Written Explanations (also known as Statement of Intention, SOE, and various other names throughout different schools), are short introductory pieces to your Writing in Context essay. These Written Explanations are intended to provide your assessor an indication of what they should expect from your piece. Essentially, written explanations are a discussion of your own work. In this case, you are writing to inform the assessor of 5 elements of your essay, commonly known as FLAPC:
Form, Language, Audience, Purpose, Context
Most assessors are quite lenient with how you want to approach the Written Explanation – there is no rigid structure that you need to abide by. As we will discuss below, this allows you to consider what aspects of form, language, audience, purpose and context you wish to include. Each of the points should establish whyyou have chosen a particular form, or audience etc. Written Explanations are only required for two SACs, both Writing in Context. They are considered as part of your SAC and thus, are marked accordingly. They are however, not examinable during the English exam.
There are traditionally three forms of writing accepted in assessments: expository, creative or persuasive essay. Recently, hybrids of the three are also accepted for example, expository essay with a touch of creative writing. Whichever form of writing you select, you need to explain the reason behind your choice.
‘I chose to write in an expository style, employing conventions of format and style of a traditional essay. This allows me to express my ideas in a logical order while adopting a sophisticated tone.’
When writing, you choose particular words and phrases to illustrate your ideas. Think about what type of language have you used and why. Perhaps your piece is formal or informal, sophisticated or simple, or, first- or third- person perspective. All these factors are important in shaping your Context piece. Also consider language techniques you may have incorporated such as repetition, rhetorical questions, metaphors, symbolism and more.
‘I have chosen formal language in an attempt to demonstrate a comprehensive and thoughtful piece. Inclusive words such as ‘we’ and ‘us’ have been incorporated to allow me to connect with the audience. Furthermore, my use of first-person perspective aims to add credibility to my argument.’
You must select a targeted audience for your essay. Your choice can be VCE students to young children, or even to your future self. Make sure your target audience is suitable for your essay – select a group that would realistically be interested in your work.
‘My piece is to be published in an anthology for VCE students familiar with the subject matter and texts. As they have familiarity with the concepts I discuss, I intend for readers to depart with a greater understanding and appreciation of the ideas in my written piece.’
The purpose section is where you discuss the message you would like to send to your audience. Here you discuss your contention or arguments, whether you completely agree, disagree or a bit of both in regards to your prompt.
‘The purpose of this essay is to demonstrate that there can be different outcomes from encountering conflict: firstly, that conflicts can change many people through growth in understanding or a sense of self-development and secondly, that there are times when people remain unaffected by conflict and thus, unchanged.’
Since your essay is based on your Context prompt, you should provide a brief discussion of the basic ideas behind the Context. You can do this prior to your Purpose section since it is a good lead-in.
‘In this essay, I explored the idea that ‘Conflict inevitably changes people’. Every person encounters conflict. It drives individuals to challenge themselves, and deal with new experiences.’
Different schools will set different word limits for Written Explanations. These can range from 150 – 350 words. With such a small word limit, be succinct and choose what you will discuss wisely in order to score maximum marks allocated to Written Explanations.