English Support Materials
English snapshot: Volunteering
|Content Description||Relevant aspects of the Achievement Standards|
Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features. (ACELY 1746)
Students understand how to use a variety of language features to create different levels of meaning. They understand how interpretations can vary by comparing their responses to texts to the responses of others. In creating texts, students demonstrate how manipulating language features and images can create innovative texts.
Nature of the assessment
Students create a text to persuade young people to volunteer to spend some of their time helping others.
Purposes of the assessment
To assess students’ ability to create texts that persuade a target audience and to describe how they manipulated that text to be persuasive.
Stage in the teaching sequence
Follows on from a series of lessons examining how the text structures and language of persuasive texts, including media texts, vary according to audience, purpose and medium and mode of communication.
The assessment task consists of a group task and an individual task.
‘A whopping 93% of young people say that they want to volunteer, yet only a fraction of this number actually take steps to create change.’
Your task is to create a text that will persuade young people to volunteer. Before you create this text you need to:
- Find out more about volunteering
- Why does society need volunteers?
- What are all the ways people can volunteer?
- What activities may be more appealing for young people?
- How can young people sign up to volunteer?
- What might be some useful facts and figures?
- Analyse your target audience.
- What are their beliefs and values?
- What might be stopping them from volunteering?
- Are there some groups of young people who are more likely to volunteer?
- What will grab young people’s attention?
- How would volunteering benefit them?
- How can you gain the trust of your audience?
- Discuss the best way of communicating with your audience
- An advertisement in the local paper?
- A Facebook page?
- A media clip?
Now plan and create a text to persuade young people to volunteer.
When you have created your text you will have the opportunity to present it to the class.
Reflect on the text you created.
- What was your analysis of your target audience and how did you use this to guide:
- the type of text you created
- your choice of words and images?
- What information about volunteering did you use and why did you select that information?
- What was your central argument or persuasive device and why did you choose this argument/persuasive devise?
- On reflection, how would you refine your text and why?
(Word limit 600-700 words)
The assessment involved group and individual tasks
- The students worked in their groups to create a text. The teacher moved from group to group, providing scaffolding for discussion as necessary and developing and stimulating both critical and creative thinking. He used this opportunity to make anecdotal records of students’ ability to:
- research and select relevant information
- analyse the target audience’s perspective
- create a text that takes into account audience perspective.
This process took several lessons.
The teacher observed that very few students discussed what was inhibiting young people from volunteering. To determine students’ understanding, he highlighted question 2B from the group task sheet and asked the whole class to think further about the question, ‘Why don’t young people volunteer?’ The students had to write their answers on an exit card and hand it to him as they left the room.
Many students wrote answers along the lines of, ‘Because they are selfish and are too concerned with their own studies and partying.’ Some students identified that young people may not volunteer because they don’t know what opportunities are available; that they are not clear about what is involved; that they are too shy to volunteer on their own; or that they need to have part-time work.
Based on this information the teacher changed the focus of the next lesson and set-up an activity to help students examine more closely the reasons why young people are unlikely to volunteer and the implications this had for persuading them to volunteer.
The groups presented their texts to the class.
After each presentation the groups had five minutes to discuss the following questions. Each group had two minutes to provide feedback to the presenters.
How did this text try to persuade young people to volunteer?
Consider the use of:
- Facts and figures
- Persuasive language
Consider how the text addressed and engaged its audience.
List two aspects that you think were successful.
Make one suggestion for something you would refine.
While the groups compiled their feedback, the teacher provided a written comment for each group to show where the task was successful, to identify aspects or perspectives the students could consider and to point them in a direction that they could pursue.
The teacher marked the students’ essays in terms of their understanding of how a text is manipulated to persuade a target audience.
Using the information
The teacher was satisfied with the students’ attainment and felt confident about moving on to a new topic.
He recorded his judgements to inform his end-of-semester reporting.