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Friday, 11 December 2009

Lesson 2 (Stages of writing a Discursive Essay)

Stage one
Underline the key words in the question.  You can also try to rephrase the question to understand what is expected of you in the essay.

Stage two
Brainstorm all your ideas onto a mind map or a list.  Do not reflect on what you have written, just quickly note down everything that comes to your mind in note form.  Spend only one minute on this stage.

Stage three
Circle the main points from your mind map or list.  These should be the most relevant ideas that can be incorporated into your essay.  You may need to group some of the points together if they are very closely linked.  Select a maximum of three to four main ideas to focus on.

Stage four
Think of evidence and or examples to support each of the mains ideas you have selected.

Stage five
Organise the main ideas into a logical order and follow this order in your essay.  This can be done by writing a number next to each idea to show the order in which you will write them in the essay. 

NB: Stages one to five should take no longer than 5 minutes.

Stage six
Write the introduction of your essay.  It should function like a map in that it outlines the areas (the main ideas selected in stage 3) that will be discussed in the body of the essay.

Stage Seven
Each main idea should be written in a separate paragraph.  Using the first main idea write the topic sentence (introduction) for the first paragraph of the essay.  This sentence should introduce the paragraph and tell the reader what the paragraph is about.  Add Supporting sentences which should contain the evidence/example to help develop and support the main idea.  You may also choose to add your opinion about the main idea at the end of this paragraph, or you may choose to leave your opinion about all the main ideas until the final concluding paragraph.  Your opinion should be balanced by looking at both sides (positive/negative, for/against).  However, if you are more inclined towards one opinion than another then this should be clearly shown with the amount supporting evidence/ examples you present for the opinion you hold. 

NB: Repeat stage seven for all the remaining main ideas selected in stage three.

Stage Eight
Sum up what you have written in the main body of your essay.  Do not add any new points.  Make sure your conclusion gives your opinion on all the main ideas and link them back to the introduction of the essay.  Remember not to contradict yourself, if you have more evidence/examples for one opinion over another them make sure your conclusion reflects this. 

Stage nine

Check your essay for mistakes with grammar, vocabulary, spelling and punctuation.

Stage nine should take 5 minutes.