Writing is essential in any teaching process. Conveying thoughts into words might be difficult, but it is one of the most necessary abilities. Longer written forms like essays are especially important, hence they can help the student in defending his opinions. To be able to do that correctly can simplify the life of the students. But how to teach essay writing to your students?
It is a well-known fact that we learn through mimicry. We should utilize this in our teaching process.
1. Start with an example
Before any writing occurs, we need to provide our students with examples of similar works. They will get to know how an essay looks like, and what a range of topics it can cover. Show them works from various fields. Give them time to read, and ask them to write about their feelings connected to the writing.
Discuss their observations. Find out what they like and what they disliked about those works. Pose questions that will enrich their observation: “Why do you think this is a paragraph? What made the writer decide on dividing it in that way?” The answers may vary, but they will lead onto another part of the learning process – the construction.
2. Introduction to construction
The students can already see that the work is divided into paragraphs, and they will find out why. Each writing consists of three parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The provided examples show those three fundamental segments, and the students can label them themselves.
You should show your students the role of each of those segments. Starting with the introduction, and finishing with the conclusion, you can pick examples from your favorite essays, and show the students, why you chose those. If they have a basic understanding of the rules of construction, you can move to the next step.
3. Construction of Introduction
Each essay starts with an introduction, so if you want to teach essay writing effectively, you have to be able to explain the importance of introduction. It needs to grab the attention of the reader, tell them what this work will be about, and what kind of problem it will attempt to solve. This part of the work should invite the potential reader to the next segments – the body, and then, finally, the conclusion.
Introductions usually start with a broad topic, and through the next couple of sentences focus on a certain aspect of that topic. This leads the reader to the thesis statement that each introduction is equipped with. The thesis statement introduces what the essay will be about, and the reasoning behind it.
4. The main part — the Body
After showing what a great introduction can do for the whole work, we can move onto the body. It is the biggest part of any essay, and it has various paragraphs for various reasons. This is the space where the students put all their data in, all their evidence to support their claim made with the thesis statement.
Each of those mentioned paragraphs will have a different function. They start with a topic sentence that sets the mood for the whole segment. Then the student should enforce the topic sentence with evidence, supporting sentences, and data he has gathered. The final sentence of each paragraph should conclude and reinforce the topic sentence. It should also link to the next paragraph.
5. The wrap-up — about Conclusions
After a careful analysis of the previous two parts of the essay, there is space for one more. The whole work is completed by a summary of the presented arguments. The last paragraph of each essay is dedicated to the conclusion.
The students should be able to notice that a good conclusion consists of a repetition of the thesis statement, a summary of the paragraphs from the body. The last sentence of the conclusion is usually devoted to proving that the problem presented in the thesis statement has been solved.
This should be enough for your students to get a firm grasp on the theory before writing an essay. You should be able to provide them with a clear outline of what goes into each segment of the work based on the explanation of each of the components. The students will be able to produce their outlines.
6. The writing process
After helping the students with the structure, you also need to mention the writing process itself. The students might think that they will be able to complete the work in one evening, and as it might be true, the work put in will often result in a bad essay.
Good writing takes time, and showing the students the benefits of a writing plan should illustrate that. Turning the ideas in the heads of the students into essays is a complicated process, but with the help of a writing plan, it takes the anxiety away and helps organize those thoughts.
As the students already know what the components of each essay segment are, they will be able to plan out their process. They can estimate how much time it will take for them to research the topic, brainstorm ideas, and then finally write the essay. After completing the work there is one last stage before they can hand it in.
7. Editing is essential
The first draft is never perfect. The student might think that after writing the essay his work is done, but we need to make him aware that editing is also important. It enables us to refine our thought process, and make it more reader-friendly.
If there are unclear sentences it makes the work much more difficult to understand where the student was going with his thesis statement and argumentation.
As Dr. Seuss has put it “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
After all these steps are completed, the student can submit their completed essay to us. We have shown them the world of essay writing, illustrated the construction, and gave them some tips for finishing their work. Those seven tips should provide you with enough material for even the most difficult students.