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Progression of Learning
at the Secondary Level
English Language Arts
August 20, 2010
Table of Contents
Progression of Learning in Secondary School
Language-Learning Processes
Reading Process: Interpreting Texts
Production Process
Reseach Process
Required Genres: Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions
Planning Texts
Reflective Texts
Narrative Texts
Explanatory Texts
Expository Texts :
Persuasive Texts
Argumentative Texts
Conventions of Language
Spoken Language
Written Language
Media Language
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Progression of Learning in Secondary School
The progression of learning in secondary school constitutes a complement to each school subject, providing further
information on the knowledge that the students must acquire and be able to use in each year of secondary school. This
tool is intended to assist teachers in planning both their teaching and the learning that their students are to acquire.
The role of knowledge in learning
The knowledge that young people acquire enables them to better understand the world in which they live. From a very
early age, within their families and through contact with the media and with friends, they accumulate and learn to use an
increasingly greater body of knowledge. The role of the school should be to progressively broaden, deepen and structure
this knowledge.
Knowledge and competencies must mutually reinforce each other. On the one hand, knowledge becomes consolidated
when it is used and, on the other hand, the exercise of competencies entails the acquisition of new knowledge. Helping
young people acquire knowledge raises the challenging question of how to make this knowledge useful and durable, and
thus evokes the notion of competency. For example, we can never be really assured that a grammar rule has been
assimilated until it is used appropriately in a variety of texts and contexts that go beyond the confines of a repetitive,
targeted exercise.
Intervention by the teacher
The role of the teacher in knowledge acquisition and competency development is essential, and he or she must intervene
throughout the learning process. In effect, the Education Act confers on the teacher the right to “select methods of
instruction corresponding to the requirements and objectives fixed for each group or for each student entrusted to his
care.” It is therefore the teacher’s responsibility to adapt his or her instruction and to base it on a variety of strategies,
whether this involves lecture-based teaching for the entire class, individualized instruction for a student or a small group of
students, a series of exercises to be done, a team activity or a particular project to be carried out.
In order to meet the needs of students with learning difficulties, teachers should encourage their participation in the
activities designed for the whole class, although support measures should also be provided, when necessary. These might
involve more targeted teaching of certain key elements of knowledge, or they might take the form of other specialized
As for the evaluation of learning, it serves two essential functions. Firstly, it enables us to look at the students’ learning in
order to guide and support them effectively. Secondly, it enables us to verify the extent to which the students have
acquired the expected learning. Whatever its function, in accordance with the Policy on the Evaluation of Learning,
evaluation should focus on the acquisition of knowledge and the students’ ability to use this knowledge effectively in
contexts that draw upon their competencies.
The progression of learning is presented in the form of tables that organize the elements of knowledge similarly to the way
they are organized in the subject-specific programs. In mathematics, for example, learning is presented in fields: arithmetic,
geometry, etc. For subjects that continue on from elementary school, the Progression of Learning in Secondary School
has been harmonized with the Progression of Learning in Elementary School. Every element of learning indicated is
associated with one or more years of secondary school during which it is formally taught.
A uniform legend is used for all subjects. The legend employs three symbols: an arrow, a star and a shaded box. What is
expected of the student is described as follows:
Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.
Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.
Student reinvests knowledge.
An arrow indicates that teaching must be planned in a way that enables students to begin acquiring knowledge during the
school year and continue or conclude this process in the following year, with ongoing systematic intervention from the
A star indicates that the teacher must plan for the majority of students to have acquired this knowledge by the end of the
school year.
A shaded box indicates that the teacher must plan to ensure that this knowledge will be applied during the school year.
English Language Arts
This document is a supplement to the English Language Arts (ELA) programs for Secondary Cycle One (SELA) and Cycle
Two (SELA2). It neither replaces nor rewrites SELA or SELA2. The focus of the document is to provide more information
about some of the requirements of SELA and SELA2 and their connection to the progressive development of critical
literacy from the beginning to the end of secondary school. Teachers are encouraged to include this document in their
planning for both short- and long-term pedagogical strategies and goals in order to help them fulfill the requirements of the
SELA and SELA2 programs.
Progression from elementary to secondary school
By the end of elementary school, the average student demonstrates competency in English Language Arts at a
developmentally appropriate level. Teachers of SELA can expect their first-year students to arrive with a range of
self-expressive (i.e. journals, friendly letters), narrative, and literary texts in their literacy repertoire. Although they have had
experience reading and writing information-based texts, specifically planning, explanatory and simple persuasive texts, as
well as descriptive reports, their experience with them and with working with information in general is more limited in scope.
As such, persuasion remains conceptually challenging for young adolescents. Students’ experience with these types of
texts is limited to those in their immediate environment, such as promotional ads and television commercials, where the
focus is on how these texts are constructed rather than on producing them. Students have learned how to use the different
language-learning processes to respond to the different texts they read and to use writing, collaborative and production
processes when working alone or in a group. Talk for communicating and learning, with particular emphasis on the
acquisition of appropriate social behaviours for working with and learning from others, plays a central role in their literacy
profile. As writers, students are comfortable drafting and proofreading their work, but have limited experience in the
development of revision and editing strategies. They are used to writing and producing texts for a familiar audience of
family, friends, teacher and peers. Students have learned rules, patterns and generalizations related to spelling, grammar
and usage conventions that are developmentally and conceptually appropriate for an average student entering high
As students develop from early to late adolescence, their capacity to adapt what they know about language to more
intricate and mature communication contexts or situations progresses. Therefore, as they move from the SELA to the
SELA2 programs of study, progressive linguistic and textual demands are made on them as they are asked to work in more
challenging contexts. These include: the introduction of a greater range and variety of genres for reading and production;
texts that feature more sophisticated concepts, structures and devices; and, production activities that ask them to move
away from a familiar to a more distant audience.
The SELA and SELA2 program supplement
This document follows developmentally from the essential knowledge that students have acquired over their time in
elementary school. As was the case with the Elementary English Language Arts (EELA) program of study, the SELA and
SELA2 programs are first and foremost literacy programs in which the reading and production of spoken, written and media
texts are learned in an integrated fashion. This integration lies at the core of the development of critical literacy.
Similarly, the three sections that appear in this document assume a connection between the development of essential
knowledge about language and texts, and the language-learning processes that mobilize this knowledge, giving it context,
purpose and function.
The first section of the document describes the language-learning processes of reading, production and research that are
vital insofar as they provide students with essential knowledge that will enable lifelong literacy and learning. Knowledge
about the context in which a text is written or produced, the meaning(s)/message(s) it conveys and the audience to whom it
is directed provide the foundation for the growth of critical and fluent speakers, listeners, readers, writers and producers.
