Module A: Language, Identity and Culture

In this article, we explain how to navigate and ace Module A: Language, Identity and Culture for English Standard by explaining the rubric, expectations, and key ideas.

english standard module a language identity and culture mobile

In this Guide, we’ll explore English Standard Module A: Language, Identity and Culture and give you a detailed breakdown of what the Module requirements are and what the NESA Syllabus outline really means.

 

What’s Module A: Language, Identity and Culture?

For Module A, students will need to focus on one set text and explore a range of supplementary texts. This Module is concerned with how composers represent cultures and identity in their works to challenge and shape audiences’ perceptions.

What you are being asked to explore is how texts can challenge or reinforce the assumptions and stereotypes about identity and culture that exist in society.

While this Module does have a comparative element to it, where you explore supplementary material. It is assessed on your set text.

To help you better study Module A, we’ll look at the Rubric is important as it will tell you exactly what you need to focus on as you study your prescribed text and supplementary material.

english standard module a language identity and culture books

 

Looking for our Module A Text resources?

Check back regularly as we add new articles and exemplar essays for Module A texts!

 

You can only ace Module A: Language, Identity and Culture if you understand the Module rubric

To prepare you for studying this Module and engaging with your set and supplementary texts, we’ll take a detailed look at the Module A rubric.

 

Module A: Language, Identity and Culture Rubric from NESA

Let’s see what the rubric says.

Language has the power to both reflect and shape individual and collective identity. In this module, students consider how their responses to written, spoken, audio and visual texts can shape their self-perception. They also consider the impact texts have on shaping a sense of identity for individuals and/or communities. Through their responding and composing students deepen their understanding of how language can be used to affirm, ignore, reveal, challenge or disrupt prevailing assumptions and beliefs about themselves, individuals and cultural groups.

Students study one prescribed text in detail, as well as a range of textual material to explore, analyse and assess the ways in which meaning about individual and community identity, as well as cultural perspectives, is shaped in and through texts. They investigate how textual forms and conventions, as well as language structures and features, are used to communicate information, ideas, values and attitudes which inform and influence perceptions of ourselves and other people and various cultural perspectives.

Through reading, viewing and listening, students analyse, assess and critique the specific language features and form of texts. In their responding and composing students develop increasingly complex arguments and express their ideas clearly and cohesively using appropriate register, structure and modality. Students also experiment with language and form to compose imaginative texts that explore representations of identity and culture, including their own. Students draft, appraise and refine their own texts, applying the conventions of syntax, spelling and grammar appropriately and for particular effects.

Source: Module A Rubric from NESA website

Did you struggle to completely understand what this document is asking you? Don’t worry if you didn’t, it’s written with some complex language and terms you may not have encountered.

 

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Unpacking the Module A Rubric

To ensure that you get to grips with what the Module A Rubric demands of statements, we’ve broken it into 9 Rubric statements.

Let’s have a look at those statements and unpack them into plain English.

 

Rubric Statement #1

“Language has the power to both reflect and shape individual and collective identity. In this module, students consider how their responses to written, spoken, audio and visual texts can shape their self-perception.”

Analysis of Rubric Statement #1

This statement focuses on the different ways in which identity can exist:

  • As individuals, or
  • As part of a community.

The focus, here, is on how language in texts – and in public discourse – has the ability to shape how individuals and community see themselves and are seen by others. This course is concerned with culture and what we think about culture and why.

But what is culture?

Culture, a noun, has a couple of different definitions:

  1. The way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time
  2. Music, art, theatre, literature, etc.:
  3. The arts of describing, showing, or performing that represent the traditions or the way of life of a particular people or group; literature, art, music, dance, theatre, etc.

This Module is concerned directly with the 1st and 3rd of the above. We want to explore how culture is depicted and how this differs from the lived experience of culture for individuals and communities. This first statement, in particular, draws our attention to how culture can be depicted by art and language but also shaped by it. How culture is depicted will shape how it reacts. For example, if you shame or stereotype a culture it will become insular and suspicious of outsiders. We are interested in exploring how cultures and individuals from within depict themselves and how they react to depictions of them.

So, what does culture have to do with identity and individuals?

If you think about it, as much as we are all individuals moving through the world. We are also parts of different communities. For example, you are you, but you are also part of:

  • Your local community,
  • Your religious community,
  • Cultural or ethnic groups, or
  • Sporting or extra-curricular groups.

While each of these individually doesn’t define who you are, they all contribute to your identity. These communities all form part of a culture – perhaps a singular culture or a broader one.

The second sentence is instructing you to reflect on how you experience this process as a reader and viewer.

