Posters, advertisements, brochures, webpages. These are just some examples of visual texts we see around us. We are bombarded by visual stimulus every day wherever we are, so much that we do not seem to be intrigued by them anymore. This is also precisely the reason why MOE has decided to test visual text analysis as one component of the Secondary English syllabus. We should be more sensitive to visual stimulus around us so that we can better understand the world around us.
So how then can we do well for visual text analysis?
It’s only 5 marks, you say, why bother? I beg to differ.
It’s precisely because it’s just 5 marks that we should ensure we get it all the more. Let’s not throw away 5 marks, shall we?
How to tackle the visual text analysis?
The first thing to know about visual text analysis is that every visual has an intention. It can be an intention to sell a product/service, an intention to inform/highlight, or an intention to warn/remind. In order to find out what the visual’s intention (or what we call, purpose) is, we have to first put ourselves in the shoes of the producer of the visual. If we were to create that visual image, what would our intention be? Is it to sell the product/service? Is it to inform the audience about something?
The next thing we should know is that every visual text sends a particular message to the audience. The message is what the audience perceive from the visual. This means that we now have to put ourselves in the shoes of the audience and think about what we would get out of the visual text. Do we think that the product has features that other products don’t? Do we now know how to do something step by step according to the visual?
3. Target Audience
The last thing we need to know is the target audience of the visual. Every visual text has a target audience. The target audience will never be everyone or the general public. This is because every producer of the visual would have a specific group of audience he/she wants to target. For example, an advertisement by Toys ‘R Us would appeal more to children who still play with toys and not quite adults.
After all that information above, let’s recap and explain purpose, message and target audience better by using a scenario.
A teacher steps into class one day and told the students that she was frustrated by the tardiness of homework submission by them. She announces that from that day on, she will be giving $1 for every piece of homework the students submit on time.
From the teacher’s (or producer’s) point of view, she wants the students to submit their homework on time.
From the students’ (audience’s) point of view, they get money every time they submit their homework on time.
That specific class, and not every other class the teacher is teaching, since it’s only that class who was tardy in homework submission.
Does this scenario explain purpose, message and target audience clearly enough?
All in all, visual text analysis is definitely not as easy as it sounds or looks. Those 5 marks may seem little, but don’t give in to the temptation of cruising through the visual text component in favour of the other components. Those 5 marks may be just what you need to get your A1!
Check the other articles from this section
- How to tackle the 4 common visual text question types (Part 2)
- Secondary English Paper 2 components: Diagnosing your strengths and weaknesses
- How to tackle the 4 common visual text question types (Part 1)
- Summary Writing: 6 useful Tips to Make Your Point Concise & Save Word Space
- Secondary 2 English: How to identify points in summary
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