In my first article entitled ‘How to teach essay writing, I addressed the opening sections of such a teaching session. In that article, I introduced a topic, stated the general objective or aims and discussed the following specific objectives. Students should be able to: ‘Tell how they benefit from essay writing’ and ‘identify the steps or stages involved in the process of writing an essay. In this second article in the series, I explain what is involved in teaching the various steps of writing an essay, introduced in the first article. Specifically, I outline how to teach step 1 which is the analysis of an essay question or topic.
Step 1: Analyzing your essay question or topic
To encourage students’ participation commence with a large or whole group discussion question: Do you think it is important to analyse your essay question, if ‘NO’, say why? If “YES” say why? (Give students 3 seconds to think!).
- Make a note of students’ suggestions and summarize and tell the students or visually display the summary of their suggestions.
Here are some reasons for a question or topic analysis to share with the students (if necessary).
- Gives you a clear idea of what the question is asking.
- Gives you an idea of what your teacher is looking for
- Gives you a chance to begin to include your own thoughts
How to analyse the question:
- Identify the keywords or concepts of the essay title. These are what you will need to research, that is, what you are expected to write about.
- Identify any built-in assumptions in the essay title.
- Note limitations such as length of essay(1500, words or 500 words or a period of time included in a question such as, ‘Examine keyboard improvisational techniques during the baroque period’)
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