I’ve written several times here about Sensitivity Analysis questions and how valuable I think they are at helping students develop an ear for complex text.
Yesterday while reviewing lesson plans for The Magician’s Nephew with curriculum writer Emily Badillo, I came across a new example Emily developed that I thought was worth sharing. It comes from a passage on page 89 where a subtle reader might notice that Digory is more worried about Jadis waking his sick mother than, say, destroying London. Here’s how Emily approached it:
Reread Digory’s thoughts from page 89
Original Altered Whatever happened, she must not be allowed to go rampaging about the house. Mother must not see her. And, if possible, she must not be allowed to go rampaging about London either. Whatever happened, she must not be allowed to go rampaging about London. And, if possible, she must not be allowed to go rampaging about the house either. Mother must not see her.
1. In the altered version above, none of the words from the original text have been changed. What has been changed?
2. What might the original reveal about Digory?
3. Challenge: How might the meaning of this excerpt change if Lewis had used the word “roaming” instead of “rampaging”?
The manner in which the question caused students to hear the difference by reading the two sentences in reverse order was so artfully done, I thought. And of course the follow-up, replacing rampaging (a vocabulary word) with roaming was excellent as well. So it turns out there are all sorts of ways to apply sensitivity analysis.