Character quote
What the quote tells you about the character and belonging
Liz: I don’t think! I don’t give a shit about them, we lost!
Liz represents the dominant values of those who belong to the ballroom dancing world – follow established rules in order to win. Winning is the priority - not thinking for yourself or consideration of others.

· Explanation of Setting and modeled response

The living room of Scott’s home
Mood: This is a domestic setting which at first appears warm and inviting. Trophies are proudly displayed on the back wall. It becomes clear from Shirley’s outrage about her son’s unconventional steps at the Waratah Championships, however, that her priority is winning, not her son’s self-expression. This is further illustrated by the large number of trophies occupying the cabinet. Arguments take place in the living room, too, which shows that the family is not as close as the setting would suggest.

· Explanation and analysis of various language and visual techniques and modeled responses

Dancing shoes
How it relates to belonging: In the scene in which Rico challenges Scott to dance the paso doble, there are close-ups of Scott’s shoes while he dances. When Ya Ya asks him to show her where he feels the rhythm, the camera focuses on Scott’s shoes. The viewer becomes aware that Scott’s motivation to dance comes from learning the intricacies of making the steps, which is what has made him belong in the rigid ballroom dancing world. When Ya Ya taps his chest to show him where the rhythm should come from, we understand that he has a lot to learn from Spanish culture. Dancing shoes are also shown in close-up when Scott dances, especially when he dances his own way, illustrating his freedom and individual expression, and his rebellion against a restrictive type of ‘belonging’.

· Key scene analysis

To gain a better understanding of how language and visual techniques work together to create meaning, it is a good idea to analyse a few key scenes from the text.
Make notes about a key scene in Strictly Ballroom, taking into account:
• film techniques and dialogue
• examples of the techniques from the text
• analysis of how these examples relate to belonging.

Then write a full analysis of the scene and its techniques, and their relation to belonging.

Modeled response
Many scenes in ‘Strictly Ballroom’ represent the ideas of the true spirit of love, family and belonging, in contrast to the false values and superficiality of belonging to the ballroom dancing world. One key scene is when Scott goes to the Toledo Milk Bar to ask Fran to dance with him at the Pan Pacific Grand Prix. Fran’s father challenges Scott to dance the paso doble, and they move to the backyard where chairs are askew, streamers are falling down and colourful lanterns hang from the roof. The lighting is low-key and the atmosphere is romantic, warm and inviting. In this environment, Scott is ridiculed for not dancing from the heart. Close-ups of people laughing are juxtaposed with long shots of Fran and Scott dancing, showing that the onlookers are laughing at the way he dances.

Practical Issues

Examination Paper

- A full emanation paper is included in the book with sample questions, belonging texts, question rubrics, marking guidelines and modelled responses.

Marking guidelines for Section I
Text 1: Cartoon
a i What comment is the composer making about depression in this cartoon?
(1 mark)
Comments on or gives an opinion about what the composer is saying about depression
Possible answers
You can quote directly from the cartoon, or paraphrase (write in your own words).
• One in four people suffer from depression.
• People are unaware of other people suffering from depression.
• The news is what causes depression.

Appropriateness of each text for student skills, abilities and interests - a suggestion

The prescribed texts are:

• The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (prose fiction)

(Recommendation: female audience and probably advanced class.)

• The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (prose fiction)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably an advanced class)

• Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (prose fiction)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and definitely an advanced class)

• Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (prose fiction)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably a standard class)

• Swallow the Air by Tara June Winch (prose fiction)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and an advanced or standard class)

• Romulus, My Father by Raimond Gaita (non fiction)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably an advanced class)

• The Crucible by Arthur Miller (drama)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and an advanced or standard class)

• Rainbow’s End by Jane Harrison (drama)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably a standard class)

• Strictly Ballroom by Baz Luhrmann (film)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably a standard class)

• Ten Canoes by Rolf de Heer (film)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably an advanced or standard class)

• As You Like It by William Shakespeare (Shakespeare)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably a standard class)

• Immigrant Chronicle by Peter Skrzynecki (poetry)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably an advanced class)

• Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson (poetry)

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably an advanced class)

• The Simple Gift by Steven Herrick (poetry).

(Recommendation: male/female audience and probably a standard class)

Related material

Where to find appropriate material

- internet/google
- newspapers/magazines
- education textbooks
- own knowledge
- from past Area of Study HSC papers and resources

Related texts in the text book

- Visual text – Extract from ‘The Arrival’, by Shaun Tan
- Essay - Extract from ‘Dreams beyond the quarter-acre’, by Hugh Mackay (The Sydney Morning Herald, Weekend Edition February 23-24, 2008, p34)
- Poem - Muslim Woman, Carlton, by John Mateer
- Short story – Extract from ‘Slow Cycle’, by Nerida Wayland
- Visual text – Gety image of boy holding a cigarette
- Visual text – Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson
- Visual text - Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree
- Visual text – Leunig cartoon
- Reflective journal extract by Sorell Wilby
- The Redfern Speech by Paul Keating
- Poem by Nanushka
- Poem - Urban Black by Lionel Fogart,y 1995
- Quotes from


Anonymous said...

is all these in the textbook?

Shelley McNamara said...

All the texts at the bottom of the belonging workshop information are in the textbook.

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Chloe said...

thanks for the helpful tips! wish me luck in the HSC ;)