Writing about asylum seekers
Australian Curriculum: English sub-strand: Literature – Literature and context; Literature – Responding to literature
After reading Chapter 8 of Mahtab's Story, provide newspaper articles for students to read, based on people who arrive by boat seeking asylum. Direct students’ attention to the use of emotive and persuasive language in the articles. Ensure students are familiar with the range of techniques used (for example nominalisation, modality, affective language) and are able to identify and describe them. Ask students to consider what point of view has been taken by the writer and what viewpoints are not included.
Students will: Read newspaper articles about people who arrive by boat seeking asylum. Focus on use of emotive and persuasive language. Consider what point of view has been taken by the writer and what viewpoints are not included.
Formative assessment task 3 — a letter to the editor
Australian Curriculum: English sub-strand: Literature – Creating literature
This task asks students to write to persuade an unknown audience to their personal point of view on the topic of refugees. Students should build on their insights into the plight of Mahtab’s family and the people in the newspaper articles to develop their point of view. Remind students of the specific language techniques and choices they have previously encountered that are used to persuade readers to a particular point of view.
Provide students with the following criteria which will be used to assess their writing.
- The writing argues a point of view.
- Each argument is supported by evidence
- Persuasive writing techniques are used, such as modality, emotive and affective language
- Nominalisation is used
- Sentences are varied and correctly structured
- Spelling is accurate (easy, medium and difficult/unusual words).
This task should be teacher-assessed with students receiving feedback that includes what they have done well and any areas that could be improved, as well as how this can be done.
Book reference: Troublemaker (conscience alley) in Holliday, M. (2008) Strategies for Reading Success, The Primary English Teaching Association Australia (Appendix 2) Modified version for plot development focus.
Students will: Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper that expresses how they feel in response to the debate about refugees in light of Mahtab’s experience and seeks to persuade the reader to take up that view.