Sunday, 5 November 2017

Introduction of an essay

Writing isn't boon from the god, it is more of honing skills associated with writing. Get the technique right, and keep practising: skills do require serious practice  and little prayers. Moreover,  reading and listening is strongly advised as it is closely linked with good writing. Growth of our writing is so subtle that it is very difficult to  pinpoint exactly from which day we have improved our writing. However, you must know that writing is progressive and requires constant practice to keep the momentum going.

Now, let's look at the basic component of introduction of the essay which given below:

Your introduction should include a hook, background information and your thesis statement. You can employ any style of hook depending upon your taste. After the hook make sure that you have the background information where you clearly explain about the topic. Finally, your introduction should wrap up with the thesis statement. These three are the basic requirement to write an introduction.

Keep practising-Good luck!!!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Four Square Writing Method to write a thesis statement

Four Square Writing Method

This is the Four Square writing Method and it was developed by Judith S. Gould  and Evan Jay Gould. Normally it is used for primary kids but we also used it in junior and middle schools. Today, let us learn how to construct a thesis statement using this writing method. As you can see that the topic is placed in the middle square and in each square, you can write your keyword and when you are done with 3 keywords-in the fourth square, you can construct your thesis statement using all the three keywords.  Now, let’s see how it is done. The topic: Importance of doing community service.

I have put all the three keywords in each square and in the fourth square I have framed a sentence using the 3 keywords. Thus, forming my thesis statement. This method can be suitable to write even your introduction and body paragraphs which I practise in primary classes. I suggest you to explore more on this method.

How to write a thesis statement?

Thesis statement is an engine of an essay that moves the information down the paragraphs in very logical order. Any student daring to write without the thesis statement will never have complete control over the content of the essay. In other words, the flow of the essay will be erratic and lack cohesiveness.
The pattern of thesis statement is mostly subjected to the demand and the nature of the essay. However, in our case, we are writing an essay that consist of 5 paragraphs and therefore, we will be designing a thesis statement that has three keywords in it.
Now, let us look at some of the examples of the thesis statement with three key words. The first one is derived from the 3 Golden Rs shared by Current Education Minister of Bhutan.       

2. An ideal student is characterized by three qualities: responsibility, respect and resilience.

3. Responsibility, respect and resilience are the three key factors that define an ideal student.

The above three thesis statements have same keywords but their pattern varies which hardly matters as long as you have three solid keywords. Moreover, if you examine closely,  the three keywords used should be either adjective or noun. 

 The bottom line is-you must ensure uniformity while you use the three keywords.
Now, let’s look at the formula for the thesis statement.

2. Simple Webbing

After webbing, choose three suitable keywords and your thesis statement should possibly look like this: Junk food is health hazardous because it causes obesity, cardiovascular disease and vitamin deficiencies.

In next session if possible, let us learn how to use Four-square method to construct a thesis statement. 

Friday, 20 October 2017

Controlled Writing

Amongst the four strands, writing is the most challenging of all because writing comprises of all aspects of language: syntax, vocabulary, cohesion of the words, spelling and logical arrangement of ideas. According to Shields (2010), “writing is a form of communication to stimulate learning and also a basis to assess the writer. (p.5). Therefore, controlled Writing strategy pertinently comes into play as it helps to design and inject focused inputs from the teacher and at the same time is able to regulate its process and assess comprehensively. Hence, Controlled Writing was chosen by the teacher to build up students’ confidence by starting from controlled and guided activities and move towards less guided and more student centered writing activities. Especially for middle secondary students, they already have a decent language to express and all we need to do is provide them the calculated techniques and directions to hone their existing writing skills. Moreover in terms of teachers’ reaction to utilizing controlled writing, the questionnaire results of Winer’s (1992) study revealed that “student-teachers who conducted their practicum in writing classes noticed that controlled or guided writing was among the most effective strategies in improving ESL learners’ composition.” (p.3).

Controlled Writing bears a formal nature but it has space for creativity for writers principally in field of writing compositions and journals. Besides, control writing is not just about getting the content but is also about getting the procedures and structure. One of the main proponents of controlled writing is Raimes (1983), which states that, unlike free writing, controlled writing takes place when learners are supplied with “a great deal of the content and/or form such as an outline to complete, a paragraph to manipulate, a model to follow, or a passage to continue.” (para.1). Hence, this dismisses the idea of it being too rigid strategy to be used conspicuously in the class.

