What’s Year 10 English like?
As the mid-point of high school, Year 10 English can seem like a rehearsal year for the last two years of secondary school. However, this does provide students with the opportunity to practise and refine the skills needed to secure a strong qualification later on.
That’s why Year 10 in which learners should dig deep. English is the kind of subject that increases in complexity each year. While there might not be a whole bunch of new content to learn, as in, say, science or geography, they will need to understand more sophisticated texts, think more critically about language use and be a lot more savvy when responding to texts.
The more work that goes into Year 10, the bigger the payoff when it really counts.
An Overview of the Year 10 English curriculum
Central to a Year 10 English course is the study of literature, often referred to as “texts”. Texts can be written, spoken or multimodal, and in print or digital/online forms. By experiencing familiar texts in different ways, or approaching unfamiliar texts, Year 10 students can see other aspects of human experience, as well as learn about the aesthetic appeal of literature and poetry.
Literature study in Year 10
As in previous years, students can expect to encounter plenty of Australian literature, including the oral narrative traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, as well as the contemporary literature of indigenous writers. Extending this exposure beyond the borders of Australia and into Asia and the Pacific helps learners gain an understanding of the context of life in Australia. This helps in positioning them to write strong critical text responses to classic literature, both in Year 10 and beyond.
As part of text studies, students will develop critical responses to what they read. This will include evaluating the social, moral and ethical positions expressed in the texts. Year 10 students are also expected to understand how narrative viewpoint, structure, characterisation and devices such as analogy and satire can shape different interpretations of the same text, and discuss how voice can be used to create emotional reactions from a reader.
Through the study of other texts, students will learn to create literary texts of their own. Teachers will encourage them to write with an emerging sense of personal style and create literary texts with a unique voice. Year 10 writers will select and adapt appropriate text structures, literary devices, language, auditory and visual structures and features in their creative piece to carry out a specific purpose. Depending on the context of learning, this could be writing an opinion piece for an online newspaper or perhaps developing a narrative that captures the experience of new Australians.
Language study in Year 10
By Year 10 English, students should have a firm grasp of language mechanics and how to apply punctuation, grammar and spelling rules. So the focus becomes more on how small tweaks in language choices can create an impact on readers, or change the intended message or tone of the writer.
Students will start to see how language can have a social impact, that choices made by writers can be used to include or exclude groups of people, how language can both empower and disempower.
Across both traditional texts (think Shakespeare, Jane Austen, George Orwell) and contemporary texts (we’re talking Shaun Tan’s graphic novels, The Hunger Games and Tomorrow When the War Began) students will compare the purposes, text structures and language features of different media.
At the sentence level, students will learn to evaluate the effectiveness of more advanced sentence and clause structures, and use them in their own writing. They develop their own style by experimenting with language features, stylistic devices, text structures and images.
Analytical writing becomes more important as students approach senior English. They must be able to explain different viewpoints, attitudes and perspectives and develop cohesive and logical arguments.
Making the most of Year 10 English
With the senior secondary years of English fast-approaching, Year 10 students should use this year to nail their text response skills and analytical writing, in preparation for the exams to come in the senior years. Locking down certain skills in Year 10 will help you achieve good marks later on.
Students should practise deep comprehension of texts as this will improve their responses to texts under time pressure. Lateral thinking skills are essential for text analysis and developing strong arguments. When it comes to writing, this is the year to nail essay writing — there will be many essays to write in the coming years! And finally, the more deeply a student understands how language operates, the better their own writing will be.
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