“Critical, exploratory, conceptualised response to task and whole text.” But the statement can’t come until the idea is fully conceptualised, so how do we get students to the position where they can conceptualise the line of argument, then create the thesis statement?Lessons A good approach when teaching an individual lesson is to frame it around a thesis of its own.
So, instead of teaching a lesson on propaganda in Animal Farm, you might frame it as a thesis: This means that new information can attach itself to a clear line of argument, meaning that it can be used to help form the thesis statement later.
Instead of a lesson on Ignorance and Want in A Christmas Carol, it is framed as a thesis: I think it is important that we read the book before we study it.
Then we have a tool for all sorts of activities to help create conceptualised responses.
For example, a simple activity (for class or study) is to give a thesis statement and ask them to go through each quotation and ask the question ‘How does this quotation support the statement?
The thesis statement is the expression of the line of argument to be made in the essay.
It’s an important tool in the construction of a good essay, and helps to hit some of the criteria at the upper end of the (AQA) markscheme e.g.The main characters are Snowball and Napoleon, who represent Trotsky and Stalin, are two opposing characters whose conflict is presented in a number of linguistic and structural ways.An example of this are the different ideas of ‘Animalism’ which Snowball and Napoleon have.That way, any lesson can start from the whole rather than a part.We cannot have a full conceptual understanding without knowing the whole text.By studying poems in this way, it is much easier to develop that conceptualised, comparative response.The two main problems with using quotations in essays is a) they don’t know enough so they use the only ones they know (“solitary as an oyster” anyone?Time spent explicitly teaching and modelling planning is time well spent.It never feels like it, when we have so much content to cover, but plans that originate as mind-maps won’t have that clear argument throughout.You can ask them to write down any other quotations which also explore the theme or those which oppose it.We should encourage students to make flashcards to memorise quotation.