Using film to teach coherence in writing

This paper discusses my experience of teaching features of academic writing - argument, structure, point of view, voice, use of evidence, attribution and especially coherence - by contrast with comparable elements in film, in workshops examining a documentary as a text. In written arguments, we create verbal links between the parts: conjunctions, topic sentences, transitional sentences, etc. A command of these devices is crucial to good academic writing. In film, transitions may be made without words; moreover, much of the argument, and the point of view, can be carried by the pictures. Since students take in much information via film - the news, or documentaries - they may lack practice in articulating moves in argument. By focussing on the pictures that carried this function in the film, and trying to articulate what they were 'saying', the students became aware of coherence as an element of writing, and interested in ways of creating and evaluating a thread of argument.

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Kate Chanock
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Place of publication; Publisher: 
Portsmouth; Heinemann
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Cinema-(to)-Graphy: Film and Writing in Contemporary Composition Courses (pp. 125-139)
Ellen Bishop
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