The second section of the document lists the required genres, together with their related structures, features, codes and
conventions. Knowledge about genres and how they work is essential to being able to make sense of the world around us
and communicate effectively in a variety of situations, as all texts have explicit and important social functions and/or
purposes that serve our life in society. In a world in which texts are increasingly multimodal, or combine sound, image,
and/or word, knowledge about the conventions of spoken, written and media language and how they are used to construct
meaning is essential to the development of critical thinking. This knowledge comprises the third section of the document
and represents the building blocks on which language as a system is constructed. It is understood that students’
knowledge progresses through active engagement in integrated language contexts. In other words, students are presented
with situations in which they apply the different language-learning processes to read and produce a variety of genres using
spoken, written and media language – both alone and in combination (i.e. including multigenre and multimodal texts).
All of the existing content in SELA and SELA2 plays a key role in the development of critical literacy, whether or not it
reappears in this document. It should be noted that the content of high school leaving exams, for example, is based on both
the existing programs and the supplemental information found in this document. In other words, it is anticipated that
teachers will integrate the existing program content in SELA and SELA2 with the additional information provided in this
document as they plan for teaching. Teachers are responsible for assuring that the variety of genres to be read and
produced over the five years of high school corresponds to the requirements of the SELA and SELA2 programs. As well,
both programs include a page listing the common characteristics of teaching-learning-evaluating contexts associated with
the development of critical literacy and teachers are encouraged to refer to these, together with the required content, when
planning for teaching. Finally, teachers are reminded that the SELA and SELA2 programs respect the need for
differentiated instruction. Even though all students demonstrate developmental progress in their growth towards critical
literacy, it is a myth that one unique standard for such development applies to all students in exactly the same way.
Therefore, to meet the needs and abilities of their individual students, teachers are encouraged to adapt the content of the
SELA and SELA2 programs in a manner that respects individual learners and differentiated instruction.
English Language Arts
Language-Learning Processes
Knowledge about the processes used to read, interpret and produce spoken, written and media texts is central to the
development of critical literacy. The processes detailed in the following chart are: Reading process, Production process
(i.e. integrating writing and media) and Research process. It is anticipated that students will develop these different
processes throughout secondary school as they work with increasingly complex purposes, texts and contexts. Any process
is by definition nonlinear in its development, as well as context- and text-dependent in its application, making it vital that
students work consistently with these language-learning processes throughout each cycle of secondary school.
Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.
Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.
Student reinvests knowledge.1
A. Reading Process: Interpreting Texts
The student applies the stages of the reading process to interpret a spoken, written,
media, multimodal and/or multigenre text.
1. Reading profile 2
a. Considers the social function(s) of the text and the context3 in which it was
produced, as well as his/her own reading context, to determine appropriate
reading stance
b. Adjusts reading stance(s) and strategies to determine possible meaning(s) or
message(s) in spoken, written, media, multimodal and multigenre texts
c. Uses cues conveyed by the structure, features, codes and conventions of spoken,
written and media genres to determine significance in a text while
listening/reading/viewing (e.g. recognizes the conventions of television news that
are associated with credibility; recognizes the structural devices used in an
editorial that strengthen an argument)
d. Draws on needed background knowledge and experiences related to the social
and/or cultural and/or historical context in which the text was produced in order to
read critically (e.g. consults other texts written at the same time)
e. Produces a coherent first reading/initial response to a text. See below for what
constitutes a first reading/initial response to a text.
2. First reading/initial response 4
a. Extends/supports/scaffolds first reading/initial response by examining details in
the text (e.g. draws on own reading profile; uses information gained through
rereading, immersion into texts and exchanges with other readers and teacher)
b. Keeps track of changes in own first reading/initial response as s/he works toward
a more considered interpretation of the text (e.g. makes notes, highlights
significant sections of text, begins a tentative outline)
c. Demonstrates understanding of the difference between familiar open and closed written narrative5 texts by
i. Known characteristics of a closed narrative text (e.g. the formulaic pattern in
a heroic myth or in a serialized spy thriller such as James Bond)
ii. Known characteristics of an open narrative text (e.g. figurative language in a
short story or symbolism in a poem)
d. Demonstrates understanding of how information is interpreted and communicated in different
information-based (spoken, written, media) genres:
i. Draws inferences about the view of the world presented in the text despite
its apparent objectivity (e.g. in a research report that presents only one side
of the greenhouse effect)
ii. Draws generalizations and conclusions based on evidence in the text
(e.g. synthesizes key ideas and information)
iii. Locates evidence in the text of how the writer/producer creates a
relationship between the text and its reader (e.g. identifies aspects that
appeal more to women than to men in a magazine ad)
iv. Identifies characteristics of writer/producer and how this influences the
purpose of the text, its meaning(s)/message(s) and other aspects of the
context in which it is produced and read (e.g. inherent values and how these
are represented; influence of a social/cultural/historical context on their
sensibility and/or central argument)
v. Connects significant facts/information in relation to main idea(s), hypothesis,
thesis statement or stance conveyed by writer/producer (i.e. means through
which writer/producer interprets information or uses argument or persuasion
to move the reader)
vi. Analyzes implications and/or impact and/or influence of stereotyping or
cliché, false representation, gender bias and/or power relations within a text
on the meaning(s)/message(s) communicated
vii. Identifies dominant discourses and how they shape the writer’s/producer’s
intended meanings/messages (i.e. recognizes whose voices are heard and
whose voices are ignored or marginalized in a given text)
3. Interpretation of the text6
a. Interrelates aspects of his/her reading profile, the structure, features and content
of the text, and its social/cultural/historical context
b. Determines own working hypothesis, theory, controlling idea, or thesis statement
c. Organizes elements of own interpretation in order to achieve coherence and
communicate clearly
d. Selects a mode and genre that conveys own interpretation to advantage in light of
situation/context7 (e.g. interprets the conflict faced by a central character through
a journal that includes illustrations and print)
e. Selects relevant evidence to illustrate and justify own interpretation:
i. Cites evidence from the text to substantiate own ideas, statements,
questions and opinions
ii. Compares/contrasts with other texts that treat the same issue/topic/theme
iii. Analyzes dominant features of the text, such as its point of view, use of
persuasive language, connotation and denotation, etc.
iv. Explains how real and imaginary are represented by the writer/producer and
to what effect
v. Explains how fact and opinion are represented by the writer/producer and to
what effect
vi. Analyzes how the text attempts to attract and hold the reader’s attention
(e.g. how continuity is established in an argument; how humour, sound or
music is employed to special effect in film; how structural irony or vivid
details are used to create suspense in a narrative)
vii. Establishes interrelationships between the structure and features of the
genre, the context in which the text is produced, and the impact of the text
on self as reader (e.g. the use of dramatic irony in Romeo and Juliet allows
Shakespeare to heighten the tragedy of their suicides, while reminding
today’s reader that in the 16th century, star-crossed lovers had very few
choices as to how their situation might be resolved)
viii. Compares/contrasts own ideas, values and beliefs with those presented by
writer/producer (e.g. notions of beauty promoted in a teen magazine;
portrayal of the American South in novels written between 1920 and 1945)
ix. Analyzes how readers are positioned or situated by the text and how this
can alter an interpretation (e.g. considers how “generation gap” stereotypes
might affect different readers)
f. Draws coherent conclusions by making inferences and generalizations
g. Uses vocabulary and terminology that apply to a specific topic and/or genre
(e.g. scientific terms in a feature article; literary terms proper to an Elizabethan
B. Production Process8
The student applies the stages of the production process to produce spoken, written,
media, multigenre and multimodal texts in a given context or situation.