You need to ask yourself, what emotions do I feel when I  engage with a text? How does it shape my sense of identity?

A good habit is to keep a reading diary and make note of what your responses are to chapters, short stories, poems, plays, and films that you read and watch. Then, you’ll be in a position to start understanding how the composer represents identity and culture in a way that compels you to self-reflect.

standard-module-a-language-identity-culture pegs

Rubric Statement #2

“They also consider the impact texts have on shaping a sense of identity for individuals and/or communities. Through their responding and composing students deepen their understanding of how language can be used to affirm, ignore, reveal, challenge or disrupt prevailing assumptions and beliefs about themselves, individuals and cultural groups.”

Analysis of Rubric Statement #2

Texts aren’t benign objects. Humanity has a history of producing texts that are controversial because they impact on how a group or community perceives itself.

Texts like Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Joyce’s Ulysses, Plath’s The Bell Jar, Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, or Michael Ahmad’s The Lebs have all courted controversy because of how they frame identity and culture. These are texts that compel society to reflect on its views and actions. This is often an a challenging experience.

Texts can also be profoundly offensive to particular communities and cultures. The Origin of Species forced Christian culture to reevaluate its place in the universe Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses was profoundly offensive to Muslim communities because of its depiction of the Prophet Mohammed and saw several fatwas issued on him. What one person sees as art can be something another sees as profoundly offensive because of how it depicts and makes assumptions about culture and the individuals that identify with those cultures.

A text that is offensive to a community can have negative reactions. For example, Rob Sitch’s The Castle is a celebration of Australian diversity and egalitarianism. But it also relies on some stereotypes that some might find troubling, such as Farouk a Balkan who is happy to threaten others with bombs. Similarly, the Kerrigan’s are characterised as uncultured working-class whites. Clearly, texts and their depictions are complex. This is what you need to unpack. You need to unpack whether a text that is contentious should be disavowed because of its contents or used as a point of discussion to explore the wider issues that face society.

You need to think about “how language can be used to affirm, ignore, reveal, challenge or disrupt prevailing assumptions and beliefs about themselves, individuals and cultural groups. This means you need to consider how groups a perceived or misrepresented in society and how texts can affirm – that is, continue (either positively or negatively) – or challenge the stereotypes that exist about them. Then, in your responses, you need to describe what these “prevailing assumptions” or stereotypes are but also how to challenge them.

In addition, NESA wants you to consider your own changing perspectives and reflect upon these in your responses. How have your perceptions of yourself and others been shaped or challenged by the texts you’ve watched.

 

Rubric Statement #3

“Students study one prescribed text in detail, as well as a range of textual material to explore, analyse and assess the ways in which meaning about individual and community identity, as well as cultural perspectives, is shaped in and through texts.”

Analysis of Rubric Statement #3

As we’ve seen, you’ll look at one core set text (you can see the list below) and other supplementary material. What you want to unpack are the processes of representation at work in the depiction of identity and cultural perspectives. A cultural perspective refers to the way in which the beliefs and customs of various cultures shape the way that that community and its members see the world around them.

 

Rubric Statement #4

“They investigate how textual forms and conventions, as well as language structures and features, are used to communicate information, ideas, values and attitudes which inform and influence perceptions of ourselves and other people and various cultural perspectives.”

Analysis of Rubric Statement #4

This statement describes how you will go about analysing the texts. You’re asked to look at,

  • Textual forms – The type of text is it a letter or a prose piece or a script. This will signal the purpose of the text and its intended audience
  • Conventions – All forms come with some expected conventions (although composers break these, such as by using unreliable narrators in prose fiction)
  • Language structures – The ways in which the sentences and paragraphs in the text are developed. The perspective and tense used in the text
  • Language features – The devices – figurative, grammatical, and rhetorical – used by the composers

These are the means that composers use to convey their meaning. You are required to use these to explore how composers have used these to convey information, ideas, values, and attitudes. Information and ideas are straightforward concepts, but students struggle with values and attitudes, so let’s unpack those in some detail.

  • Values – A value is a belief or idea presented in a text. Beliefs tend to be held around morals, philosophy, religion, and culture (among other things). These are conveyed through what characters say and do. Values are important as they guide our actions
  • Attitudes – Are the perspectives individuals and communities hold towards values. Some people might feel like they are part of a community and at the same time have negative attitudes to particular values form that community

As you read and respond to texts you need to tease out these details and describe them. These tensions can inform us about the relationships between communities, and also individuals from within those communities.

standard-module-a-language-identity-culture shoes

Rubric Statement #5

“Through reading, viewing and listening, students analyse, assess and critique the specific language features and form of texts. “

Analysis of Rubric Statement #5

This follows on from the previous syllabus point. This statement describes how you will do this (the modes of engagement):

  • Reading
  • Viewing
  • listening

And what you are meant to do:

  • Analyse – Explain how and why something is occurring: that is, how is the meaning being conveyed by the composer.
  • Assess – Make a judgement about something – is it useful or effective or good or bad?
  • Critique – In your responses, you must make an argument about whether the representation is positive or negative and identify and engage with any flaws in the representation.

