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I agree with the above post. I am currently teaching AP English Language and a western literature course, and in both, the students struggle with providing detailed analysis. As mentioned above, I expect that the students explore an element of the text, how it is developed in the text, and its effect. I also require students to explore the effect of the element in the overall scheme of the text (usually as it applies to the text's theme) and the author's intended purpose.
Keep in mind that when you are dealing with assessment points, it should be clear to the students what is required of them before they venture into an assignment.
As a teacher of English Honors courses, I expect my students to submit thorough answers that restate the question and thoroughly answer all parts of it, using textual evidence to support opinions.
If the question is relative to a novel, literary terms such as characterization, foreshadowing, irony, imagery and plot triangle should be referred to and expanded upon in the answer. Also, the author and title of the novel should be included in the introductory paragraph.
For a question relative to poetry, poetic devices such as rhyme, alliteration, metaphor, simile, oxymoron and the like should be mentioned and expanded upon in the answer. The question should also be restated, and the title and author of the work should be mentioned.
I teach high school English honors and Advanced Placement courses, and my students struggle most with neglecting to provide analysis. For example, if I ask a question about a writer's use of a rhetorical strategy, I expect my students to identify the rhetorical strategy, provide proof from the text through quotations or paraphrasing that the rhetorical strategy is present, and then to comment on why the author uses that particular strategy. They most often forget the last part--the analysis of the author's purpose or choice.
English Honors students often find it easy to memorize and spit back information; so make sure that you ask questions that require analysis and that you do not award full credit unless that analysis is present.
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