1. Preproduction
a. Examines model texts to guide production decisions, specifically:
i. Unique structure(s), features, codes and conventions of a specific text type.
See also the Required Genres section of this document for specific
structures, features, codes and conventions.
ii. Purpose and context in which the text was produced that influence features
such as its style, rhetorical devices, textual conventions and content (e.g. an
advertisement for sports equipment in a popular sports magazine; an airline
safety pamphlet; a film review on a newspaper Web site)
iii. How characteristics of the intended/target audience are represented such
as their needs, expectations, age group, social status, etc.
iv. How the meaning/message is represented and communicated
v. Level of formality of the discourse (i.e. its register)
vi. Aspects of the writer’s/producer’s stance and how these influence readers
(e.g. intent, ideology, values, beliefs)
b. Plans and drafts the text:
i. (Media only) Uses collaborative strategies as part of a production team
(e.g. adopts different roles, shares expertise, sets and meets deadlines,
accepts different points of view, reaches consensus)
ii. Selects a text in light of context, including purpose, meaning(s)/message(s)
and intended/target audience
iii. Determines criteria to judge the quality of the text in light of the production
context, including purpose and intended/target audience
iv. Characterizes needs and expectations of intended/target audience to make some decisions regarding
Familiar audience (e.g. provides additional details or information;
sequences events or information to enhance reader’s comprehension)
Distant but known audience, conceptually appropriate for an
adolescent (e.g. considers audience knowledge and/or preconceived
notions of topic)
v. Uses a range of stances derived from:
Personal experience(s) and knowledge
Distance between self as writer/producer, topic, purpose and
intended/target audience
vi. Uses appropriate organizational devices in light of text, purpose,
intended/target audience, meaning(s)/message(s) and context (e.g. outline,
vii. Researches to locate material, resources and/or expertise
viii. Manages resources (e.g. makes appointments to administer surveys or
conduct an interview; books AV equipment in advance)
ix. Looks into issues of ownership, property and privacy common to the media
industry (e.g. checks that copyright and/or legal permission can be obtained;
reviews relevant intellectual property laws)
2. Production
a. Uses relevant technology resources throughout the production process (e.g. uses
a still or video camera in a Public Service Announcement (PSA); downloads digital
images for a multimedia project)
b. Uses structures, features, codes and conventions of a specific text to
communicate clearly and enhance meaning(s)/message(s)
c. Uses knowledge about spoken and/or written and/or media modes and genres to
make production decisions that enhance the impact of the text on its
intended/target audience (e.g. decides to place a dramatic photograph with a
feature news story to move the audience)
d. Uses rhetorical strategies and different registers in context (e.g. uses an active
voice to project a sense of immediacy)
e. Respects constraints of the media industry (e.g. length, ideology, copyright,
3. Postproduction9
a. Evaluates draft/version critically, and makes relevant adjustments to enhance:
i. Clarity and development of ideas, meaning(s)/message(s)
ii. Internal organization of the content (e.g. changes order of images in a photo
iii. Precision in the use of details and/or information
iv. Coherence in light of the production context, purpose, intended/target
audience and production criteria
v. Accuracy in the use of structure, features, codes and conventions of the
text, including respect for media constraints (i.e. applies text grammars
vi. Effectiveness of technology used (e.g. rerecording narration to fill in gaps
and/or for audibility in a radio spot; slowing down transitions between
images in a digital photo essay so the reader can process them)
vii. Use of stylistic conventions for specific effect (e.g. sound effects to create
mood; use of exaggerated gory details in a crime scene description)
b. Proofreads draft/version for:
i. Surface errors in written language (i.e. spelling and usage conventions,
grammar and syntax)
ii. Clarity regarding the layout and presentation of the final draft/version of the
text (e.g. arranges the placement of charts, diagrams or images)
iii. Continuity (e.g. ensures coherent visual style in a comic re: colour,
character depiction; checks that formatting is consistent in a written text)
c. Prepares for presentation:
i. Selects the most effective way to present the text to intended/target
ii. Uses the appropriate codes and conventions to present the text (e.g. uses a
formal register when presenting a poster to the class)
iii. Manages resources in a presentation (e.g. checks that software is
compatible, CDs are cued up)
iv. Transforms the information from one mode or medium to another
(e.g. prepares a slideshow that synthesizes the data from an action research
d. Self-evaluates production process:
i. Makes effective use of specific feedback throughout all stages of the
production process, including rehearsal/dry run
ii. Uses teacher- peer- and self-evaluation as a resource to consolidate and
reinvest new knowledge, understanding and information (e.g. records peer
responses in own Integrated Profile for reference in subsequent production
iii. Uses a metalanguage10 to explain production decisions (e.g. explains the
symbolism of the colour red and the mood that patriotic music creates in a
book trailer about war)
C. Reseach Process
The student demonstrates control over all required aspects of the research process11
to produce spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts in a given context
or situation.
1. Inquiry process
a. Uses problem solving to interpret data and information critically
b. Uses action research to effect social change
c. Uses ethnography to study a social world relevant to an adolescent
2. Research strategies
a. Distinguishes between primary and secondary sources, both print and non-print
b. Narrows topic/subject in order to focus research (e.g. lists pros/cons, creates
c. Selects a research protocol depending on purpose, context and inquiry process
chosen (i.e. quantitative or qualitative method)
d. Develops a system to keep track of data/information as s/he researches
(e.g. notebook, bibliographic references)
e. Uses a number of research tools to gather data/information:
i. Primary sources (e.g. artefacts, interviews, autobiography, journals/diaries)
ii. Secondary sources (e.g. reference texts, newspaper articles, books)
iii. Own data collection instruments (e.g. interviews, surveys, questionnaires)
f. Interprets data/findings:
i. Categorizes data/information (e.g. collates results of surveys; looks for
patterns in data; identifies common themes in interviews)
ii. Makes generalizations (e.g. determines statistical significance; chooses
relevant evidence to support thesis; summarizes or gives a précis to
highlight key points)
iii. Adopts a stance that promotes the smooth development of a hypothesis,
thesis statement or controlling idea in own research
The blue bar signifies that students require the guidance of their teacher to reinvest the knowledge gained by the end of
a certain grade level in progressively more demanding contexts, with increasingly more challenging material, to ensure
that their understanding deepens over time.
