Pages

Friday, October 26, 2012

How To Write Better (Essay)

 part of my final year law & syariah students at USIM
discussing their topic during a workshop (March 2011)

Touching simple words that reflect deep meaning











Sharing a small part of my module for a  presentation on how to write better academic essay, hope it helps...
Academic essay is written with the aim to respond to a question in order to inform/ explain/persuade etc readers of an idea based on fact/evidences/views. The types of essay can be factual. persuasive, argumentative, discussion or reflective and the format can be for speech, article or even reports.

An essay is a group of paragraphs that develops one central idea.The 3 parts of an essay are: 1). Introductory paragraph  2). The body paragraphs   3). The conclusion.
The introductory paragraph should introduce the topic, indicate generally how the topic is going to be developed, should be invitingand contains a thesis statement (with a topic and central ideas) A thesis statement is the main idea of the whole essay which actually helps us to focus on our essay.
Each of the body paragraphs introduce a topic in a sentence (topic sentence). The topic sentence also states an idea or an attitude about the topic (controlling idea). Then we need to write down some supporting details to support the main idea, elaboration to further describe, explain or discuss and construct a concluding sentence. (optional)
As for the conclusion, we can just restate the main points, restate the thesis, giving advice, suggestions, make an ending with a proverbor even stating our hopes/wishes

This academic essay framework which is shared below can be applied for  SPM English Paper 1, Question 2 of MUET Writing 800/4 or any English Language examination that test your writing skills.

FRAMEWORK FOR ACADEMIC ESSAY/  MUET WRITING 800/4

Introduction:

-
-
-
Thesis statement: 
Ø  Topic:…………………………………………………….
Ø  central idea:
a)       …………………………………..
b)       …………………………………..
c)       …………………………………..
1st body paragraph

Topic sentence:  ~ Topic:……………………………………………………….
                ~ Controlling idea:…………………………………………………

Supporting details:
-
-
Elaboration:
-
Concluding sentence:
-
2nd  body paragraph

Topic sentence:  ~ Topic:……………………………………………………….
                ~ Controlling idea:…………………………………………………

Supporting details:
-
-
Elaboration:
-
Concluding sentence:
-
3rd body paragraph

Topic sentence:  ~ Topic:……………………………………………………….
                ~ Controlling idea:…………………………………………………

Supporting details:
-
-
Elaboration:
-
Concluding sentence:
-
Conclusion:

