Written Explanation – explained

Lisa Tran

June 10, 2011

English & EAL

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*2017 UPDATE: Extra material added at the end of this article for Written Explanations based on Oral Presentations.

Written Explanations (also known as Statement of Intention, SOE, and various other names throughout different schools), are short introductory pieces to your essay. These Written Explanations are intended to explore the reasons behind why you made particular writing decisions. This is done via FLAPC:

Form, Language, Audience, Purpose, Context

Creative Response based Written Explanations

The following is taken from the VCAA study design for Creative Response-based Written Explanations:

"a written explanation of creative decisions and how these demonstrate understanding of the text."

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 why you have written your piece. They are considered as part of your SAC and thus, are marked accordingly. They not examinable during the English exam. 

Form

There are traditionally three forms of writing accepted in assessments: expository, creative or persuasive essay. 

‘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.’

Language

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 to write from first person perspective to shed light on the inner workings of Gardiner from The Lieutenant.'

Audience

You must select a targeted audience for your essay. Your choice can be adults 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 those who have found difficulty in assimilating to into a new group or culture. 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.’

Purpose

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.’

Context

Since your essay is based on your a studied text, 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’, a concept heavily explored in The Lieutenant. 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 300 – 350 words based on the VCAA study design. 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.

Need more help with your Creative Response? Check out How to achieve A+ in Reading and Creating!

Oral Presentation based Written Explanations

The VCAA study design requests students write...

"a written statement of intention to accompany the student’s own oral presentation, articulating the intention of decisions made in the planning process, and how these demonstrate understanding of argument and persuasive language."

Using the topic, 'Why we need to stop crying 'cultural appropriation' when cultural exchange is far more important(need help with your oral presentation topics? We've done the hard work and compiled 20 of the best topics here), let's see how this can be done with FLAPC with some examples below:

Form

‘I chose to adopt the conventions of a persuasive speech, where I use a structure of presenting my main ideas by rebutting arguments made by the opposition. Throughout my speech, I embed persuasive tactics in effort to firstly, encourage engagement from the audience and secondly, sway them to readily accept my point of view.

Language

‘Since I am an Asian-Australian, I have purposefully forgone the opportunity to adopt a persona and instead, have chosen to write from first person perspective as I can uniquely shed light on my own experiences towards cultural exchange and how that has directly impacted me. My speech heavily focuses on delivering tangible examples such as anecdotes and social media usage as I aim to heighten the topic’s relevancy and relatability for my audience. Moreover, as my focus is to reinforce positive attitudes towards cultural exchange, I have adopted a light-hearted approach with humour through the first portion of my speech, then moving into an urgent tone towards the end to highlight the importance of this issue.'

Audience

'I have opted to target young Australian adults since we are the generation of the future, and have a major role to play in positively shaping the Australian society’s views and attitudes towards cultures exchange.

Purpose

'I aim to convince my audience that it is too easy to cry 'cultural appropriation' by being overly sensitive, and instead, we need to consider the benefits of cultural exchange. Cultural exchange itself, has shaped the world as we know it today – it has an important role in globalisation, understanding foreign cultures, and the development of Australian society.'

Context

'Australia is known to be one of the most multicultural countries in the world. However, recent media has drawn attention to cries of 'cultural appropriation' towards Indigenous Australians and other cultures, claiming that we fail to appreciate and respect cultural values when we take others' culture for our own (whether it be fashion, music, food, or otherwise).'

Sample FLAPC compiled and rearranged for flow and fluency:

Australia is known to be one of the most multicultural countries in the world. However, recent media has drawn attention to cries of 'cultural appropriation' towards Indigenous Australians and other cultures, claiming that we fail to appreciate and respect cultural values when we take others' culture for our own (whether it be fashion, music, food, or otherwise). I aim to convince my audience that it is too easy to cry 'cultural appropriation' by being overly sensitive, and instead, we need to consider the benefits of cultural exchange. Cultural exchange itself, has shaped the world as we know it today – it has an important role in globalisation, understanding foreign cultures, and the development of Australian society. I chose to adopt the conventions of a persuasive speech, where I use a structure of presenting my main ideas by rebutting arguments made by the opposition. Throughout my speech, I embed persuasive tactics in effort to firstly, encourage engagement from the audience and secondly, sway them to readily accept my point of view. Since I am an Asian-Australian, I have purposefully forgone the opportunity to adopt a persona and instead, have chosen to write from first person perspective as I can uniquely shed light on my own experiences towards cultural exchange and how that has directly impacted me. This also has an additional persuasive effect as I invite my audience to relate to my opinions through their own similar experiences as young Australian adults. I have opted to target this audience since we are the generation of the future, and have a major role to play in positively shaping the Australian society’s views and attitudes towards cultures exchange. My speech heavily focuses on delivering tangible examples such as anecdotes and social media usage as I aim to heighten the topic’s relevance and relatability for my audience. Moreover, as my focus is to reinforce positive attitudes towards cultural exchange, I have adopted a light-hearted approach with humour through the first portion of my speech, then moving into an urgent tone towards the end to highlight the importance of this issue.

Need more help with Oral Presentations? See how Lisa achieved full marks in her SAC with her Advice for A+ Oral Presentations guide! Good luck!

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