As it is currently taught in NSW schools, the study of English may be divided into two main areas; the study of literature (texts) and the study of language.
The study of literature requires a student’s response to what they have read, viewed and listened to. It involves identifying textual themes or messages and relating them to personal experience, interpretations of the world as well as evaluating a text’s contribution to a greater understanding of society.
The study of language requires a student to understand how a message is conveyed. Paradoxically, even though this may be the easier aspect of English study to master, it is often the area where students struggle most. Perhaps this is because the study of language is largely the study of processes. It is essentially remembering a set of rules and gaining mastery over a series of skills. As such, the successful study of English language may be likened to attaining success in areas such as sport, music or dance. In this way, being a competent English student requires commitment, perseverance and determination. A student must want to improve their skills. They must be prepared to expend the effort required to perfect their ability to use those skills. Of course, they must also be provided with, or taught, the ‘rules of the game’ and systems underpinning the mastery of those skills.
This is the GOOD news! A student may improve their English grades simply by improving their understanding of the processes involved in creating meaning from letters, words, sound and images. This may be achieved by learning the rules or systems involved in the creation of texts, and then practice, practice, practice. Students must practice these skills. Practice is the key to unlocking the secret of successful English study. As is the case in areas such as sport or music, essential aspects of this practice are drills, training and coaching.
There is a magical by-product which occurs from understanding the way language works; a student is better able to understand textual themes. Importantly it also provides students with a checklist for evaluating the success of a piece of literature. In other words, a mastery of English language usually provides a solid platform for a greater appreciation of English literature.
The aim of keeping an English blog is to provide you with an approach for improving your study of English. In essence it provides a highly visible opportunity for you to practice your language, analysis and evaluative skills
Welcome to a world of expression.