M23 feedback Serial essay June 2022

Dear G11HL students,

Since we don't have any remaining HL classes this year, I thought I'd write up my general feedback here. The essays were read without knowledge of who wrote them (unless you wrote your name at the top).

  • "Theory" (Conversation Theory, for example) is not "used" by a speaker when they speak. It is used by you, the person analysing their work, as a lens or framework to present your arguments in.

  • About summary/paraphrasing: try to imagine an educated reader who has just finished listening to the show themselves. Only summarise to provide meaningful context for your evidence

  • When analysing spoken language, make clear distinctions between deliberate, manipulative uses of language on the one hand, and natural speech (what we all do) on the other

  • address the 'so what?' aspect of your thesis. Justify your line of inquiry and show how it is meaningful or important. You may consider presenting your work in the pre-existing academic context. (What have others written about this?), or relate your arguments to current developments in culture and media, for example.

  • Your topics were interesting and sometimes ambitious. Do consider what is possible to argue fully within the word limit (scope).

  • But... avoid exploring too little evidence. Basing a whole thesis on just one scene in one episode in a podcast like Serial is not persuasive.

  • Introduction: establish a clear focus and don't forget to present an outline regarding how your will approach the thesis (lumping/splitting, for example, or use of theoretical lens).

  • You generally did an impressive job applying the newly learning linguistic terminology about spoken language. Don't forget this over summer, especially if you are planning to do more work with Serial.

  • Structure and transitions were generally good. See me if you have questions about this.

  • I liked the ambition I saw in the lines of inquiry and your genuine engagement with linguistic analysis.

  • Some of you are beginning to really develop a good understanding of how to write and present arguments.

I look forward to discussing and exploring ideas for the final HL Essay after summer. Remember: the HL Essay can be on a language OR on a literature text, but not an author you used for your IO.

Mr. Carlier

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