In short, what you need to do is read/view your texts and engage with them to make a judgement about the text’s meaning and construction. You then have to critically evaluate it in relation to culture and identity in your responses.

 

Rubric Statement #6

“In their responding and composing students develop increasingly complex arguments and express their ideas clearly and cohesively using appropriate register, structure and modality.”

Analysis of Rubric Statement #6

This statement refers to the construction and depth of your responses. As Year 12 students, you need to be able to express you ideas clearly, precisely, and concisely.

A complex argument does not mean complex language or convoluted sentences. Instead, the complexity is meant to be displayed in the richness of your ideas. For example, a complex argument might be:

While Alice Pung describes the difficulty and challenges of growing up Asian in Melbourne, she also projects an identity as a proud Australian in a multicultural society.

This demonstrates complexity as it shows that while Alice Pung had negative experiences, she still identifies as Australian.

In your responses, you need to write in an appropriate manner. This means using the correct:

  • Register – The level of language. For example, an essay requires a formal register while a discursive response can be more casual
  • Structure – The organisation of your ideas in your response. For example, an essay requires a rigid structure with introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
  • Modality – Modality refers to the level of certainty in your language. High modality language demonstrates a high level of certainty and, thus, authority

 

Rubric Statement #7

” Students also experiment with language and form to compose imaginative texts that explore representations of identity and culture, including their own. “

Analysis of Rubric Statement #7

Not only do you have to compose critical responses, but you also need to compose imaginative responses. Part of this Module requires you to compose creative responses about the ideas and issues in the Module. These should be used as an opportunity for you to experiment with language and writing styles so you become a better writer. Some schools may choose to incorporate Module C: The Craft of Writing to assist you to develop your writing skills.

You can learn more about editing and proofing work in this article from our Beginner’s Guide to Acing the HSC for English.

 

Rubric Statement #8

“Students draft, appraise and refine their own texts, applying the conventions of syntax, spelling and grammar appropriately and for particular effects.”

Analysis of Rubric Statement #8

This is an important step in the writing process that most students overlook. The drafting process will help you become a better writer. What this statement is asking you to do is develop a process for composing texts and responses.

Once you’ve developed your ideas and are ready to write a response, you should:

  1. Plan your response out
  2. Scaffold your ideas so that they are structured appropriately
  3. Draft an initial response to develop your ideas and make sure they work
  4. Proofread and edit your first draft for errors and structure
  5. Rewrite your first draft into a second draft
  6. Seek feedback and guidance on the piece
  7. Proof and edit the document again, incorporating the feedback
  8. Rewrite the response again as a polished final draft.

Proofing, editing, and drafting is an essential skill for life. Developing these skills now, before you begin university or trade will ensure that they become habitual and you become a clearer and more effective communicator.

 Worried about your marks while studying Mod A from home?

Studying shouldn’t stop because you’re at home! We provide you with clear and structured online lesson videos, quality resources, and forums to ask your Matrix teachers questions and feedback! Learn more about our Matrix+ Online English course now.

 

 

What steps can I take to analyse texts for Module A?

1. Read the text several times

You won’t fully understand the meaning of the text on the first reading. Matrix students learn to read and analyse texts following a process that will help them understand a text with depth and insight while developing their ideas.

An important rule is to use the first reading or viewing of the text as an opportunity to familiarise with the text.

Then, use the second and third readings will allow you to develop your ideas and better come to grips with the complexity fo the text and its ideas.

If you want to read learn more about analysing texts and textual analysis, you should read this article from our HSC English Skills Guide.

 

2. Develop your understanding of the text

As you work through your Module A study, you need to ask yourself questions such as:

  • What is this text about?
  • What is the composer trying to convey?
  • Why is this composer trying to convey this idea?
  • How does this text comment on identity, culture?
  • How is the composer using language to convey this?

As an independent and thinking human being, you need to start developing confidence in developing your own ideas about the texts that you’re studying as well as confidence in expressing these perspectives to others!

 

3. Write notes

A good practice to develop is to take notes about the texts as you study them. If you want to learn how to write the best study notes, take a read of our Ultimate Guide to Writing Study Notes.

Consider the questions above, and then write down your interpretations as they develop.