The student’s reading profile includes texts s/he has read, reading strategies, reading stance and other resources, such
as personal knowledge. See SELA, pp. 113-114 and SELA2, pp. 41-42.
The context for reading, as described in the SELA and SELA2 programs, includes both the purpose for reading and the
social and/or cultural and/or historical and/or literary context in which a given text is produced.
See SELA, p. 115 and SELA2, pp. 39-40, 43-45.
See SELA2, p. 57.
Despite the linear appearance of this list, the process of constructing an interpretation is in fact selective and recursive,
depending on the text that is being interpreted and the context in which the student is working.
See SELA2 pp. 1-2, 22-23 for more information about affordances.
The SELA program includes separate Writing and Media competencies that are integrated into a single Production
competency in SELA2.
The postproduction processes of revision and media editing involve working with an existing text (e.g. a written draft or
raw footage). In both cases, attention is paid to revising/editing in light of elements such as order, coherence and
continuity, and effective use of codes and conventions.
10. A metalanguage is a shared language used to describe or analyze some aspect of spoken, written or media language.
11. See SELA, Inquiry Process, Problem Solving, and Action Research, pp. 97-98; and, SELA2, Strategies for Collecting
Data, pg. 23, pp. 25-26 for more information on action research and inquiry process; as well as p. 29 for
English Language Arts
Required Genres: Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions
Genres shape our life in society, as they are the vehicles by which we communicate with one another. The following chart
specifies the knowledge about the required genres that students are expected to develop by the end of secondary school.
Students use this knowledge to construct meaning while reading and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and
multimodal texts in developmentally appropriate and increasingly more complex contexts. The complexity of a genre is
achieved through the way its structures and features interact to create meaning in a given context. Examples include: the
distance between a writer’s/producer’s stance, the topic and the intended/target audience; the level of abstraction of ideas;
length and other media production constraints; the structures and features of specific texts; and, combinations of modes
and genres. As such, a memoir can become quite sophisticated by grade 11 as students’ ability to reflect on their past is
more mature and distanced, as is their ability to draw on a repertoire of literary devices to engage the reader.
It is understood that students learn about different texts by actively engaging in reading, interpreting and producing texts,
by examining their social functions and specific structures and features, rather than being asked to identify or define terms
in an isolated fashion. See SELA2, Required Genres, p. 9.
Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.
Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.
Student reinvests knowledge.1
A. Planning Texts
Planning texts are used to plan and organize our thoughts, ideas and actions, and help
us to monitor our own learning.
1. Required Planning Texts
The student reads and produces the following texts:
a. Reading (spoken, written and media):
i. Notes and informal transcripts based on sources read and/or consulted,
including class/instructional notes, and the results of individual and group
brainstorming activities
ii. Self-monitoring texts such as rubrics, checklists, project instructions and
iii. Models of planning texts (i.e. outlines for research, storyboards, action
plans, proposals)
b. Production (spoken):
i. Discussions in media production groups (i.e. to establish roles, make
decisions, etc.)
ii. Conferences with peers and teacher (e.g. regarding action plan, outline,
getting the ‘green light’)
c. Production (written, media and multimodal):
i. Notes and informal transcripts based on sources read and/or consulted,
including class/instructional notes, and the results of individual and group
brainstorming activities (i.e. field notes, minutes)
ii. Graphic organizers such as mind maps, clusters, lists
iii. Self-monitoring texts such as rubrics, checklists, timelines
iv. Outlines and storyboards (i.e. for research, written essays and media
v. Action plans and proposals for projects (i.e. for action research and
independent units of study)
2. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Planning Texts
The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading
and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
a. List of actions to undertake or of ideas to discuss/examine (e.g. prioritize tasks,
decide on a project’s hypothesis and scope, create a thesis statement)
b. Organization, categorization, collation and sequencing of ideas/information
c. Conventions associated with thinking something through, such as
informal/tentative language, pauses and hesitations, point form, use of capital
letters and or other forms of annotation to differentiate ideas
d. Visual conventions to articulate the hierarchy and relationships among
ideas/actions (e.g. webbing, arrows, colour coding, layout)
e. Genre-specific conventions (e.g. quotations from the text in an outline for a literary
essay; proposed research resources in an action plan; selection of artefacts to
present in a conference)
B. Reflective Texts
Reflective texts help us to reflect, think and/or wonder about life, current events,
personal experiences, as well as to reflect on our actions and evaluate what we learn.
1. Required Reflective Texts
The student reads and produces the following texts:
a. Reading (spoken, written and media):
i. Journals, real or fictional (e.g. multimedia journals, writer’s notebooks and
ii. Self-evaluations and reflections, including peer/teacher feedback
iii. Texts reflecting on values, experiences, ideas, opinions, state of society
today (e.g. personal essay, magazine commentary, op-ed piece)
b. Production (spoken):
i. Class and small group discussions, including first readings/initial responses
to texts (e.g. group plenaries)
ii. Self-evaluation conferences (i.e. presenting contents of the Integrated
Profile and peer/teacher feedback)
iii. Postproduction discussions (e.g. in small groups, for peer evaluation)
c. Production (written, media and multimodal):
i. Journals, real or fictional, such as reading logs, media logs, learning/process
logs, writer’s notebook, diary
ii. Written self-evaluations and reflections, including written feedback to peers
iii. Texts reflecting on values, experiences, ideas, opinions, state of society
today (e.g. responses and interpretations of texts)
2. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Reflective Texts
The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading
and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
a. Focus on ideas/experiences/qualities that are selected and synthesized
b. Organizational structure to prioritize, sequence and explore ideas from multiple
perspectives (e.g. classification, cause/effect, compare/contrast, chronology)
c. Evidence from own experience including personal, global and/or textual examples
d. Conclusion which shares a realization, resolution or judgment
e. Rhetorical strategies to build rapport, create a sense of intimacy and closeness,
and diminish boundaries between reader and producer (e.g. use of first person (I
or we), use of anecdotes, analogies, questions, and metaphors)
f. Tone and register to suit the genre and engage the intended/target audience,
including self (e.g. distant and contemplative about a social issue; personal and
sombre about something sad that happened; reminiscent or lamenting about a
g. Genre-specific conventions (e.g. use of anecdotes, flashback and humour in a
personal essay; questions, sarcasm, examples from other texts in a response;
figurative language and doodles in a journal)
h. Multigenre conventions (e.g. poems in a journal; recount in a self-evaluation
i. Multimodal conventions (e.g. tentative language, gestures in a conference;
decoupage/collage and/or personal photos in a journal)
C. Narrative Texts
Narrative texts are one of the oldest forms for recording and making sense of human
experience, as well as articulating the world of the imagination.
