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1
Q

Intro ‘Across Victoria…’

A

Across Victoria there exist various independent schools that offer a private education, many of them focused on individuality and exclusivity. The benefits of these schools are touted in two articles in a May 2014 supplement to The Age newspaper dedicated to promoting a private school education – the first, focusing on Strathcona Baptist Girls’ Grammar School and the second on Lauriston Girls’ School. Both articles attempt to foster a positive view of independent schools in their readers, but approach this in slightly differing ways. The author, Beverley Johnanson, uses a formal, academic tone to show the teaching methods, students and philosophies of independent schools in a positive light, focusing on historical credibility in the first article and innovation in the second. The wholesome development offered by these schools is also emphasised in an attempt to differentiate them from their government equivalents, as Johanson subtly contends that learning alone cannot be enough for students. The articles are both accompanied by images that showcase the students and facilities of independent schools, attempting to further attract readers to a private school education.

2
Q

Para 1 - strathcona cred

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Johanson’s portrayal of the teachers and teaching methods of independent schools as credible is essential in the positioning of these schools as attractive in the reader’s mind. The authority and trustworthiness of Strathcona’s teachers are established through extensive detailing of their credentials – the listing of “teacher, speech pathologist and authority in gifted education” seeks to impress readers and secure their admiration for the teacher in question. Johanson’s use of ‘Dr’ as the immediate defining characteristic of the leader of the Advanced Learning Centre serves a similar purpose, as the use of this distinguished title that connotes superior knowledge is likely to cement the authority of Strathcona’s teachers for readers.

3
Q

Para 1 - lauriston cred

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The Lauriston article similarly seeks to establish the credibility of the school’s teaching methods, but pursues this through the referencing of a well-known educational institution (Stanford University). Readers familiar with the university are likely to view Lauriston as a respectable school due to its collaboration with an institution that is world-renowned.

4
Q

Para 1 - both cred

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The formal tone maintained throughout both articles further ensures that readers view the teachers of independent schools as authorities, as Johanson respectfully refers to principals of both schools as “Ms Hughes” and “Ms Just”, mimicking what students of their schools are likely to call them. This is aimed at fostering a sense of trust for parents and associate teacher titles with trustworthiness and credibility. It also simultaneously places student readers in the context of these schools, encouraging them to already mentally refer to these principals in the same way in which they would refer to their own teachers, facilitating consideration of attending Lauriston or Strathcona. Clearly, while both articles use similar methods to build the credibility and authority of independent schools’ teachers, the first emphasises qualifications and the second association.

5
Q

Para 2 - strathcona history

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Johanson further showcases the benefits of a private school education by positioning readers to view history and facilities as integral to the learning opportunities that schools can offer. Constant reference to Strathcona’s history serves to create an image of the school as built upon a solid foundation and with a wealth of experience behind it, simultaneously capitalising on the attractiveness of a historic past to create desirability. The use of jargon such as “stucco” and “Queen Anne-style” is aimed at rousing appreciation from well-off readers, who are more likely to be familiar with such terms. The use of this wealth-connoted language (further evident in the casual reference to “the ballroom” of the campus) impresses upon other readers that Strathcona is a school of the upper social classes, linking attendance of the school to upward social mobility, thereby glamorizing the institution.

6
Q

Para 2 - lauriston innovation

A

The Lauriston article, however, places more emphasis on technological innovation as an essential transformation of learning. This is evident in the use of the authoritative opinion of Stanford professor Blickstein, about the Lauriston’s unique ability to “transform learning.” The juxtaposition of the detailed list of innovative technologies (“3D printer”, “laser cutter”, “3D mill”) with a disparaging mention of comparatively primitive “desks, chairs and a blackboard” seeks to portray other schools as being behind the times. Student readers familiar with these innovative technologies are likely to be impressed and envious of those who have access to them, and therefore have some desire to attend Lauriston. Parents, even if unfamiliar with the exact details, naturally want the best for their children, and the insinuation that their child will fall behind in something “all people” will be able to use galvanizes their support for a private school advantage. Both articles therefore extol the importance and exclusivity of the physical features of the two schools, both modern and historical, in order to foster a view of Strathcona and Lauriston as superior institutions.

7
Q

Para 3 - education (articles)

A

The advantage of independent schools is also asserted through Johanson’s insistence that education should centre on personal development across a wide range of fields rather than simply classic classroom learning. Strathcona is shown as a leader of personal development in the establishment of its Year 9 campus, with the mention of “other schools” following suit serving to demonstrate that Strathcona is at the forefront of education. The Lauriston piece similarly focuses on wider educational goals, devoting much of its time to detailing the ways in which the FabLab “fosters creativity” and “encourages innovation” – the linking of the activities undertaken by Lauriston students to these broad, practical skills serves to suggest that independent schools are aware of the importance of real-world skills outside academic achievement.

8
Q

Para 3 - education (strath image)

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The portrayal of the in the accompanying images serves as an illustration of the wholesome culture engendered by Strathcona and Lauriston. Both images show smiling girls looking directly at the viewer – this reflects the first article’s promise of “self-esteem”, as the direct eye contact and wide smiles suggest that the students are confident. The Strathcona image also demonstrates the “love of learning” cultivated at the school, as students in the background are shown to be actively doing their work and being deeply engaged in learning, and the focus on individualism pursued by the school is made clear through the image’s close centring on just two students.

9
Q

Para 3 - education (lauri image)

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The image of Lauriston students is similar in this regard, but places more emphasis on modernity and creativity. Unlike in the Strathcona image, the students are standing, not sitting, drawing directly on the table – this suggests a freedom from traditional constraints. Creativity and innovation are further suggested by the lack of classic school items such as pencil cases or notebooks, while the modernity of Lauriston is emphasised by the prominent projection in the background and the ease with which the girls are shown to be collaborating. The images included in both articles clearly reflect the ideology of overall development that Johanson promotes in her writing, showcasing independent schools as being best equipped to offer this development.

10
Q

Conclusionn

A

Johanson’s two articles and the images accompanying them exalt the benefits of independent schools, contending that these schools are best equipped to offer a rounded education. Both school-age and parent readers are encouraged to view the teachers and facilities of independent schools as synonymous with authority, progress and credibility, as Johanson positions a private school education as highly desirable. This education is made not only to seem attractive but essential, with its focus on personal development shown to be the ultimate and most worthy focus of schooling. Readers are therefore positioned to view a private school education as an indispensable condition for the progress and growth of students.