Toomer and Counts

Study the following stimulus texts and listen to the student's individual oral. Apply the assessment criteria and discuss the marks that you would award the recording before reading the examiner's marks and comments. How different were your marks and comments from the examiner's marks and comments? What improvements could be made to this student's oral, in order to achieve better results?

To those fixed on white,
White is white,
To those fixed on black,
It is the same,
And red is red,
Yellow, yellow-
Surely there are such sights
In the many colored world,
Or in the mind.
The strange thing is that
These people never see themselves
Or you, or me.

Are they not in their minds?
Are we not in the world?
This is a curious blindness
For those that are color blind.
What queer beliefs
That men who believe in sights
Disbelieve in seers.

O people, if you but used
Your other eyes
You would see beings.

Global issue: How race affects identity, community and culture

  • Thesis statement: Both the poem “People” and the photograph of Hazel Bryan shouting at Elizabeth Eckford present challenging perspectives of inequality and resistance to changes in racial prejudice.

  • Poem: Perspective (3rd and 2nd person)

  • Poem: Structure (irregular, unrhyming -> unusual for the time period, more of a challenge and call to action)

  • Poem: The color motif

  • Poem: Use of repetition

  • Poem: The use of questions to challenge the reader

  • Photo:visual narrative: black and white image/depth of image

  • Photo:mise en scene and composition

  • Photo:Subjects: women but also men: just hats -> decisions behind the actions of the women

  • Photo:Facial expressions: contrast and indirect gaze


Criterion A: Knowledge, understanding and interpretation – 6 out of 10

This oral is problematic because there is almost no reference to the work or the body of work (BOW) from which the poem and photograph were taken. The student knows the context of the photograph and has some biographical knowledge on Jean Toomer, but relevance of this knowledge to the global issue is very superficial. The problem with this oral is that the global issue is so broad and general. Identity, culture and community are excellent concepts and fields of inquiry, but not specific enough to ensure a focused oral.

Criterion B: Analysis and evaluation – 6 out of 10

This oral analyses the extracts but it does not evaluate them. For example the student points to the hats that the men are wearing in the photograph, but fails to explain their relevance to the issue.

Criterion C: Coherence, balance, focus and organisation - 6 out of 10

Although the student speaks convincingly and coherently, it is difficult to know where he is going in this oral. This lack of direction could have been prevented with a stronger introduction that explains what will be explored in what order. A more focused global issue, which is returned to more frequently, also would have ensured for better organisation.

Criterion D: Language - 7 out of 10

The student's use of language is good. He uses language to transition from idea to idea very fluently. Furthermore he uses the language of analysis. In relation to the photograph he uses terms such as the 'rule of thirds' and 'mise en scene'.

Last modified: Friday, 6 March 2020, 10:25 AM