 Moreover, Sliva (1990) added that “controlled writing assists in both preventing errors that apparently occur from first language interference and reinforcing proper use of second language patterns.” (para.1).Thus, Control writing acts like a blue print which does not allow the writers to deviate from their premeditated outcome. Another notably characteristic of control writing is that it should be rigorously implemented by the teachers in the primary and lower secondary schools so that when the child reaches the higher secondary schools, they consolidate numerous skills for writing. Hence, Controlled writing strategy befits to boost the morale of the learners as writers.

The new strategy-Controlled Writing was implemented in class X A on 13th march, 2017 and ended on 18th March. There were 34 students who underwent through this strategy. Before implementing the activity, pre-test activity was conducted on 10th March.

 During the pre-test, students were instructed casually to write an expository essay on any topic and show it to the teacher. The outcome was discouraging, the students were not aware of inclusion of background information and how to write a thesis statement. Even the body paragraph lacked cohesion because of ambiguous topic sentences. Many conclusions were abrupt.

Considering the outcome, the activity was planned and It took two periods to familiarize the students about the form of an expository essay. In the process, they were taught types of hooks, importance of background information and how to write thesis statement using a formula. Characteristics of an expository essay was also discussed.  How to write body and conclusion of the essay was demonstrated by the teacher. Then after orienting on the structure and components, the teacher even showed them the sample of an expository essay titled My Ideal person. After two classes, worksheet was designed to guide them through their essay writing.

Then on the third day, the learners were handed a worksheet each and asked them to fill in the space on the extreme right after reading the instructions and clues given. First, the teacher instructed them to write the hook and the background information and the thesis statement. After that the teacher corrected their work and provided the feedback. After approving their hook, background information, and thesis statement, the next class was how to write a topic sentence linking with the first keyword used in the thesis statement. For instance, if the thesis statement read: Smoking cigarette can cause a lot of physical, economical, and social damage.  The word, “physical” is the first keyword and based on it, they were asked to frame the topic sentence. Consequently, they also used the other two keywords, “economical” and “social damage” to write two more topic sentences.  After approving the topic sentences, then they wrote body paragraphs where they had to include evidences and examples to support their topic sentences. After correcting the body paragraph, finally wrote the conclusion. Five days of intensive writing coaching was satisfactory.

The design and the use of worksheet was strictly based in line with the principles of controlled Writing. The teacher ensured that the activity had an explicit direction for the learners to fulfill the objectives.  Kalberer (n.d.) says that,“writing task should enable learners to write in English without having the burden of thinking too much about content and text organization.”(para.1) Thus, the following worksheet was born which has clear cut instruction of how to write the essay. Moreover, the instruction found in it, serves as a guide and firmly controls the writers’ information in logical order. As a res ult, the writers’ expression as well as the structure of the essay gets concentrated on given topic. The worksheet is given below for better comprehension of how the teacher has used the strategy.

Direction: Write an expository essay of 200-250 words consisting of three paragraphs. Fill accordingly after reading the instruction and clue.


Feedback by the mentor
Rhetoric question, Quotation, shocking facts, definition

Background Information of the topic
Provide a factual information to explain the concept/idea of your topic to ensure that the reader understand your topic.

Thesis statement consisting of Three keywords.
Use the given formula:
Topic + three factual opinion about the topic (three Keywords to write five paragraph essay)

                                               Body (clue)

Topic sentence
Use the first keyword from the thesis statement to construct your thesis statement

Provide evidences in statistical form or examples to support your opinion (first key word.)

Concluding sentence
Restate your topic sentence and end with an assertive sentence

                                Conclusion (Clue)

First three lines
Restate your thesis statement

Last 4 to 6 lines
Provide either advice/suggestion/warning/reminder to the reader with relationship to the topic.