1. Required Narrative Texts
The student reads and produces the following texts:
a. Reading (spoken, written and media):
i. Young Adult Literature (YAL) in a range of genres including novels, graphic
novels, memoirs and poetry
ii. Popular mass-produced texts such as magazines, graphic novels, films and
iii. Classic, modern and contemporary literature:
Written for children and young adolescents and reflecting the variety of
texts in the literary tradition, including myths, fairy tales, legends,
children’s literature, ballads and other poems
Written for adults and reflecting the variety of texts in the literary
tradition, including novels, short stories, plays, poetry, memoir and
b. Production (spoken):
i. Personal stories (e.g. anecdotes, accounts of family life and
autobiographical incidents)
ii. Dramatizations of plays and other narrative texts (e.g. read-alouds, choral
reading, scene selections)
iii. Spoken performances (e.g. poetry reading, spoken word, storytelling,
iv. Improvisations (i.e. for problem solving, experimenting with different points of
view, specifically Forum Theatre2 and role-play)
c. Production (written, media and multimodal):
i. Narratives in prose form:
Derived from personal experiences (own or others’) such as memoir,
photo story, historical recount
Fictional narratives such as short story, script for a radio play
ii. Narratives in poetic form (e.g. lyric poetry, free verse, ballad, poetry of social
2. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Narrative Texts
The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading
and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
a. Setting: the physical landscape and social context in which the action of story
occurs (i.e. its time and place, and the descriptive details that construct the world
of the story)
b. Characterization:
i. Major and minor characters (e.g. protagonist, antagonist, anti-hero, foil)
ii. Stock and/or flat characters (i.e. characters with only one or two qualities or
traits, often stereotypes of individuals and/or groups)
iii. Archetypes (e.g. hero, maiden, arch nemesis)
c. Conflict and resolution of conflict (i.e. central problem around which a story is
typically organized) such as man against man, man against nature, issues
involving what is right or wrong
d. Plot:
i. Basic plot structure: rising action, climax, denouement and resolution
ii. Features that move the story forward (i.e. incidents, scenes, episodes, and
iii. Linear and nonlinear plotting (e.g. flashback, multi-narrative strands,
iv. Features to structure the plot (e.g. series of dramatic monologues in a script;
flashbacks throughout a televised crime serial; interchapters in novels such
as Grapes of Wrath)
v. (Reading only) Structural irony (i.e. a double meaning established by a
naive protagonist that continues throughout the text, such as in Treasure
Island or Gulliver’s Travels)
e. Theme:
i. Overt or implied theme(s)
ii. Archetypal and contemporary themes (e.g. Faustian bargain or deal with the
Devil; human isolation in the technological age)
iii. Recurring motifs, concepts, and other patterns
f. Techniques/devices derived from literature:
i. Suspense (e.g. foreshadowing, use of action sequences, spooky music)
ii. Character development (e.g. dialogue, dialect, pathos)
iii. Figurative language: metaphor, simile, imagery, personification
iv. Aesthetic qualities of language (e.g. alliteration, rhyme, rhythm,
v. Connotation and denotation
vi. Point of view (i.e. first person, second person, third person limited and/or
omniscient narrator)
vii. Tone and mood
viii. Humour (e.g. verbal irony, comic relief, caricature, hyperbole and
ix. Repetition and/or juxtaposition of symbols or motifs (e.g. allusion)
x. Irony (e.g. situational, dramatic)
xi. Satire
g. Conventions of specific literary genres (e.g. use of mythical characters in an
allegory; scene gathering all the suspects in a mystery; quest plot structure in a
fantasy; plot twist in a tragedy)
h. Conventions of specific text types (e.g. use of gutters and panel shape/size in a
comic; use of asides, soliloquy, stage directions in a play; use of stanzaic structure
and enjambment in a poem)
i. Multigenre conventions (e.g. journal entries in a novel; historical footage in a
contemporary film)
j. (Reading only) Multimodal conventions (e.g. use of theatrical elements such as
costume, set design, makeup, blocking in a stage production; use of cinematic
elements such as camera language, colour, lighting and soundtrack in a film)
D. Explanatory Texts
Explanatory texts answer the questions “why” and “how.” Describing a procedure
and/or explaining social/natural phenomena, these texts allow people to share their
expertise in a range of fields and form the basis of many texts from which we learn
throughout our lives, such as textbooks and reference books.
1. Required Explanatory Texts
The student reads and produces the following texts:
a. Reading (spoken, written and media):
i. "How to" booklets/manuals/videos
ii. Photo-essays with text (e.g. pamphlet)
iii. Explanations of a process (e.g. presentation of a lesson by teacher and/or
iv. Reference texts (i.e. for research purposes)
b. Production (spoken):
i. Explanations of a process (e.g. teaching something to peers/class, sharing
expertise with others)
c. Production (written, media and multimodal):
i. Photo-essay with text (e.g. pamphlet)
ii. "How to" booklet/manual (e.g. expert paper)
2. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Explanatory Texts
The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading
and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
a. Selection and synthesis of steps in a process
b. Organizational structure to break down, categorize and sequence steps logically
(e.g. classification, chronology)
c. Conclusion which reviews the salient points
d. Conventions which indicate cause and effect (e.g. clear and precise diction/word
choice; causal conjunctions such as because, consequently and therefore;
temporal conjunctions such as first, second, when and then; transitional phrases
such as for example, in other words, as a result)
e. Visuals to focus reader’s attention on what is most important (e.g. headings,
captions, labels, graphics, table of contents)
f. Rhetorical strategies to engage the intended/target audience and assure their
comprehension (e.g. expert to non-expert register, demonstration, checking for
understanding, analogy, referents to audience knowledge and experience)
g. Multigenre conventions (e.g. emotional appeals (persuasive) and testimonials
(narrative) in a pamphlet explaining how to recycle)
h. Multimodal conventions (e.g. use of resources such as blackboard, slideshow,
video clips in a spoken explanation)
E. Reports
Reports describe the way things are or were, conveying information in a seemingly
straightforward and objective fashion. They focus on the classification and/or synthesis
of a range of natural, cultural or social phenomena in order to name, document and
store it as information.
