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Texts in the City (Talks for VCE)

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
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Free VCE English and Literature Sessions

I was somewhere recently and I am not going to say where or parents will be gunning for this teacher. But enough to say that it was 8pm and the man said "I have to race home and watch On the Waterfront. I have to teach it tomorrow to my VCE class. And I have to prepare thoroughly because they are such high achievers."

I'm a teacher myself, so I am not into bagging teachers, but as a parent all I could think was, I am glad this guy is not teaching my son or I'd be worried about his chances in the exam. He seemed to be doing things so last minute for his "high achieving" students.

To be fair, maybe he was thrown into the job and didn't get the summer to prepare. Maybe he could cram and know all there was to know about the film and its context, background and the issues it raises and inspire his students the following day.

Maybe, just maybe?

But I guess it just points out that students (and their ever vigilant and resourceful parents) should never totally rely on one source for all their VCE information. Especially in subjects such as English and Literature, where there are a myriad of ways of gaining insights into the texts and films rather than relying just on one person's input.

Some of these sources are expensive, such as school holiday courses and private tutors. So I think it is just fantastic and wonderfully democratic that the Wheeler Centre are running a series of free sessions where experts get together to chat about the various VCE texts and films.

The idea is to give students some different perspectives which might just spark a few new insights for their exams. Or as the Wheeler Centre puts it, we "will interview experts intimately familiar with the texts, unearthing those hidden gems that could help your essay shine."

The panels are always interesting because the panelists have some relation to the text in a special way. For example, the one on Cosí last year, the guest was Barry Otto who acted as Roy in the first production. While the one on On the Waterfront was done by Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton (from ABC's At the Movies).

The host of the series are – authors Lili Wilkinson and Tony Birch who both have a keen interest in literature for young people.

There is a student friendly time of 4.30pm to 5.15pm for all the sessions. Not that you have to be a student to come along. Parents, teachers and other interested parties are welcome to attend. Many students also get a lot of ideas from the question time, when they hear other people's take on the topic.

For those who prefer to do absolutely everything via a computer, these sessions are filmed and then downloaded onto the Wheeler Centre's website. So you can't miss out even if you decide to sit at home.

The following books and films will be covered.

Texts in the City

12 Mar
Gwen Harwood: Selected Poems

19 Mar

26 Mar
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

16 Apr
Things We Didn't See Coming

23 Apr
One Night the Moon

30 Apr
The Old Man Who Read Love Stories

07 May
Twelve Angry Men

14 May
Jane Eyre

21 May
Dear America

28 May
Wuthering Heights

04 Jun
Interpreter of Maladies

11 Jun
Tirra Lirra by the River

18 Jun
The Player

25 Jun
The Reluctant Fundamentalist

These talks have been running since 2011 so there is a backlog of videos on previous talks which might be relevant to your studies this year. These includes talks on Paradise Road, Two Brothers, Moral Disorder, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Rugmaker of Mazar-e-Sharif, A Christmas Carol, The Quiet American, Year of Wonders, Cosí, Interpreter of Maladies, Ransom, The Crucible, The Secret River, Twelve Angry Men, On the Waterfront and many others.

To see all videos for Texts in the City click here.

While you are there I am going to recommend going to The Moat which is a really cool literary cafe just under the Wheeler Centre.
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Why? Because it pays to get as much help as you can with VCE
When: Tuesdays, various dates - 4.30 to 5.15
Phone: (03) 9094 7800
Where: 176 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: Free
Your Comment
SO great to know about these - thank you
by Lucy Graham (score: 2|283) 3166 days ago
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