 As it is shown through the worksheet, it clearly tells the reader “what to write” “where to write” and “how to write.” Thus, controlling as well as guiding them to write a technically correct expository essay.
After implementing the Controlled Writing, the outcome was positive. Through this activity, first, it provided the students to write clearly and succinctly with step-by-step style which made their writing more precise and concise while building toward a concluding argument. They clearly understood where and how to write hooks, background information and thesis statement using the clues and directions. Thus, helping them to understand the instructions which served as a functional knowledge of a topic.
Second, the clear and concise direction provided through this activity helped the learners to utilize the information in an unambiguous, straightforward way. The activity consisted of clear cut instructions of how and where to lay their data , factual based presentation of the information in the essay which further assured the readers that the information is based on experience and is objective.
Third, the learners were able to grasp the form of an expository essay. Basically they knew the components of the essay. This activity limited their errors, be it the mechanical or content aspect. And at the same it also helped the learners to lay their information in very cohesive manner.

Fourth, the feedback received from the learners during the post-test was positive, they said that this activity helped them to focus and organize their thoughts in very logical manner. The learners said that the activity helped them to monitor their writing process. Thus, enhancing their critical thinking towards writing about the given subject.

 Finally, if we look from teachers’ stand point, the most striking impact of the activity was that it helped the teacher to realize the expected outcome of the activity. With this controlled writing activity, the teacher was able to teach and make them how to write hook, background information and thesis statement. Moreover, the learners were able to write topic sentences linking the thesis statement which further strengthen their body paragraphs.  However, follow-up was also easier as this strategy helped the teacher design a worksheet where the teacher could instantly pen down the feedbacks. Therefore, control writing is an apt strategy to help students learn and practice writing.

Note:  It is shared with an intention to help students in their writing. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Let’s talk exam...

For some kids-the intensity is never like before-especially at this hour; kids could be seen hitting the books harder than ever!   They clearly understand that much of what they have learnt will be now measured through the medium called Exams. Thus, this realization leads  them to reckon exam as some kind of strenuous activity and instantly they wear that serious expression till it’s all over.  
 Indeed there nothing wrong with the element of seriousness but the question is-to what extent should we allow our kids to be serious when it comes to exams. And during that phase, how do we come in as a teacher-as parents? How do we help them to navigate smoothly through their exams?

Yes, some of us have enticed our kids by promising that we will buy them a flashy lightening McQueen-but-only under the condition if he gets through with something handsome to show off. In a worst case scenario, some of us might be radically drilling the consequences in their head and intimidating what will happen if things turn out ugly from exams. The pressure is full on-and the target setting contract with the teacher of scoring 60% and above rings into their head.   Very categorically, some of us-we lay down our expectations and remind them to be prepared for the penalties. It is indeed a serious business here!

Amid such events, do we ever consider the factors that determine the degree of their intensity with regard to examination? Do we really think about how far we should be pushing them? Do we really-like, look into their behavior pattern-like-are they able to eat and sleep well? Are they in a right frame of mind to appear for the exams?  In fact how do you ensure sound physical and mental state at the point of time?

We know some kids break down at times, unable to cope-unable to accept the results. At that crucial moment, how do we conduct ourselves so that we signal assurances and comfort?  How do we plan the rebuilding program for the kids specially to mend their psychological status? The point here is straight; we don’t want to be the factor that triggers that humungous fear at such events of their lives nor do we want to give them an impression that they are all alone to prove to the world how good they are. Like it or lump it-exams are stressful-kids do need us! 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Sex Education and Parents

  Just because many of us-we didn’t receive any healthy sex education from our parents do not mean that we should continue that same trend. Sex education has been handled ineptly in our family circle. A sexually developing kid has very feeble idea about sex education until he gets into the school. 

Frankly speaking, many parents have this complacent attitude that the sex education their kids receive from school is more than enough for the kids and consequently tend to shy from enacting their role towards communicating sex education to their kids. 

Despite knowing the fact that sex education is beyond the learning of  human sexual anatomy and its reproductive system, still we fail to propagate the psychological, social and emotional aspect to sex education. Apart from biological sense, Sex education needs to be taught through emotional corridor and that’s where parents can jump in!

How many of us, as parents- have we really thought about when and how to begin sex education to our kids?  As parents, are we not really concerned about our growing child-will it be prudent on our part to leave this role only to our teachers and to some NGOs?  

