Discursive Writing on a Mountain
First steps towards a new style
Overnight, A mountain has appeared…
in the middle of the syllabus. Alongside familiar NESA categories of writing - including imaginative, informative, persuasive, reflective - is “discursive writing”.
Set the scene
Imagine you have been asked to write a piece on the subject of the mountain.
According to NESA, you are composing a piece of writing “without the direct intention of persuading the reader, listener or viewer to adopt any single point of view.”
This frees you to explore a variety of perspectives about the concept of the mountain, and any number of actual mountains.
Invite students to contribute:
Personal experiences or family anecdotes of mountains
Recollections of mountains from literature and the arts (film, visual arts, music)
Knowledge of mountains from geography and other subject areas
Symbolic meanings of mountains
Mountains in ancient settings (biblical/mythological)
Collect contributions on a whiteboard or in a shared document
Which are the strongest? What order feels right and why? What else might you need to add to produce a meaningful and resonant piece of writing?
Now go back
Reflect on the insights into the subject matter. Are these foreshadowed in your opening? Rewrite your opening.
This is one possible set of first steps. There are many ways to approach a mountain.
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