Their college life is impossible to imagine without paper work, and that is why it is very important for them to know how to write an essay, an assignment, a dissertation, a composition, etc. So, your task as a teacher is to tell them how to write an essay write and be able to express their thoughts clearly. How to do that? What aspects to pay attention to in order your students could become the best essay writers?
Here you are welcome to find some tips concerning the most important essay aspects to tell your students about. Step by step, you will make it much easier for them to understand the principles of essay writing and their importance for their future practice.
It is obvious, that the very first thing your students should think of before writing an essay is its topic. Remember, that an essay is not only about writing skills, but it demonstrates the ability of your students to research as well. So, you task is to teach them to research. That is why try to reject the chosen topics if they are too easy for a student, and you see that it will not take much time to write such a essay.
An essay is not an essay without any research. Explain your students, that it is always better for them to choose a topic they understand well and have an opportunity to make a research on. Good research capability is important for every student to get, that is why do not forget practicing different research tactics with them: tell in details about the methods they can use to find all the information needed, how to use this info wisely, and what are the best ways to distinguish the important facts.
Informative and well-styles essays are impossible to write without a purpose. An essay can not be just a piece of writing about general things everybody knows and understands perfectly. So, teach your students that they should not be in a hurry to write their essays at once they've chosen the topic. Make them decide upon the purpose of an essay.
When a student perfectly understands what he writes an essay for, it will be much easier for him to draw the outline and start writing.
The process of teaching is impossible without examples. For your students to understand what a good piece of writing actually is, just give them some examples of excellent essays. It may be an essay of your former student for example. When they see a sample, your students will have an idea what a good essay should look like.
Use samples to tell students about each element their essays should include. They will perfectly understand what the good introduction is, what an informative body of an essay should look like, and how to make an appropriate conclusion. Moreover, your students will also have an opportunity to see how sentences are built, and what grammar constructions are used in an essay.
The last thing to do before starting to write an essay is to make its outline. Choose some topic and make a list of points your students would need to mention if they wrote an essay on it. Such a technique will give them a better understanding of what and essay is, and how it should be written.
Make sure that all students perfectly understand the fact they should follow an essay outline, because it will be much easier for them to write this piece of paper. Make it clear to them that every point of the outline should start from a new paragraph. Moreover, the smaller these paragraphs are – the more attractive an essay will look for its readers. It is not very comfortable to read very long paragraphs, as it will be more difficult to get the point in such a way. Eventually, it will be easier for students themselves to compose shorter paragraphs of an essay.
Finally, it is time to start writing an essay. And here comes its most important part that is called an introduction. As a rule, students find it very difficult to write this part of their essay, as they do not know how to start a piece of writing in order to attract readers' attention and tell them shortly about what this essay is about.
It is clear, that an essay will not be good without a proper and attractive beginning, so, your task is to explain this moment to your students. Tell them, that no one will continue reading their essays if they do not make it eye-catchy and clear for a potential reader. Moreover, an essay introduction should be intriguing a bit.
Depending on the topic of an essay, students can start it with a story from their personal experience. This is a good way to grab an attention. Discuss this option with your students, listen to their suggestions. Discussions will help them learn the material better.
We have already mentioned the outline of an essay, that will help your students write the body of their essay right. Now it is high time for a conclusion, which is not less important than an introduction by the way. It is a real art to finish your writing in a way your reader would feel good and satisfied with everything he has read.
Tell your students how to conclude their essays appropriately. Explain, that it is not good to abrupt a piece of writing. And do not forget to mention, that a conclusion of their essay should contain a summary if all points they discussed in the body!
To summarize everything mentioned above, we can say that the importance of essay writing skills should not be underestimated. Such skills will help students express their thoughts clearly and write really good and even professional essays and other kinds of paper work during their further study at colleges or universities. Be sure, they will thank you for teaching such a necessary information to them.
This is a guest article by Alex Strike. Alex is a copywriter of Essay-All-Stars.com website and a passionate reader of Stephen King's books.
“Every good story has a beginning, a middle and an end.”
Many of us recall our teachers drilling this writer’s mantra into us and our fellow students.
This is as true for a good essay as it is for a good story.
An essay needs a coherent structure to successfully articulate its arguments, and strong preparation and planning is crucial to providing that structure.
So, how do we go about this?
After all, essay writing can be challenging for the ESL student. Not only does the student writer have to contend with the challenges of ordering their thoughts and constructing their arguments, they have to do this in their second language.
Navigating the rocky bluffs of syntax and idiomatic expressions isn’t easy at the best of times! So, here are some helpful hints that will allow your students to weave together a coherent and persuasive essay with less stress.
The 7 Helpful Habits of ESL Essay Writing
1. Build the essay around a central question
Encourage your students to build all their writing around one central question of the essay.
That central question is the engine of the writing, it should drive everything!
If a word or sentence is not assisting that forward motion toward the explication of that question and its possible answers, then it needs to be reworded, rephrased or just plain cut out and discarded.
Lean writing is merciless. Focusing on that central question throughout the prewriting, writing and rewriting stages helps develop the critical faculties required to discern what to keep and what to throw away.
