Stuck in a mid-high school English slump. don't worry, you're not alone. In our Beginner's Guide to Year 10 English, we'll give you all the tools you need to get Year 10 back on track and ace it!
The Beginner’s Guide to year 10 English is here to help you ace English in year 10. English is really important, it has to count in Year 12 for your HSC. So, you have to get the skills right for it early on.
In this Guide, we will take you through the complete process for studying English, from making notes, to analysing texts, and finally composing responses.
Let’s start by looking at the two biggest issues facing Year 10 English students.
While there are a whole variety of struggles that Year 10 students face, they come down to two core issues:
Let’s look at these in greater detail.
Because Stage 5 comes in the middle years of high school, Years 9 and 10, students often take their foot off the gas.
Unlike Maths and Physics, English doesn’t have distinctive Modules and Units where you learn completely new techniques. Instead, in English, you learn to develop your skills incrementally.
That is, as the texts get more complex, your analysis of them is expanded to consider new ideas and techniques. When you write about them, your basic skills are pushed further little by little as the length of your responses increases along with the complexity of your ideas.
As students don’t see huge differences between junior English and what they do in Years 9 and 10, they feel it is easy and stop trying. This is especially true of students in year 10.
Unfortunately, as Year 10 moves fast, once students find themselves falling behind it can be very hard for them to catch back up.
Adding to the challenge is the necessity that you develop a complex understanding of texts.
While we looked at this a little in The Beginner’s Guide to year 9 English, Year 10 is where you will really expand your understanding of how to analyse texts and what you need to think about for your responses.
For the most part, in years 7-9, you primarily focus on the text and what is inside it. In Year 10, you expand your focus to include a large range of external concerns.
According to the NESA Syllabus outline, these are:
What does this mean for you, as a year 10 English student?
Well, rather than just analysing texts and thinking about what’s going on in a text and how a composer has represented that, you now need to engage in critical thinking by considering how these external factors have shaped the text. or, consider how the text is a response to these external concerns.
This means that your analysis of texts needs to develop significantly, but you also need to acquire a lot of new information.
As we will discuss, you will need to learn about a wide array of contexts, artistic movements, and ideologies and belief systems.
Fortunately for you, this Guide will give you all the tools to do that.
In this Guide, we’re going to help you master the following:
English doesn’t change dramatically between Years 9 and 10 by introducing brand new skills or tasks. Instead, it becomes more involved and challenges you with texts that have greater levels of complexity and depth.
In addition, you will need to produce more detailed and involved written and oral responses to demonstrate your understanding. For example, you may need to present a multimodal presentation or write a comparative essay.
Let’s look at the sorts of assessments you might face.
Similarly to Year 9, you can expect to face any of the following sorts of assessment tasks:
While you may not face completely new assessment tasks in Year 10, you will need to engage with texts in a far more detailed manner.
As we saw with Year 9, you need to look at texts with more much more depth in Year 10.
While the basic process of analysing texts doesn’t change, you do add some new elements that you must consider and apply critical thinking to.
Let’s see what these are.
In Year 9, you will have started to engage with higher order techniques and considerations outside of the text.
In Year 10, you will still need to be able to identify these. But, in addition, you must be able to explain how these techniques and considerations affect and develop meaning as well.
In Year 10 English, you may need to be able to identify and discuss how higher order literary techniques like symbolism, extended metaphor, satire, and parody create meaning.
You will need to have a comprehensive understanding of how these techniques create meaning:
You will also need to be comfortable using metalanguage to describe how a composer has used them in texts and what the effect on meaning is.
In Year 10 English, you will need to take into account a text’s perspective and structure, as well as considering things like context and audience.
You will need to be confident analysing and discussing how the following affect and shape meaning:
To apply this information to your analysis of texts, you will need to develop your critical thinking skills.
Additionally, you will also need to think about and discuss how composers try to engender the following responses in audiences:
To do this effectively you’re going to need to expand your knowledge around quite a few areas.
Let’s see what those are.
To succeed in year 10 English, you are going to learn about different contexts, literary forms and genres, artistic movements, ideologies and belief systems.
Because English texts deal with representing human experiences, they engage with human history and human responses to history and events. This means that as a student of literature, you must know about what has shaped and influenced literature.
This can prove challenging and also a little overwhelming.
Developing an understanding of important contexts, movements, ideologies, forms, and genres in year 10 will make the transition into Stage 6 English far far easier and less onerous. You can develop your knowledge consistently, rather than trying to do everything in the Preliminary or HSC years.
One way to think of developing your ideas is to consider the breadth and depth of your knowledge as being like the knowledge of an ocean.
Broadly speaking, you will need to learn about things like:
We will look at the particulars of what you need to know in part 2 of this Guide.
This new knowledge will compel you to develop your skills as a critical thinker and a writer.
Having more to think about and write about means students need to develop as thinkers and writers.
You will need to take your knowledge of a text and think about it in terms of its context, genre, or form and discuss its impact on meaning.
The Matrix MethodTM that Matrix students learn helps them develop a detailed foundational understanding of texts, first, before they learn and apply the best process for planning, drafting, and polishing their writing.
Does this mean you will learn lots of new skills in Year 10 English?
You will still be writing essays and giving presentations or writing narratives, but you will need to take into account these new considerations.
This means that your notes are going to be much more important. Not only will you be keeping track of the themes, techniques, and examples from the texts you are studying, you will be including you findings about a text’s context, genre, and ideological influences.
You will also need to become adept at researching the information you don’t know. Part of your analysis of texts will now include learning abut its genre, genre conventions, or context, for example.
When you write responses, you will need to utilise more complex structures to discuss these relationships and develop arguments about them. You will need to master using signposting and various scaffolds for different tasks to make sure your ideas accessible for readers as well as insightful.
So, in Year 10, you must focus on developing and improving these skills:
This may all sound overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve used our experience of helping thousands of other students like you succeed to put this Guide together to help you.
While we have tried to make this Guide as comprehensive as possible, the nature of Stage 5 English means that some skills will be taught in Year 9 and others in year 10. To ensure that you’ve not missed any Stage 5 content, you should take the time to read through The Beginner’s Guide to Year 9 English as well as this guide.
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