When it comes to analysing texts for HSC English there seems to be so many things to think about.
- What quotes will you use?
- Where will you find them?
- What techniques will you look for?
- How should you analyse them?
When you’re tying to get yourself into gear to plan or write an essay, all these little questions can pile up into one big ball of confusion. That’s why we have TEE Tables!
Standing for Technique, Example, Effect, these TEE Tables are your best friend when it comes to analysing any text and getting your info ready for essay-writing.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s learn how to use them!
Why is TEE Important?
Before we can start using TEE Tables, it’s important to know what they are, why they’re important and how they work. This not only makes it easier to use them, it also makes sure you know why you’re using them, which will help you get the most out of them.
TEE Tables are based on the middle 3 letters of the STEEL acronym, standing for Technique, Example and Effect. These are essentially the ‘filling’ of your essay body paragraphs, including the evidence that proves your point (your examples and techniques) as well as the points themselves (your analysis).
By creating a TEE Table you pretty much break this section down into an easily filled out set of columns that will build up to a super extensive collection of evidence for your essays.
TEE Tables are mainly useful for preparing for essay writing, as they allow you to get all your info, evidence and analysis down simply in one place. Plus they make it way easier to figure out which quotes or examples are the strongest, or best suited to your essay.
That said, they’re also useful for once you’ve finished preparing your essay, as studying off TEE Tables makes it super easy to remember just your key points and quotes (rather than memorising an entire essay!).
There are also variations of the TEE Table that may go by different names, but are pretty much the same thing. The TEA Table is most common (Technique, Example, Analysis), while the VEE (Visual technique, Example, Effect) and FEE (Film technique, Example, Effect) Tables also pop up for more specific tasks. Some people even use TTEE Tables, adding a ‘Theme’ column at the very start. Though these variations can be useful, we’ll just be sticking with the original TEE Table for today – but feel free to try out the others if you think they’ll work for you!
Overall TEE Tables are just super useful tools for HSC English, whether you’re starting to analyse a text, or trying to cram quotes the night before your exam!
Step 1: Technique + Example
So what first? Well, you’ll want to start by downloading our TEE Table Template, or you can make your own!
Once you’re ready to start writing you need to focus on the first two columns. Our effect/analysis will come later based on our area of study, topic or question – what we really need to start with is our examples and techniques.
Generally most people start by finding a strong quote or one that works for their topic and work backwards to find the techniques within it.
And the best way to show this process is by using an example!
In this case let’s look George Orwell’s 1984 as an example. We know that we want a quote with some strong language features, which can also be linked back to the idea of conflicting perspectives.
Now that we know the quote we want to use, we need to fill it into our Example column and pick out a technique or two for our Technique column. This is usually pretty simple, as most common techniques (similes, personification, etc.) are fairly easy to spot.
Imagery is a technique where words are used to create an idea or mental image of something, most often found in descriptions or created through descriptive language.
In this quote, the noise is being described by using an image of someone with “teeth on edge and [that] bristled the hair at the back of one’s neck.”
Having now picked out an example and found the technique within it, we’ve filled out the first two columns of the table! It really is that quick and simple – all that’s left for the table is our effect/analysis column.
Step 2: Effect (Analysis)
Okay, this section is a little more than picking quotes, so pay attention!
The purpose of your effect/analysis column is to very briefly and simply get down what point or idea you’re proving with the technique and example you’ve already listed. Maybe they give insight to the overall topic you’re studying, or perhaps they’re a bit more niche and highlight an idea that would suit a devil’s advocate answer?
In some cases you’ll already know what question or thesis you’re arguing for an essay – this makes your analysis column a little easier, because you know how you need to be analysing. If your question focuses on the theme or betrayal, you already know that each of your ‘Effect’ boxes in the table need to link back to the idea of betrayal.
At the same time, even when you don’t have one set question you want your effect column to be cohesive. You can ensure this by making sure each of your ‘effects’ link back to the area of study or module you’re currently working on!
Regardless of your point or idea you’re analysing, you need to fill in this last column with a simplified explanation of how you’re going to do that. It’s easiest to show you what this should look like by using our example from before.
Here it’s pretty obvious what point we’d end up making – that the propaganda of The Party has become so internalised that there is an actual physical reaction to Goldstein’s speech.
While the effect/analysis column is definitely the most important, it’s not really that much harder to fill in than the other two, proving just how easy these tables are to use! Just rinse and repeat a few times and you’ll have a fully furnished TEE Table in no time.
Here’s an example of our TEE Table that’s been fully fleshed out!
If you’re wondering how many examples (and techniques and effects) you’ll need, we recommend at least 6 examples with identified techniques and analysis per text, but of course you can use more if you’d like!
Speaking of essays, let’s get to our next step – actually turning this into one!
Step 3: Essay Writing
The only thing left to do is turn this table into an essay!
Okay, so I know that sounds a bit far-fetched, but it’s actually super easy. As we said earlier, the TEE Table is based on the middle letters of the STEEL essay paragraph structure.
You know what that means? You’ve already got three elements of your essay paragraph ready to go!
Obviously you’re going to need a few techniques, examples and effects per paragraph, which you can integrate and condense to create one cohesive paragraph. In most cases 3 TEE rows should be enough to fill out a paragraph, but you can always go for more! Five is usually seen as about the limit (which we got to in our example) but it’s all about how you use your examples.
The best way to integrate a whole lot of examples is to follow a linear progression, showing how one example introduces a point, then the following example proves it. Put a statement at the beginning explaining your overall point or theme, and a sentence at the end that links everything back to the question, and you’re just about done!
It’s that easy!
Are TEE Tables the best thing since sliced bread? (We certainly think so!).
By using these tables you’ll find it so much easier to not only get into the analysis of your texts, but also to construct your essays when the time comes! Simply print out a whole bunch and use them whenever you need to get your analysis on!
Plus, you can use the completed tables for quick refreshers and cram studying of your quotes and key points for essays. When it comes to TEE Tables, what’s not to love?
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Maddison Leach completed her HSC in 2014, achieving an ATAR of 98.00 and Band 6 in all her subjects. Having tutored privately for two years before joining Art of Smart, she enjoys helping students through the academic and other aspects of school life, even though it sometimes makes her feel old. Maddison has had a passion for writing since her early teens, having had several short stories published before joining the world of blogging.