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From The English Department

From the English Department
Year 10 students have been studying the narrative this term and have examined the way in which authors craft stories to engage and inspire us.
In light of recent research suggesting listening to the narrative form helps stretch the ability of  students beyond what is possible from only reading, the extension students studied a podcast instead of a novel.
The Peabody award winning podcast, ‘Serial’, tells the true crime tale of the murder of a high school senior in Baltimore in the late 90s. Investigative journalist, Sarah Koenig, uses narrative features to engage her audience in a compelling and highly addictive story.
Students loved the way the ‘story’ was bought to life in the hands of an expert writer and also enjoyed the additional elements such as music, interviews and voiceovers.
We were especially lucky during our study of ‘Serial’ as a retrial was granted for the ‘protagonist’ (Adnan Syed) right in the middle of the term. As a class, we all believe poor old Adnan was a bit of victim and so definitely deserved his retrial; however, we were also savvy enough to know we were being positioned to think this through Koenig’s use bias and the language techniques we leaned about during our study.
We celebrated the last episode of ‘Serial’ with a ‘cereal’ party (of course!) and bade farewell to Sarah, Adnan, Jay, Hae, Asia and the rest of the gang with coco pops, fruit loops and nutragrain!

13 Reasons Why (not)
If you are the parent of a teenager, you will have no doubt heard of the furore surrounding season 2 of the Netflix series, ‘13 Reasons Why’ (coming hot on the heels of the furore surrounding season 1!)
We do offer 13 Reasons Why (by Jay Asher) as an option for year 10s to study; however, the novel is very different to the TV series which glamorises suicide and self-harm. These issues, along with a number of teen-related behaviours, are sensitively handled in the novel but are not given the same treatment in the series.
Please be assured that we certainly DO NOT study the TV series and add our caution to that of experts when it comes to allowing your child to watch the Netflix shows. 
As I have written previously in newsletter articles, students need to study thematically challenging material when they are in a safe a supportive environment if they are to have a good chance of managing similar challenges in the ‘real world’. 13 Reasons Why is a book recommended for study and is dealt with sensitively and carefully by our teachers. Please let me stress that the series you may be familiar with is NOT the text we study.