1. Required Reports
The student reads and produces the following texts:
a. Reading (spoken, written and media):
i. Descriptive reports (e.g. recounts of an event/eye-witness report, preliminary
research findings)
ii. News reports in different media (e.g. television, radio, Internet, graphic
reportage/journalism such as 9/11 Report)
iii. Research reports on areas of student interest and expertise (e.g. the media,
environmental issues, health and well-being)
iv. Interviews (e.g. in print, on radio and/or television)
b. Production (spoken):
i. Descriptive reports delivered in small groups or to whole class
(e.g. plenaries)
ii. Interviews, including written and/or audio and/or video transcriptions
c. Production (written, media and multimodal):
i. News reports:
Short breaking news stories on topics of personal and/or local interest,
such as for an online newspaper or blog
Feature news stories on topics of local, national and/or international
ii. Research reports:
on areas of student interest and/or expertise
on topics of local, national and/or international interest
2. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Reports
The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading
and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
a. Information organized and sequenced using a structure such as chronology,
classification, compare/contrast, problem/solution, cause/effect
b. Layout which visually cues the reader (e.g. subheadings, call-outs, paragraphs,
arrows, headline, by-line, composition of photos/images related to print)
c. Information selected and synthesized to reflect the bias/stance of writer/producer
d. Evidence to support details, ideas, concepts (e.g. via a variety of primary sources
such as field notes, interviews, artefacts; and, secondary sources such as facts,
statistics, contextual information)
e. Conclusion(s) which highlight important facts or findings (e.g. via synthesis,
interpretation of data, recommendations)
f. Multigenre conventions (e.g. use of case studies in a research report; use of
narration and/or description to synthesize interview responses into an in-depth
profile or feature article)
g. Multimodal conventions (e.g. video clips or still images interspersed throughout a
televised interview; sound effects in a radio news report)
h. Genre-specific conventions:
i. News reports:
Inverted pyramid structure in short breaking news story (i.e. answering
W5 in descending order of importance)
Features that give a sense of immediacy and prescience in a breaking
news report: active voice, simple syntax and diction, eye-witness
quotations and photo w/caption
Structure that suits the subject of a feature story (e.g. chronology in a
profile/human interest story; cause/effect in an issues-based feature;
parallel/convergent structure to interconnect two or more stories with
the same theme)
Features that give a sense of depth and context in a feature news
story: background information, flashback, anecdotes, interview data,
research information from both sides of the issue
Respect for the production constraints that influence content
(e.g. word limit, time restrictions, copyright, ideology)
Media conventions for specific effect (e.g. using camera angle and
graphics to convey credibility; using on-site correspondent and hand
held camera to create a sense of embeddedness)
ii. Research reports:
Structure that matches the information reported and expectations of a specific discipline/field of
study (e.g. science, social studies):
Cause/effect and chronology
Classification and compare/contrast
Visual conventions to convey information, meaning(s) and
relationships among ideas such as in a timeline or mind map (e.g. key
words and images, colour, lines, arrows, dimension and spacing)
Features that elucidate/develop the content: paraphrasing, using
examples, description, quotations, definitions
Conventions that establish authority and expertise (e.g. formal register,
technical/disciplinary diction/word choice, passive voice, proper
referencing of sources)
iii. Interviews:
Question and answer (Q & A) structure, including short biographical
introduction, open-ended and relevant questions, and follow-up
Rhetorical strategies to construct a relationship with the subject such
as sharing short anecdotes, contextualizing, eye contact,
paraphrasing, showing knowledge of subject
F. Expository Texts
Expository texts are constructed in deliberate ways and interpret some aspect of the world in a particular way.
Whereas fictional texts may occupy a prominent place in our leisure time, persuasive and argumentative texts
are central not only to leisure activities, as in reading newspapers, but also play an important role in postsecondary
institutions, different professions and in the world of work in general.
F. (1) Exposition: Persuasive Texts
Persuasive texts try to move people to act or behave in a certain way, including selling
or promoting a product or ideology.
1. Required Persuasive Texts
The student reads and produces the following texts:
a. Reading (spoken, written and media):
i. Advertisements, including public service announcements (PSAs), publicity
campaigns, popular slogans, posters, book and film trailers
ii. Reviews (e.g. of books, television programs, films, music)
iii. Texts dealing with personal and social concerns (i.e. Internet sites,
documentary films, speeches)
b. Production (spoken):
i. Speeches (e.g. pitch an ad campaign, book talk)
c. Production (written, media and multimodal):
i. Advertisements, including public service announcements (PSAs), posters,
book trailers
ii. Reviews (i.e. book and film reviews)
iii. Essays dealing with personal and social concerns (e.g. opinion column,
position paper)
2. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Persuasive Texts
The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading
and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
a. Techniques/devices derived from literature:
i. Humour (e.g. bathos, double-entendre, pun, parody, sarcasm)
ii. Figures of speech (e.g. metonymy, euphemism, oxymoron, hyperbole and
iii. Figurative language (e.g. imagery, metaphor, simile, personification)
b. Persuasive language such as connotation, loaded words, modals (should, would,
must), polarizing rhetoric, judging/quantifying/qualifying words
c. Respect for production constraints that influence the content of a
newspaper/magazine/show (e.g. word limit, time restrictions, readership tastes
and expectations, layout)
d. Rhetorical strategies such as anticipating and addressing opposing viewpoints,
repetition, questions, gestures, intonation patterns, eye-contact and fallacies such
as emotional appeals, circular reasoning, begging the question, slippery slope
e. Multigenre conventions (e.g. use of melodrama in a series of TV ads; use of fairy
tale conventions in an opinion column)
f. Multimodal conventions (e.g. sound of grasshoppers to indicate deafening silence
in a speech; manipulated images in an op-ed piece)
g. Genre-specific conventions:
i. Advertisements (including PSAs):
Persuasive techniques such as appeals to basic needs (e.g. ‘fitting in’,
‘luxury and style’, ‘doing good’; emotional appeals such as use of
testimonials and sad music)
Media conventions such as camera language, layout, colour, sound
(jingle, repetition, rhyme, voiceover)
Manipulation of familiar codes and conventions for specific effect
Transformation of ideas/concept from one mode/medium to another
(e.g. creating a spoof PSA based on a current news story)
ii. Reviews:
Introduction that includes: the title and name of producer of the text
being reviewed; an overview of the main topic, genre, critiques and
issues raised
Content which includes: background on author and context;
comparison with other texts in same genre; critique of producer’s
decisions (e.g. particular aspects of the plot, characters, setting,
conflicts, theme(s), and/or various literary techniques)
Organizational structure that supports the reviewer’s opinion/critique
(e.g. compare/contrast, respecting narrative chronology)
Conclusion which contains a positive, negative or ambivalent
Conventions to establish credibility (e.g. informal but expert tone and
diction, 1st person point of view)
iii. Essays:
Thesis/controlling idea (i.e. thesis statement)
Introduction with an engaging lead and an elaboration of topic
Evidence organized as points in a logical sequence (i.e. using a
structure such as classification, cause and effect, compare/contrast,
Use of a variety of strategies to prove/illustrate point (e.g. anecdote,
famous quotations, popular media examples)
Conclusion which convinces reader either to behave (buy, donate, act
– ‘call to action’) or to think a certain way
F. (2) Exposition: Argumentative Texts
Argumentative texts try to convince people of a point of view about a topic or issue
through a logical sequencing of ideas and/or propositions.
