Even the most experienced teachers sometimes have difficulties coming up with interesting essay topics that will motivate and stimulate their students to write good essays. So how do you go about finding suitable titles?
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The first place to start is with your group of students. Find out what their interests are. If they can write about topics that interest them, you will find that their essays improve considerably. Of course, they will need guidance, but if they are enthusiastic about a topic, words will flow from their pens, laptops or tablets.
Ask your students to come up with topics that they would like to write about. Set some parameters so that they understand what you require. For example, tell them that the essay will be an argumentative one, or an opinion essay. These are the types that students typically like writing. Explain the conventions for writing each type.
Explain that you are building up a bank of interesting essay topics which you will allocate for homework. The whole class will write the same topic, but every student’s suggestions will be covered.
Discuss the suggested topics with the class and let students vote for their favourites. If there are some topics that students don’t want to write about, perhaps you could ask for further suggestions, or they, together with you, can re-jig the topics so that they are more appealing. Sometimes all that needs to be done is to change the wording of the topic.
Also, before you start to write, brainstorm vocabulary and useful words and phrases that could be included in the essay. For example:
This list is not exhaustive and doubtless you will be able to come up with more useful words and phrases.
The purpose behind an argumentative essay is to persuade the reader to agree with your ideas. That means that writers will need to present their ideas logically and follow a predetermined pattern. It is always important to plan an essay carefully before writing it, then the writing part is easy as there is the plan to follow.
Here is a suggested plan:
State the topic and say why it is important, relevant, controversial and so on, also mention why there is some debate surrounding it. Compare and contrast what people believe regarding the topic. Both sides of the argument surrounding the topic should be given.
Say exactly what your opinion is as regards the topic. Phrases that can be used to do this are, I firmly/strongly believe/(most) sincerely believe/ In my opinion... and so on.
Now it is necessary to back up the argument with facts and to do this it is possible to quote relevant experts and their ideas. Then give further examples to underpin the claims made. These claims should take up 3 or more paragraphs depending on the levels of students. Give evidence to support each claim. It is also important to explain exactly why and how the evidence is relevant to the thesis.
At least two are needed, again, depending on your students’ levels. State the opposite of the thesis statement. Say why people refute the thesis are wrong. Give reasons from the research on the topic.
State the evidence you have in support of your thesis statement and refute the beliefs/opinions and statements of those who oppose it. Review the evidence and the main points of your argument.
It is important to research the topic thoroughly in order to give a balanced and convincing argument in an argumentative essay.
Perhaps an opinion essay is the easiest formal piece of writing. However, students don’t always write these well. That is usually because they are so caught up in their own opinions about the topic that they don’t present them logically, but rather let their opinions run away with them and their writing.
As with an argumentative essay, opinion essays have to be well researched so that the opinion can be backed up with factual evidence. These types of written work are, however very popular with students who want to write interesting essay topics. That’s probably because the opinion essay is, quite naturally, about what students believe and think. Everyone has an opinion about most topics and people love to express their opinions. Because the opinion is personal, students sometimes write informally, so at the outset they should be reminded that an opinion essay should be written in formal language.
Use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph or include them somewhere else in the paragraphs. Not all topic sentences are found at the beginning of paragraphs, although they usually are. A topic sentence gives writers and readers a clear idea of what the paragraph is about.
Certainly, narratives are potentially interesting essay topics, and students generally enjoy writing them. However, within the genre are several types of writing.
Students often believe that a narrative is simply a short story, and it may be. Younger students usually love using their imaginations and embark on their stories with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the short story type of narrative is very difficult to write because students need to have a very good grasp of tenses. If they don’t have this, their story will get low marks. In an examination, students should not attempt a short story unless they are proficient users of English.
This may seem strange, but examination boards, such as the Cambridge Local Examination Syndicate publish detailed analyses of candidates narks with explanations as to why the marks were awarded. The short story is the type that gets consistently lower marks than others, mainly because of the erroneous use of tenses. It would be best to inform students of this fact and suggest they only tackle the short story if they really can’t write one of the other choices. It is interesting to not that the short story is never the compulsory question in an exam writing paper.
There are four main types of narratives:
When writing these students need to analyse a subject, concentrating on the facts. An explanation of these is required, so that the reader can make up his or her mind about the topic without being swayed by the writer’s opinion or their emotions when writing.
When writing an expository essay, it is important to connect the paragraphs with a sentence that shows a logical progression from one paragraph to the next. The paragraphs need to be linked.
Descriptive essays paint pictures with words, so it is important to use various adjectives and adverbs. Also, metaphors and similes can be used. The writer needs to appeal to all the readers’ senses. The writer may choose to write about their feelings which are roused when writing about the person, place or object being described.
In these types of essay, the writer tries to convince the reader of the veracity or falsity of a point of view. These two types of essay are fundamentally different and not to be confused.
These types of essay can generate interesting essay topics and it is worth having a bank of titles which students can work though as their academic year progresses.
These essay writing tips should help students improve their writing. However, some students need help with their writing, and this can be got from this website. It is hoped that, rather than see this as cheating, it will be viewed in a positive light. If a student has a professionally written essay, he or she can study it and try to emulate it the next time he or she is asked to write the same type of essay.
If students have model essays to refer to, these can be very beneficial, and hopefully the student’s own writing skills will improve. Students who don’t feel confident about their writing skills can become more confident when they are not under pressure to write their own essays. However, it should be noted that as there are examinations, and no help is to hand, it is in the students’ best interests to try to improve their writing ability. Why not find out more about the writing services we offer? You may need them, or you may know someone who does. Get in touch with us now and find out more.
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