HLE introduction

Higher Level Essay
Mrs Ruth Nusser (Triggs)
Ice-breaking tomorrow...
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EngelsMiddelbare schoolvwoLeerjaar 4,5

This lesson contains 23 slides, with interactive quizzes and text slides.

time-iconLesson duration is: 50 min

Items in this lesson

Higher Level Essay
Mrs Ruth Nusser (Triggs)
Ice-breaking tomorrow...

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Seating plan Lang Lit DP2 

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Higher Level Essay
The Higher Level Essay is a 1200-1500 word essay completed internally but externally assessed by an IB examiner. It is a processed piece of writing that is completed over time and with guidance from the teacher. It is the only opportunity for Higher Level students to write an essay not under exam conditions, and as the title suggests, this is for HL Lit or Lang Lit students only.

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Higher Level Essay

  •  This essay is 20% of your overall grade. You will choose the topic on which you want to write in relation to any of the works you have studied and go through a planning and drafting process.   
  • This assessment component is an opportunity for you to explore a topic in which you have an interest
  • It allows you to develop understanding of the planning, drafting and re-drafting stages in consultation with your  teacher. These are skills needed for future academic study.  


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Higher Level Essay
You may write about a non-literary text or texts studied as part of this course. Alternatively, you may write about a literary work studied as part of this course. You may select any texts or works already studied as part of the course, but texts and works used for the internal assessment (individual oral) or paper 2 are not acceptable choices. 

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No double dipping ! 

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Higher Level Essay
If you decide to focus on non-literary texts, and consult a number of texts, it is important that these texts are of the same text type, and that the texts are the work of one writer or producer. Also, at least one of the texts must have been studied in class as part of the course. You may base your essay on texts or works in translation. These should be professional translations. 

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Higher Level Essay recap
  • The HLE is a 1200-1500 word formal, academic essay.
  • The HLE is a processed essay and will take time to develop.
  • The HLE is based on a literary or non-literary texts(s) studied in the course.
  • You select their own topic, title, line of inquiry and thesis although your teacher is there to guide and support you. 
  • You cannot base your essay on any work or text that was used for the Individual Oral or that will be used for Paper 2.
  • It is not a requirement to use or consult secondary sources, but you may. 

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Important dates - non-negotiable 
  1. Proposal form in Managebac 6th September. Upload your proposal form before the lesson on Monday 11th September.
  2. First draft 25th September upload to Managebac. This is the only work that you will get written feedback on; therefore, it should be as close as possible to your final essay. 
  3. 17th November final version uploaded to Managebac. 

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  1. Make use of your Learner Portfolio. start by going back through your portfolio and explore potential topics, asking your teacher for advice.
  2. Spend time thinking carefully about the topic
  3. Pay careful attention to the process of planning, drafting and re-drafting. Make sure you plan carefully and in detail. The more time you spend on the planning stages, the more likely it is that you will produce a successful piece of work.

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A good line of inquiry should...
  • Preferably revolve around any of the seven concepts: 
  • communication, creativity, culture, identity, perspective, representation, perspective. 
  • Study central topics/themes/ideas/global issues from your text
  • Study literary techniques or relevant stylistic devices
  • Consider audience
  • Consider purpose
  • Be based on work studied in class (primary source), although not limited to the texts studied in class. Other texts and producers are allowed and even encouraged.

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Menu of literary texts studied (I think) 
Wislawa Szymborska Selected Poems
(Readers, Writers, Texts)
A Doll’s House
by Henrik Ibsen
(Time and Space)

1984 by George Orwell

Watchmen by Alan Moore [graphics by Dave Gibbons] (Intertextuality)
The Things They Carried by Tim O’brien
(Readers, Writers Text)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Readers, Writers, Text) 
Selected short stories by Katherine Mansfield (Intertextuality) 

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Menu of non-literary text types studied (I think) 
Photography (visual texts/photographs) 
political cartoons/ comic strips
Sexualised Ad Campaigns (gender in Advertising)
Newspaper Articles
Podcasts or Vlogs
Documentary Films (Coded Bias) 
TV Series: The Boys   

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Step 1 choose your text(s)
  • What is one text from the course that you have enjoyed (or even loved)? 
  • Which literary and non-literary text will you hold back for the individual Oral (February)? 
  • Which three literary texts will you hold back for paper 2 comparative essay? 

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Step 2 brainstorm two areas 
Ideas, topics and Global issues 
in my chosen text 
Technical/Literary aspects 
in my chosen text 
In order to construct a strong line of inquiry, you will need both techniques and/or literary aspects and a significant idea or topicc or theme. 

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Share your initial choice of text(s), possible ideas/topics and technical or literary techniques.

Slide 16 - Open question

Constructing your line of inquiry 
Develop initially a number of lines of inquiry. These must include the following elements:
Question word 
Genre/text type
Literary/Linguistic technique
Insightful idea 
Precise context 
The line of inquiry is the question you will answer in your essay. When you flip it and answer it, that is your thesis statement. 

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Constructing your line of inquiry 
How does Hendrik Ibsen utilize the conventions of realism within theatre in his play A Doll's House  to convey the struggle for identity for both men and women in Norwegian society in the 1800s?
Now take 15 minutes to construct at least one, possibly more lines of inquiry.

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Post your initial line of inquiry

Slide 19 - Open question

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Introduction HLE 

1. A creative hook that introduces the topic
2. Definition of terms (preferably with sources)
3. Context and historical background
4. The line of inquiry with the literary aspect and an insightful idea.

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Conclusion  HLE 
1. Restatement of the thesis or argument. 
2. Synthesis of the paper without rehashing the main ideas. AVOID summarizing main ideas.
3. Extension beyond the texts to a wider context. Answer the question, “So What?” End with a flourish!

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Formatting - hand in 17th November on managebac before 9:00 am 

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