2. Use the traditional 5-paragraph essay structure
Providing a clear structure for the student to approach essay writing can do much to build their confidence. The 5-paragraph essay, or “hamburger” essay, provides that clear structure for emergent ESL writers.
Generally, this structure employs five separate paragraphs for the entire essay. Each paragraph serves a specific purpose, melding together to form a coherent whole.
Paragraph 1: The introductory paragraph. It makes the thesis statement, orientating the reader to the purpose of the essay.
Paragraphs 2 to 4: The body paragraphs. These make individual points that are further backed up by the various forms of evidence.
Paragraph 5: The conclusion paragraph. This provides a summation of the arguments and a final statement of the thesis.
While they do not need to follow it rigidly forever, this simple structure outlined above can serve as excellent training wheels for your students.
3. Work from a plan
Using the 5-paragraph structure as outlined above makes planning clear cut.
Once they have their theses and are planning their paragraphs, share with the students the ridiculously useful acronym P.E.E. This stands for point, explanation, evidence.
Each body paragraph should make a point, or argument, in favor of the central thesis, followed by an explanation of this point and relevant evidence to back it up.
Extol the necessity for students to constantly refer to their planning. The mind-mapping techniques popularized by Tony Buzan can be useful at the planning stage and make for easy reference points to ensure focus is maintained throughout the essay. Having a visual reference such as this can help ensure that your student-writers see each piece of the whole as well as that elusive “bigger picture,” so it become a case of seeing the forest and the trees!
4. Do the homework
Just as the planning is crucial, so too is the research.
Often ideas or connections do not occur until the writing process has begun. This is a good thing. Essay writing is a creative act, so they can have more ideas along the way and work them in. The key is to always be able to back up these ideas.
Students who have done their homework on their subject will be much more confident and articulate in expressing their arguments.
Even with thorough planning and research, writing oneself into a linguistic cul-de-sac is a common error. Once the plan is completed and the student embarks on the choppy seas of essay writing, it may or may not be plain sailing. Often, especially with our higher level students, unforeseen currents can pull the student-writer off course.
Sometimes just abandoning the sentence helps. Going back to the drawing board and rewriting it is often best.
Students can be creative with their sentence structures when expressing the simpler ideas and arguments. However, when it comes to expressing the more complex concepts, help them learn to use shorter sentences to break down their arguments into smaller, more digestible chunks.
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat
Essay writing falls firmly in the camp of non-fiction. That is a given. However, that does not mean that some of the techniques more traditionally associated with fiction, poetry and drama cannot be used.
One technique that is particularly useful in essay writing is repetition. Just as poetry relies heavily on rhythm, so too does argument. Repetition can provide that sense of rhythm. Written language has its origins in the oral language. Think of the great orators and demagogues and their use of repetition. Speech-writers are well aware of the power of repetition.
The writing principle of the “rule of 3” states that ideas expressed in these terms are more convincing and memorable. This is true of words and the ideas they are expressing.
The very structure of the 5-paragraph essay lends itself to planning for this repetition. Each idea that is explored in a body paragraph should be outlined first in the introductory paragraph. The single body paragraph devoted to the idea will explore it at greater length, supported by evidence. The third rap of the hammer occurs in the summation of the concluding paragraph, driving the point securely and convincingly home.
6. Close the circle
As mentioned at the start of this post, every good essay has a beginning, middle and an end.
Each point made, explained and supported by evidence is a step toward what the writing teacher Roy Peter Clark calls closing the circle of meaning.
In planning for the conclusion of the essay, the students should take the opportunity to reaffirm their position. By making reference to the points outlined in the introduction, driving them home one last time, the student-writer is bringing the essay to a satisfying full circle.
This may be accomplished by employing various strategies: an apt quotation, referring to future consequences or attempting to inspire and mobilize the reader.
Ending with a succinct quotation has the double benefit of lending some authoritative weight to the argument while also allowing the student to select a well-written, distilled expression of their central thesis. This can make for a strong ending, particularly for ESL students.
Often the essay thesis will suggest its own ending. If the essay is structured around a problem, it is frequently appropriate to end the essay by offering solutions to that problem and outlining potential consequences if those solutions are not followed.
In the more polemical type essay, the student may end with a call to arms, a plea for action on the part of the reader.
The strategy chosen by the student will depend largely on what fits the central thesis of their essay best.
7. Edit to the end
For the ESL student, the final edit is very important.
It is one final chance to check form and meaning. For all writers this process can be daunting, but for language students especially.
Often ESL students will use the same words over and over again due to a limited vocabulary, encourage your students to employ a thesaurus in the final drafting before submission. This will freshen up their work, making it more readable. This will also increase their active vocabulary in the long run!
Another useful strategy to use at this stage of the process is to encourage students to read their work aloud before handing it in. This can be good pronunciation practice, and allows for an opportunity to listen for grammatical errors. It also helps the students to hear where punctuation is required in the text, helping the overall rhythm and readability of the writing.
Essays are a great way not only for students to learn how the language works, but also to learn about themselves.
Formulating thoughts and arguments about various subjects is good exercise for not only the students’ linguistic faculties, but also for understanding who they are and how they see the world.
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