The English Classroom


Your Simple Guide To Essay WritingSkyfall Film Study

Skyfall is an exciting spy film that offers a deep discussion about the representation of masculinity and femininity in film. In this blog, I will outline how to teach essay writing to students who are studying the film Skyfall. When introducing students to an essay, it is essential that they understand the structure of the essay.

Explain to students that they will focus on writing the introduction, body paragraphs and conclusions during the lesson. Inform students that you will provide examples for each along with the structure of each type of paragraph.

Provide students with the following document that they can use to plan out and draft their essay. Notice that I have used colours to indicate that the structure of the introduction is different to the body paragraph and conclusion. Furthermore, I have included the acronym for each paragraph and their definition. This purpose of this document is to scaffold student learning so everyone has the opportunity to access the task. A document such as this is tangible and can be filed away in student books or kept by you as the teacher. As students work through their drafting, you are able to offer feedback through student conferencing or peer to peer feedback.

Prior to writing their essay, students should unpack and know how to answer the question. The following questions will be the focal point of this essay outline. The question discuss how filmic conventions are used to represent men and women in Skyfall. There are three main parts to this questions:

  • Discuss – to talk about in detail
  • Filmic conventions – the techniques used in the text
  • represent men and women
  • Skyfall – the text

Unpacking the terminology in the question is a valuable process for students to understand what they need to do. Students are likely to look at this question, on first glance, and be confused as to the expectations. They need to be talk the terminology and what it means in the context of essay writing. Annotate the question on the whiteboard and discuss how this connects with their prior knowledge.

After introducing the question, students need to understand the introduction. The introduction is where they will introduce their argument through a thesis statement and some contextual information that will frame their essay. Outline the structure of the paragraph and the acronym (GROT) that students can recall during test conditions.

Once students have a clear idea about the structure of the introduction, show them an example of your own that effectively answers the question. Below, I have outlined my own example. Show students how each part of this example matches with the structure above. Alternatively, you might like to cut up the paragraph and have students reorganise it into the correct order based on the structure. This will encourage students to consider paragraphing as a formula rather than an ugly piece of writing they must tackle. Here are a few tips on approaching the introduction.

Global Statement: This is a tricky one as a global statement can be incredibly diverse and open-ended. Encourage students to consider what the question is asking and what ideas they have about the topic. For example, this question explores how men and women are represented. Therefore, the global statement should speak broadly about how men and women are represented in film. This might also refer to stereotypes. Consider the example below for more ideas.

Reference: Referencing the name, director and year of release.

Outline: Simply put, an outline of the film or text.

Thesis Statement: This answers the question directly and should recycle some of the word choice in the question. Have students start with Through the use of [filmic convention], [character] is represented as… This will allow students to answer the question, while planning out their essay. Each filmic convention will represent a unique body paragraph.

Once students have grasped the introduction, they are ready to approach the body paragraph. Here they will outline the argument of their response. A bulk of their evidence will be presented along with their analysis.

Topic statement: A statement that speaks broadly about the topic without referring directly to the text.

Thesis statement: A statement that directly answers the question.

Example: Use of filmic conventions to support ideas.

Explanation: Where the analysis occurs. Have students explain their ideas and how the piece of evidence effectively answers the question.

Concluding: Effectively summarises the paragraph and the ideas presented.

Below is an example of a body paragraph. It highlight the filmic conventions, as addressed in the question and how Bond is represented in the film.

The conclusion, at this stage, should be the easiest part of the essay. It is, more or less, a recycled version of the introduction along with elements of the body paragraphs. Students should effectively restate the thesis statement, summarise the key points of the body paragraphs and offer a thoughtful statement that encourage the reader to think about the ideas in the film broadly in society. Check out my example below for an example of what this look like.

The thesis statement below, the first sentence, merely restates the one included in the introduction. Next, I have offered some key ideas from the essay and concluded with a final statement about some of the ‘takeaways’ that we can adopt from the film. I have chosen to focus on the representation of men as being synonymous with the ‘ultimate spy’ though other ideas about the negativity of these representations would also offer in-depth analysis.

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