empathic genre conversion

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Empathic Genre Conversion

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An introduction to the exam task set by the Cambridge IGCSE board.

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Page 1: Empathic genre conversion

Empathic Genre Conversion

Page 2: Empathic genre conversion

IGCSE English : Question 1

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What is empathy?

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Empathy is NOT sympathy!

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Reading most texts requires some degree of empathy in order to appreciate the perspective of the narrator or

characters presented

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How can you identify the elements which reveal the thoughts, feelings, opinions and attitudes expressed by

characters in a text?

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Explicit statements made

Implicit information conveyed through:

Dialoguelanguage choices

What is left ‘unsaid’Tone

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This task requires you to empathise with the thoughts, feelings and opinions expressed by one or more people in

the text and then DEMONSTRATE that understanding

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• Read and extract salient details

• Imagine and expand beyond the text while maintaining faith with the original text

• Complete the task using the target genre and capture an authentic sense of ‘voice’ using these details

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What is genre?

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What type (genre) of writing might you be asked to convert the

source text into?

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Newspaper reportMagazine article

Journal entrySpeech / interview / debate

ReportFormal / informal letter

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Each genre has a set of features which define them in the same way that a film type has a set of

recognisable elements:

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Special effectsDramatic soundtrackTechnophobic themeMuted colour scheme

Stark lightingPseudo spiritual or philosophical exploration

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StructureNarrative perspective

FormalityVocabulary

Tone

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What are the features of a newspaper report?

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What are the features of a journal entry?

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What are the features of a debate transcription?

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What are the features of a formal letter?

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So you might read a magazine article about homelessness and

then have to write a journal entry from the perspective of a

homeless person

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Or you could be asked to read a transcript of interviews with a

survivor of a house fire and a local domestic safety advisor. Then

you’ll need to convert the information into a newspaper

report on the incident.

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Let’s try a sample question...

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Max Brooks

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What is the genre and form of the text?

How do you know?

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From whose perspective is the text written?

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What are the thoughts, feelings, opinions and outlook presented

by Sardor Khan?

How do you know?

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Which other characters also feature and how might their

perspective differ from Khan’s?

What leads you to this conclusion?

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Sergeant Mukherjee

General Raj-Singh

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What empathetic genre conversion tasks might be suitable

to set for this source text?

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Write a newspaper account reporting on the demolition of the

bridge (you may adopt a sympathetic or antagonist stance)

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Assume that General Khan survived the demolition. Write his journal entry from that evening.

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Write the transcription for a debate with an extended

comment from each of the following participants:

Sergeant Mukherjeea surviving relative of a victim

Sardor Khan

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Write a letter from Sardor Khan to the surviving widow of General Singh expressing your respects

and thoughts about her late husband.