Essay writing skills

An essay is a short piece of writing on a specific subject . Writing essays is one of the most common forms of assessment. Essays can help learners to:

    *understand a topic better
    *develop their creativity
    *develop the ability to express themselves in writing

There are different types of essays:

    *Descriptive essay – the task is to describe something – situation (familiar or unusual), person or a place (for example: ” A day at the zoo”, etc.)
    *Narrative essay – the task is to tell a story of a series of events, often from the point of view of someone (for example: “Raising money for charity”, etc.)
    *Discursive essay – the task is to discuss an issue and to give opinions and feelings (for example: “Avoiding ethnic discrimination in education”, etc.)
    *Personal experience essay – it is close to the descriptive essay. The task is to express personal experience in some event (for example: ” The most exciting day of my life”, etc.)
    *Factual essay – the task is to lay out facts about something (e.g. ” The description of the ozone layer”, etc.)

For many people essay writing is a difficult and terrifying task. Good essay writing requires the learners to:

    *clarify what is required – subject area, word length, assessment criteria, etc.
    *choose the essay topic/question (if it isn’t already given)
    *identify what they want to achieve – to get a mark or grade, to find out more about something, to practise certain skills such as IT, etc.
    *make a work plan

Every essay needs a plan which includes:

    *title containing an actual or implied question or problem
    *introduction
    *paragraphs which present arguments in a logical consequence
    *conclusion (summary, important conclusions, final argument;)
    *references (list of books and articles that have been referred to) and/or bibliography (list of all books and relevant text, including those read, but not referred to in the essay

Discuss with your learners the steps in essay writing. Explain that they should:

    *establish the title or task
    *plan a timeline for collecting, selecting, reading and understanding the required information
    *make an idea map
    *order their ideas into a logical structure
    *write a first draft
    *limit a paragraph to one central idea
    *start with an interesting introduction
    *link paragraphs to “bridge gaps” between one idea and the next
    *come to a good conclusion which is closely related to the title of the essay
    *come back to the first draft after a couple of days and read it again and edit it if necessary
    *ask for feedback from other people
    *write the final version keeping in mind the word limit
    *submit work by the required deadline

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