Sherpas: Heroes of Everest

article by Cheryl Bullow , photo by Alamy

Learning intentions:

I am learning to analyse how language is used to convey a point of view so that I can create texts conveying my own perspective.


Success criteria:

  • I can analyse subjective language used in a non-fiction text.
  • I can connect word choice to an author’s point of view.
  • I can write a text using subjective language to convey my own perspective.


Essential knowledge:               

  • More information about perspective can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Perspective.


Focus question:

How can authors use different forms of expression to share their perspective?


Before introducing the text to the students, draw a T-Chart on the board, with the left column titled YES and the right column titled NO. Explain that you will be putting adjectives (describing words) into the columns depending on a mystery rule. Write the words “brilliant”, “disgusting” and “interesting” in the YES column. Invite students to suggest adjectives that might also go into the YES column to see if they can guess the mystery rule. (Mystery rule = subjective language.) If students say objective words like “small”, “blue,” “fragile”, write them in the NO column. If they say words such as “clever”, “brave”, “beautiful”, put them in the YES column. For a hint, ask them to think about what kinds of words should go into a news article. Guide students towards the fact the words in the YES column are opinion words.


If you have a digital subscription, complete the activity An Author’s Point of View.


Read Sherpas: Heroes of Everest as a class and ask students what they think of Sherpas. Students might label them as brave, resilient, enterprising and strong. Invite students to use evidence from the text to back up their answers. For example, Sherpas continually going up the mountain to help tourists is evidence of their resilience, while the fact they have created a business from it suggests they are enterprising.


Ask students what they think the author’s point of view is, and to find evidence in the text. For this task, return students’ attention to the words on the board from the game at the beginning of the lesson. Instruct them to find subjective language in the article (and the title). Answers: heroes (Sherpas) majestic (Everest), hostile (Everest), desperate (tourist climbers), respectful(ly) (Kami), glory-seeking (mountaineers), hard-working (Sherpas), unsung heroes (Sherpas).


Once students have collated the subjective language used in the article, ask them to identify the author’s point of view. Students should recognise that the author intended to convey the mountain as beautiful but dangerous, the tourist climbers as less capable and the Sherpas as heroes.


Explain that the facts an author chooses to include in an article is also relevant to conveying a point of view. Ask students to find facts that reaffirm the author’s perspective. Answers include the scientific study of Sherpas’ blood, the climber’s comment that Sherpas were superheroes (and how the Sherpa easily beat her down the mountain), the risks involved, the determination of Sherpas to protect their clients and the mention of the death zone.


Explicitly model for students how to draft an article about a profession using subjective language to convey their perspective. Examples of professions can be firefighters, police officers, doctors, teachers, gardeners, dogwalkers – anything they have a point of view about. First, have them answer the following questions:

1) What profession are you reporting on?

2) How do you feel about this profession?

3) What subjective language can you use to describe this profession and convey your point of view?

4) What facts can you use to back up your point of view?

Allow time for independent construction including time to research events, statistics, individual stories and quotes to reaffirm their point of view.

Students can use Fodey’s Newspaper Clipping Generator to publish their article.