1. Required Argumentative Texts
The student reads and produces the following texts:
a. Reading (spoken, written and media):
i. Texts dealing with personal and social concerns, such as political blogs,
editorials, televised panel discussions, critical essays
ii. Essays dealing with issues/topics arising from literature, popular culture and
the media
b. Production (spoken):
i. Debates, formal and informal
c. Production (written, media and multimodal):
i. Texts dealing with personal and social concerns (e.g. editorial, blog,
research thesis)
ii. Essays dealing with issues arising from literature (i.e. literary essay)
2. Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions of Argumentative Texts
The student understands the purpose of the following and uses this knowledge to construct meaning when reading
and producing spoken, written, media, multigenre and multimodal texts:
a. Rhetorical strategies to engage and convince reader (e.g. stating basis of
argument (pros/cons) upfront, anticipating and addressing opposing viewpoints;
using analogies; using historical and/or current events to situate topic;
deductive/inductive reasoning, antithesis; and fallacies such as burden of proof,
false dilemma/black and white thinking, false cause/non sequitur)
b. Conventions to establish credibility and authority such as using a formal,
academic register; 1st or 3rd person point of view; timeless present tense and
passive voice; precise, factual, and/or technical language
c. Conventions which establish relationships between ideas and serve to extend the
argument (e.g. syntactic structures such as parallel structure and syllogism;
transitional words and phrases such as however, subsequently, on the other
hand; correlative conjunctions such as if, … then …, rather … than)
d. Multigenre conventions (e.g. use of personal narrative in an essay; ‘call to action’
conclusion in an editorial)
e. Multimodal conventions (e.g. video clips of recent news events in a panel
discussion; satirical cartoon with an editorial on same topic)
f. Genre-specific conventions:
i. Debates:
Use of a procedure such as Parliamentary procedure
Basic structure: opening statement of the issue and a preview of main
arguments, followed by arguments for a point of view with supporting
evidence, then arguments against this point of view, time for rebuttal,
and concluding with a recommendation in favour of one side
Rhetorical strategies to address and/or distract opponent such as
rephrasing, paraphrasing, and/or redirecting to move debate forward;
maintaining eye-contact; using a rational, unwavering tone; and
fallacies such as red herring, ad hominem argument, guilt by
association/bad company, straw man
Spoken conventions such as intonation patterns, pauses and silences,
gestures, turn-taking, use of a moderator
(Reading only) Media conventions for specific effect (e.g. the use of
close-up to create a sense of immediacy or involvement in a televised
ii. Essays:
Introduction which includes a lead, an elaboration of the topic, a clear
thesis statement and a path statement
Evidence organized as points in a logical sequence (e.g. using a
structure such as classification, cause and effect, compare/contrast,
Conventions to establish a sense of unity and coherence
(i.e. paragraphs structured using a formulaic pattern: topic sentence,
explanation of the example/idea, evidence to support that
example/idea, and reasoning to link back to thesis)
Conclusion which wraps up the argument by: generalizing the
thesis/ideas to the human condition, elevating specific issues to a
universal level, drawing on higher truths, etc.
Proper citation(s) of reference material (e.g. ellipsis points, brackets,
formatting, footnotes, bibliography )
iii. Editorials:
Focus on current issues and events in the news
Introduction which situates issue within a local and/or national context
Stance/role of editor is consistent with the ideology of a given news
Respect for production constraints that influence the editorial content
of a newspaper/magazine/show (e.g. the influence of producer’s
political ideology on content; word limit, time restrictions, copyright)
1. The blue bar signifies that students require the guidance of their teacher to reinvest the knowledge gained by the end of
a certain grade level in progressively more demanding contexts, with increasingly more challenging material, to ensure
that their understanding deepens over time.
2. See SELA, p. 98 for more information about Forum Theatre.
English Language Arts
Conventions of Language
Sounds, words and images are read and produced differently. The following chart specifies the knowledge students are
expected to develop about these codes and conventions throughout their secondary education. As many texts today are
multimodal, students are expected to integrate the knowledge of the affordances of spoken, written and media language to
read and produce multimodal and multigenre texts. However, it is understood that students are not expected to locate or
identify parts of speech in a discrete fashion, such as in an objective test. Rather, it is anticipated that students learn these
codes and conventions in increasingly more complex contexts and in relation to more complex texts.
Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.
Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.
Student reinvests knowledge.1
A. Spoken Language
The student understands and applies conventions of spoken language to express
thoughts, ideas and information for a specific purpose and intended/target audience.
1. Rhetorical strategies
a. Makes effective use of visual aids to support spoken language, such as handouts
or photographs
b. Adapts the rhetorical aspects of spoken language to purpose, intended/target
audience and genre (e.g. uses a register that is appropriate in a formal context;
uses intonation for dramatic effect in a poetry reading; links own ideas to previous
speaker in an informal plenary)
c. Adapts the rethorical aspects of nonverbal language to achieve a particular effect,
such as maintaining eye contact and using gestures for emphasis in a debate
2. Affordances
a. Exploits the possibilities of spoken language as a system in the context of learning
(e.g. constructs or negotiates knowledge by searching for answers, pratices
active listening by paraphrasing)
b. Uses the aesthetic qualities of spoken language to give added meaning and depth
to specific spoken genres (e.g. rythm, repetition, pacing, rhyme, alliteration,
c. Uses knowledge of affordances of spoken language to achieve a specific effect in
different contexts (e.g. exploits rhetorical conventions during a speech)
B. Written Language
The student understands and applies conventions of written language to express
thoughts, ideas and information for a specific purpose and intended/target audience, in
own reading and writing.
