Always FLIRT while PEELing PEECHes

This year I need a narrowly focused research and study plan. Reading widely in fiction and theory while studying Foundations Units was a highly effective strategy; to achieve my personal, academic and creative goals I now want to adopt a narrow focus with more structured research.  Managing multiple units, demonstrating research and analysis skills and the volume of work this term requires specific study, research and writing methods; organizing productive strategies to address these points begs some attention.

Some things catch my attention like having a research and study method that reinforces my long-term goals on a daily basis. Two issues inform the problem; how to approach literary analysis and research in my study sessions and how to write effective timed essays. Frank Kermode outlines a great six step plan for conducting literary analysis:  discuss language and form, identify the nature of the text, define subject and object, note emphasis on words, move from observation to comment and then consider the attitude of the speaker with possible interpretations. I really enjoy Kermode’s work and have this sequence displayed on my desk. Still it can be hard to remember the steps; it is like trying to dance while watching your feet. While chatting with a colleague and reading the ‘Student Study Guide’ I discovered three acronyms which help to produce focused and comprehensive analysis and keep the requirements of academic writing handy.  They help make Kermode’s six elegant points easy to implement and remember.

Remembering all the details we must incorporate to produce outstanding essays can be a challenge especially as the clock ticks in the exam room.  This term I want to engage with them daily; my colleague’s handy acronyms FLIRT and PEEL are very helpful. FLIRT reminds me how to approach a text: Form, Language, Imagery, Rhyme/Rhythm/Rhetoric, Theme/Typography/Tone.  This method allows me to quickly analyze text. Now I must incorporate the points into an academic essay. PEEL, helps to organize meaningful paragraphs: Point, Evidence, Expand, Link.  For me FLIRT and PEEL are very easy to recall and help to focus my study sessions.

Remembering FLIRT and PEEL in my daily study sessions focuses my attention on relevant aspects of language and writing throughout the term. Effective expression in academic essays, especially timed essays, requires another little helper; I made the acronym PEECH from advice on page 55 of the ‘Student Handbook.’  Many thanks to our Progamme Director for outlining this so clearly; PEECH shows a great way to organize an essay plan. PEECH stands for Problem identified in the question, Established Views, Evidence in the text, Crucial terms, and Historical context.  Mastering an effective process in this somewhat silly way is important; my study and writing process is all I have in the exam room.

An effective process helps me to implement specific points necessary for academic, personal and creative success. My reading, writing and recall skills have improved; I read and write faster, have better organization, and include more details in my arguments. And I can always remember to Flirt while Peeling Peeches.

4 thoughts on “Always FLIRT while PEELing PEECHes

  1. I enjoyed reading this. My approach up until now (that worked up to a point, but then let me down), has been to allow my emotions and enthusiasm to “flow” – perhaps satisfying in that I produced volume in free association mode, but probably a bit irritating to the examiner. I had already realized that a different approach was definitely called for. I have realized that in exams, method probably trumps “creation and inspiration”. Be to the point – and realize someone has to wade through what you’ve flowingly produced – and irritation is a factor. So thanks for this sage advice…..I had better try and control myself this year…..or curtains for me….


  2. Hi John, I am so glad you enjoyed the post. At one time my exam approach was choosing the most challenging or interesting question, not necessarily the one I could best answer. Exams taught me a great deal about approaching study. Best of luck with your program!


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