Yes, when it comes to sex education-it is a very delicate subject which we need to illustrate with greater sense of decency to our kids. An advisory role coupled with active collaboration with other stakeholders relevant to our child can be a turning point for the  kid’s sexual well being. 

Seriously, my friend the time has come-where we need to sit together face to face with our kids-ask whether their monthly periodic cycle has any effect on their daily school activities and talk about what he/she thinks about sexual harassment-probe her about why rape-about regulatory bodies pertaining to sex crimes. We also need to inform about stigmatization that goes in the community with teenage pregnancy, sexual transmitted diseases and Of course tell them that the rapist might be just next door or the person whom she thinks is her world. At least -lets us make them aware of sexual crimes and how to deal with such issues.

 Today our kids have access to multimedia and the probability to get hooked to various vulgar audio-visual elements is very high than ever before.  Despite of imparting media literacy-still we need to be vigilant and ensure that the video games that they play-magazines that they read-the songs that they listen to and the movies that that they watch need to be censored in such a way that they are not offended.   Let’s face it-many things around us has become sensuous-be it a simple TV ad or a MTV song. In the name art-the lyrics-the motion pictures are outrageously explicit in nature-parents need to be careful!  Face booking, we chatting through various social networks need be encouraged and channeled only through proper conversation about its implication and its relationship to their sexual growth.

 However, while doing this- Let us not give them an impression of intrusion, imposition and intimidation-let’s talk rather than lecturing about it to our kids-lets share our own experiences and lessons and relate to their own developing sexuality. 

Despite understanding the urgency and the existence of such scenario-if the parents  feel irked and put a face of denial about this issue-certainly It  would be the most piteous picture ever.

Yes there is nothing wrong when an iconic public figure advocates about it through a popular social media to our kids-yes there is nothing wrong when teachers and health workers do it-so why will it be wrong on the parents to advocate sex education to their own kids-now. 

Bottom line: Our parents may not have-but-we have to-sex education is our kids' rights.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Good Governance in the Classroom setting?

Teaching is an exhibition of one’s true governance; and how you teach and interact especially in classroom setting explicitly reflects your style and quality of governance. Therefore, every individual that bangs into teaching needs to first clearly understand the importance of embracing the idea of Good Governance and need to rigorously beef up-contemplate and ultimately need to realize the entire mechanism of Good Governance.

Today, a teacher that undermines the idea of Good Governance and solely focuses upon delivering his subject across to the learners are more likely to end up either frustrated or disillusioned with some learners. As a teacher, if we put all our money in rigorous pre-planning and post-planning of the lesson anticipating good outcome, then yes-we are either gullible or blissfully ignorant at this juncture, and on wards.

Yes-we know that teaching is not mere transmission of information and skills to the learners today; teaching is an expression-an emotive art-very subtle at times and very explicit on other generally determine by our learners mode of learning as well as by teacher's sheer love of teaching.   Yes, there is no denying that what we teach is important but again deep down we also know that how we teach cannot be equated with what we teach.  This, because the former is driven by end product while the latter focuses upon the procedural aspects of the teaching which ultimately mirrors the elements of Good Governance to our learners.

Hence, we need to clearly understand where we need to seek immediate intervention in our teaching. And this clearly leads us towards understanding of Good Governance within the four walls of our classrooms.

Moreover with ban of corporal punishment; the concept of placing Good Governance in teaching learning process has become a top priority. When we talk about strengthening Good Governance- basically we are talking about strengthening and refining the processes involved in teaching and learning.

 It is indeed a moral duty for the teacher to practise Good Governance in the classroom setting because intriguingly as it may seem, teachers are only the institution of Good Governance if ever looked from the learners’ standpoint. Thus, Teacher and Good Governance is an indispensable characteristic to our learners.

Now the question that ultimately arises is-what is Good Governance in teaching terms? What would Good Governance mean to a teacher and to the learners? As a teacher-have we ever propagated the idea of Good Governance consciously to our learners? Do our learners need to learn and practise Good Governance? What are the common core attributes of Good Governance in teaching sense?

These are some of questions that have always enticed us and led us to a journey with a rock solid awareness that the teacher needs to embody Good Governance and nothing will deters us from realizing it and ultimately advocating it…