1. Organization
a. Uses a structure that fits the genre (e.g. letter format, narrative, play, essay)
b. Employs a variety of paragraphing strategies (e.g. topical, chronological, spatial)
appropriate to genre, intended/target audience and purpose
c. Uses paragraph breaks to indicate an organizational structure
d. Employs a strong beginning/introduction/lead to engage the reader
e. Uses relevant details and elaborates on these to support the main idea
f. Uses an ending that provides a sense of resolution or closure
g. Uses smooth, effective transitions to maintain unity and coherence
2. Syntax and usage
a. Uses the following parts of speech correctly: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs,
pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections
b. Uses different kinds of sentences (e.g. declarative, conditional, exclamatory)
c. Uses a variety of phrases and clauses to add detail and depth (e.g. appositive
phrase, adverbial clause)
d. Uses a variety of sentence structures (simple, compound, complex and
compound-complex) and transitional words or phrases to reinforce relationships
among ideas and to enhance the flow of the writing
e. Demonstrates consistent variation in sentence beginnings, lengths and patterns
(i.e. sentence arrangement)
f. Respects subject/verb agreement, including verb tense, point of view, pronouns,
g. Uses active and passive voice to good effect (e.g. uses a passive voice in a
research report to create a sense of authenticity)
h. Uses syntax to suit the genre (e.g. compound-complex in an argument; compound
in a descriptive narrative)
3. Mechanics
a. Applies capitalization rules, including proper nouns, abbreviations and acronyms,
literary titles and other titles in modern usage such as official titles, song titles, etc.
b. Spelling:
i. Applies spelling rules, including exceptions such as: i before e except after
c; dropping silent e and/or doubling the final consonant before adding a
suffix beginning with a vowel; changing end y to i before adding any suffix
except those beginning with I; and, numbers/statistics/dates, etc.
ii. Applies spelling patterns/generalizations correctly, including exceptions such
as: word families; prefixes and suffixes; regular and irregular plurals;
homonyms and homophones
iii. Uses resources to correct own spelling (e.g. word lists, dictionaries, peers,
spell check)
c. Punctuation:
i. Applies end punctuation rules: period, question mark, exclamation point
ii. Uses apostrophes to punctuate contractions, singular and plural
iii. Applies rules for commas: items in a series, greetings, introductory words,
direct address, compound sentences, phrases and clauses
iv. Uses quotation marks to punctuate dialogue, title short works, cite excerpts
from different sources
v. Uses colons and semicolons correctly
vi. Uses hyphens, dashes, parentheses, ellipses and brackets correctly
vii. Uses punctuation to suit the genre (e.g. parentheses to indicate asides in
plays; brackets and ellipses points for citations in an essay; ellipses points
or asterisks to indicate passage of time in a novel)
d. Uses relevant/required print cues (e.g. underlining or italicizing titles of major
works; all caps or bold to add emphasis; increased font size for headlines or
e. Uses appropriate format to cite sources (e.g. Chicago, APA, MLA, UPI, any other
recognized style manual)
4. Word Choice/Diction
a. Uses words that consistently support style, intended meaning and the
organizational structure of the genre
b. Uses a metalanguage to discuss own texts, own progress as a learner and/or
literary texts
c. Demonstrates an extensive, varied vocabulary (i.e. derived from experiences with
a range of texts and contexts)
d. Uses specific vocabulary and/or terminology and/or discourses from other
disciplines or fields to convey meaning(s) and/or message(s) and/or information
C. Media Language
The student understands and applies the conventions of media language in a specific
context when reading and producing texts.
1. Codes
a. Identifies and analyzes the codes used in a media text to convey the producer’s
intentions (e.g. a popular logo in advertising; music to convey suspense in a
movie; the colour red to signify embarrassment in a graphic novel). See also
SELA, p. 105 and SELA2, p. 62.
b. Identifies and analyzes how the codes of media language can be adapted to different purposes, texts and
i. Depiction of products in advertising (e.g. magazine, television, web)
ii. Adaptation of a genre in different media (e.g. a novel and its adaptation to
iii. Coverage of same action or event by a single medium (e.g. two different
radio stations reporting the same story)
iv. Coverage of same action or event by different media (e.g. a baseball game
that airs on radio and television)
c. Demonstrates how specific codes and conventions combine to:
i. Position an intended/target audience (e.g. prime-time programming is aimed
at delivering the target audience to advertisers; appeals in a PSA position
the reader to consider making a donation to a charity)
ii. Communicate a producer’s stance (e.g. an anti-whaling stance taken by
National Geographic in a documentary on whaling)
iii. Establish relevance (i.e. image/word/sound coexist and/or are juxtaposed to
create meaning/message such as the image of a baby on a cigarette pack
as a reminder that second-hand smoke poisons innocence)
2. Representation
a. Explains how layout cues the reader to the social function of a text (e.g. posters
highlight visual elements rather than print to catch a viewer’s attention; captions
are used in televised news reports to establish credibility, as in providing the
personal credentials of an expert on the topic or issue)
b. Explains how the conventions of sound:
i. Create a sense of tone, mood, emotion, pacing (e.g. quick tempo to create a
sense of urgency in a drama)
ii. Situate viewer/listener in a context (e.g. canned laughter in a comedy, sound
effects in a car chase scene)
iii. Add depth and/or dimension to a text (e.g. voiceover in a narrative sequence
depicting a hazardous voyage by sea in another century)
c. Explains how the conventions of image:
i. Capture and maintain a viewer’s attention (e.g. camera shots and angles)
ii. Create atmosphere (e.g. dark lighting)
iii. Move action forward (e.g. camera movement and transitions, editing)
iv. Establish continuity (e.g. repetitive use of the colour blue in a graphic novel
to characterize a protagonist)
v. Add depth and/or dimension to a text (e.g. camera shot and/or angle that
makes a subject appear powerful or threatening; use of the colour pink to
suggest a cancer survivor in a photo essay)
d. Explains how symbols and signs connote more or less, respectively, than what
they stand for (e.g. the symbol of the Canadian flag; the sign for hazardous
e. (Reading only) Analyzes how specific codes and conventions combine to convey concepts, message(s) and
i. Bias or stereotyping
ii. Promotion of a product, idea or action
iii. Inferences (e.g. a surge of music to underscore the reunion of lovers in a
movie; the downward glance of a villain to suggest secrecy or deceit)
iv. Individuals, groups and cultures (e.g. gendered images in advertising
campaigns; the use of camera shots/angles to create a sense that homeless
people are powerless)
v. Values, beliefs, ideologies (e.g. a close-up of a sleeping baby is associated
with a new beginning; the manipulation of images and events in a political
message reinforces the opinion that an opponent leans too much to the Left)
1. The blue bar signifies that students require the guidance of their teacher to reinvest the knowledge gained by the end of
a certain grade level in progressively more demanding contexts, with increasingly more challenging material, to ensure
that their understanding deepens over time.
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