empathic genre conversion
DESCRIPTIONAn introduction to the exam task set by the Cambridge IGCSE board.
Empathic Genre Conversion
IGCSE English : Question 1
What is empathy?
Empathy is NOT sympathy!
Reading most texts requires some degree of empathy in order to appreciate the perspective of the narrator or
How can you identify the elements which reveal the thoughts, feelings, opinions and attitudes expressed by
characters in a text?
Explicit statements made
Implicit information conveyed through:
What is left ‘unsaid’Tone
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
• 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
What is genre?
What type (genre) of writing might you be asked to convert the
source text into?
Newspaper reportMagazine article
Journal entrySpeech / interview / debate
ReportFormal / informal letter
Each genre has a set of features which define them in the same way that a film type has a set of
Special effectsDramatic soundtrackTechnophobic themeMuted colour scheme
Stark lightingPseudo spiritual or philosophical exploration
What are the features of a newspaper report?
What are the features of a journal entry?
What are the features of a debate transcription?
What are the features of a formal letter?
So you might read a magazine article about homelessness and
then have to write a journal entry from the perspective of a
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.
Let’s try a sample question...
What is the genre and form of the text?
How do you know?
From whose perspective is the text written?
What are the thoughts, feelings, opinions and outlook presented
by Sardor Khan?
How do you know?
Which other characters also feature and how might their
perspective differ from Khan’s?
What leads you to this conclusion?
What empathetic genre conversion tasks might be suitable
to set for this source text?
Write a newspaper account reporting on the demolition of the
bridge (you may adopt a sympathetic or antagonist stance)
Assume that General Khan survived the demolition. Write his journal entry from that evening.
Write the transcription for a debate with an extended
comment from each of the following participants:
Sergeant Mukherjeea surviving relative of a victim
Write a letter from Sardor Khan to the surviving widow of General Singh expressing your respects
and thoughts about her late husband.