You will then be in a position to reflect upon how your interpretation of the texts developed or how your perspective on the earlier text has been reshaped by the latter one.

english standard module a language identity and culture books stairs

What texts will I study for Module A: Language, Identity and Culture?

There are seven texts that can be studied for Module A. They are:

Prose fiction

Poetry (p) or Drama (d)

Nonfiction (nf), film (f) or media (m)

  • Pung, Alice, Unpolished Gem (2006) (nf)
  • Perkins, Rachel, One Night the Moon (2001) (f)
  • Sitch, Rob, The Castle (1997) (f)
  • Merewether, Janet, Reindeer in my Saami Heart (2016) (m)
Texts set for study. (Source: NESA)
TextKey Ideas for Language, Identity and Culture
Lawson, Henry, The Penguin Henry Lawson Short Stories (2009)

  • ‘The Drover’s Wife’
  • ‘The Union Buries Its Dead’
  • ‘Shooting the Moon’
  • ‘Our Pipes’
  • ‘The Loaded Dog’
  • National/Australian identity
  • Anti-sentimentality
  • Resilience
  • Realism
  • Isolation
Levy, Andrea, Small Island (2004)
  • The role of women and gender
  • Public and Private Spheres
  • Racism
  • Multiculturalism
Aitken, Adam, Boey, Kim Cheng and Cahill, Michelle (eds), Contemporary Asian Australian Poets (2013) (p)

  • Merlinda Bobis, ‘This is where it begins’;
  • Miriam Wei Wei Lo, ‘Home’;
  • Ouyang Yu, ‘New Accents’;
  • Vuong Pham, ‘Mother’;
  • Jaya Savige, ‘Circular Breathing’;
  • Maureen Ten (Ten Ch’in Ü), ‘Translucent Jade’
  • Experiences of racism
  • Nostalgia
  • Belonging and home
  • Immigration and the immigrant experience
Cobby Eckermann, Ali, Inside my Mother (2015) (p)

  • ‘Trance’
  • ‘Unearth’
  • ‘Oombulgarri’
  • ‘Eyes’
  • ‘Leaves’
  • ‘Key’
  • Indigenous experience
  • Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha identity
  • Familial loss
  • Silence
  • Heritage
  • Pride
  • Experiences of racism
  • Female experience
Lawler, Ray, Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (2012) (d)
  • Gender roles and expectations
  • Masculinity and masculine identity
  • Female sexuality and expectations
  • Class and wealth
  • Home
Shaw, Bernard, Pygmalion (2003), (d)
  • Class
  • Female expectations
  • Gender roles
  • Class and intelligence
  • Appearance and reality
Valentine, Alana, Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah,  (2010) (d)
  • Faith
  • Intergenerational conflict
  • Cultural expectations
  • Immigrant family and experience
  • Religious identity
  • Ethnic and family identity
Pung, Alice, Unpolished Gem (2006) (nf)
  • Experiences of racism
  • Family experience and identity
  • Belonging and home
  • Immigration and the immigrant experience
Perkins, Rachel, One Night the Moon (2001) (f)
  • Family structure and gender roles
  • Racism and prejudice
  • Grief and loss
  • Resilience
  • Class and poverty
  • Home
Sitch, Rob, The Castle (1997) (f)
  • Class
  • Home and belonging
  • Egalitarianism and mateship
  • Family relationships
  • Australian identity and values
  • Dreams and aspiration
Janet Merewether, Reindeer in my Saami Heart (2016) (f)
  • Forced integration
  • Discrimination
  • cultural identity
  • Place and identity
  • Culture and its connection to the environment

 

 

How will I be assessed for Module A: Language, Identity and Culture?

You can have one internal (that is, in-school) assessment specifically on this Module.

 

Internal assessments and the HSC Trial Exam

As there is a cap of 4 internal assessments for Year 12 including the Trial HSC Exam, only 3 Modules will have assessments attached to them. This means that you may not have a formal essay assessment for Module A before the HSC Trial exam.

In addition to this limit, there is a cap of one formal written assessment for Year 12.

The potential forms for a Module A: Textual Conversation assessment are:

  • An essay
  • A multimodal presentation (you must do one multimodal presentation throughout the year)
  • An imaginative recreation
  • A combination of the above tasks.

In your Trial HSC Exam, you will be set an essay question.

 

The HSC Exam: Paper 2

During Paper 2 of the HSC, you will have an essay question.

 

Need help writing a stellar Module A Essay?

Gain an in-depth textual understanding, explanations of critical analysis, and essay writing skills with our Matrix+ Year 12 English  Standard Course. Learn how to boost your marks before the HSC!

 

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