The Preliminary and HSC English (Extension) courses enable students who are accomplished, analytical and imaginative in their use of English to refine their understanding and appreciation of the cultural roles and significance of texts. The courses are designed for students with a desire to pursue a specialised study of English.
These courses provide students with the opportunity to pursue areas of interest with increased independence and to theorise about the processes of responding to and composing texts. Through extended engagement in investigation and composition, students explore multiple meanings and relative values of texts. They explore a range of conceptual frameworks for the reading and composition of texts and examine a range of reading practices to develop awareness of the assumptions that guide interpretation and evaluation.
Preliminary English (Extension) Course Requirements
In the Preliminary English (Extension) course, students explore how and why texts are valued in and appropriated into a range of contexts. They consider why some texts may be perceived as culturally significant.
Module: Texts, Culture and Value
Students explore the ways in which aspects of texts from the past have been appropriated into popular culture. The module develops students’ understanding of how and why cultural values are maintained and changed.
Students examine a key text from the past and its manifestations in one or more popular cultures. Through close study they:
• consider the relationships between the text and its culture
• explore the language of the texts and examine the ways in which language shapes and reflects values
• consider the effects of different ways of responding to texts
•consider the ways and reasons the original and later manifestations of the text are valued.
Students also explore, analyse and critically evaluate different examples of such appropriations in a range of contexts and media, including some appropriations of their own choosing.
Students develop a range of imaginative, interpretive and analytical compositions, including some which explore the relationships between key texts from the past and texts in popular culture. These compositions may be realised in various forms and media. Students investigate topics and ideas, engage in independent learning activities and develop skills in sustained composition.
The beauty of Preliminary English Extension is that teachers can choose any ‘key text from the past’ that they choose. Of course the one constraint is that this text must have been appropriated into a range of contexts by other composers. However, as I am sure you are well aware by now, literature is hybrid and parasitic in nature – all artists are influenced by the works of others, especially those who came before them. Therefore – keeping in line with the post-modern notion that originality is no longer possible – it is easy for us to find many examples of ‘appropriations of original works’.
In the past I have taught a unit called ‘The Uncanny Self’ that explores gothic fiction and its various appropriations. Our key text was Dracula, with appropriations including the films Nosferatu, Dracula starring Bela Legosi, Francis Ford Copolla’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire as well as the film adaptation of the novel Interview with the Vampire.
Tell us, what texts have you explored for Preliminary Extension English?