-
-





©Nur Sakinah Thomas/UPM

Here is a sample to guide you in understanding the content of the framework.
RECOGNIZING A PERSUASIVE ESSAY
How to Communicate Effectively
Identify the thesis statement (with the central idea), topic sentence (with the controlling idea), supporting details, elaboration, and concluding sentence.
Establishing and developing effective communication is important in order to be heard and change your environment according to your own thoughts. No one will guess what you want or what you think if you don’t tell them, and nothing is going to change if you do not propose a change. [ (The purpose of this essay is to discuss four important skills that will help you communicate effectively.  ~ topic) (Such skills are not to be afraid of speaking, always defend what you want to say, express exactly what you mean to say, and listen while you are not speaking. ~central idea) ]Thesis Statement
[ (The first aspect to communicate effectively~ topic) is not to be afraid of speaking~controlling idea.]Topic Sentence   (Anytime you need to say something, go ahead and do it. Most of the time people are afraid of speaking because they are not sure if it is the right thing to say or the right moment to say it. Be sure, say what you want to say, and do not regret it. If you speak you will be heard and taken into account. You are important so you need to be heard. ~supporting detail)  (There is one thing you should not do somehow: Do not say something that will hurt somebody’s feelings. Unless that something has to be said inevitably, say it, but as softly and gently as you can. Never hurt anyone intentionally. Always think twice before saying something. ~elaboration)  ( You choose what to say, just be sure to say the right thing at the right time. If you do that, you won’t regret a thing.~concluding sentences)
Second, if you want to communicate effectively, defend what you say. (Once you have said something you can never go backward; you must back it up. The worst thing that you can do when speaking is to hesitate. Hesitance means self-insecurity and this means weakness. The strength of your words will surely determine their effect on the listener. The way that you speak and the content of your speech tell a lot about yourself and your personality. A conversation allows speakers and listeners to get to know each other better. ~supporting detail ) (Besides, people will only know what you say; they cannot go any further if you do not let them. ~elaboration) ( It is only by means of intelligence, strength, and security that you will be able to change the world around you and, it is also by means of intelligence, strength, and security that you will be heard and taken into account. ~concluding sentences)
The third main aspect of effective communication is to express exactly what you mean to say. (Pick up the words that will express exactly what you are thinking of. Do not forget that one half of a word belongs to the listener and the other to the speaker. The listener gets his or her own version of what is said. However your job is to express yourself clearly, so that you can avoid misunderstandings. Although, avoiding misunderstandings is a hard task (not impossible), when it is achieved you will be expressing yourself effectively. ~supporting detail) (Everybody will be able to identify exactly what you say, what you think, and what you want. Words are double edged weapons which can be used either to defend or to attack. ~elaboration ) (If you make a good use of them, you will be able to do almost everything. ~concluding sentences)
The fourth main point to effective communication, and probably the most important of all, is the listening part. (Listen and do not interrupt when it is no longer your turn to speak. You will surely learn new things from listening to others. If a person is speaking, it’s because she or he wants to be heard. Effective communication is based on both listening and speaking. If communication were based only on speaking, it would be an absolute tyranny. ~supporting detail ) (Nevertheless, communication is the means through which you express yourself in order to be heard and change your environment according to your own version of reality. ~elaboration) ( Thus, it would be impossible to change anything if there were no one to listen, learn, and accept new ideas. Listening is a gift, and good listeners are always very appreciated because there are only a few. ~concluding sentences)
(Effective communication will help you to express yourself better, allow you to let other people express themselves, and help you to change your environment toward your own thoughts and beliefs. Words inspire strength. Speak them. Words make you strong. Support them. Words show what you are and what you think. Do not let yourself be misunderstood. Words are valuable. Listen to them! ~conclusion)
(Composition for Non-Native Speakers of English )






MUET WRITING 800/4 past year questions for practice


MID YEAR 2009: MUET WRITING 800/4 QUESTION 2
Information and communications technology (ICT) is the cause of today's many social ills. What is your opinion? Support your answers with examples. You should write at least 350 words. [60 marks]

YEAR END 2009: MUET WRITING 800/4 QUESTION 2
People commit crime for selfish reasons. Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. [60 marks]


 MID YEAR 2010: MUET WRITING 800/4 QUESTION 2
The world today is turning more to electronic communications such as the e-mail, Facebook and Short Message System (SMS). What is your opinion of this growing trend? Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. [60 marks]

YEAR END 2010: MUET WRITING 800/4 QUESTION 2
In an arranged marriage, the choice of a husband or wife is made by parents or elders. What do you think of this practice in today's society? Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. [60 marks]


MID YEAR 2011: MUET WRITING 800/4 QUESTION 2
The most valuable thing in life is friendship. Do you agree? Discuss. You should write at least 350 words.[60 marks]

YEAR END 2011: MUET WRITING  800/4 QUESTION 2
"A person's career choice should be determined by his or her interest." Discuss. [60 marks]









Vocabulary and Reading Quest


Vocabulary Quest
§  synonym using Oxford Thesaurus &
§  meaning using Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary

Reading Quest   Based on HOTS (higher order thinking skills):
o   analysis(review, dissection, scrutinize, distinguishing between facts and inferences),
o   synthesis (creatively builds a structure from diverse elements or ideas; put parts together to form a whole with emphasis on creating  a unique and new meaning.),
o   evaluation (use criteria to make and justify judgments about something) and
o   affective (respond with a statement of feeling, emotion, attitude and opinion without a standard appraisal; expressing feeling, emotion, opinion or attitude)


Article:   “Spice It Up!” –article taken from Urban Health, issue83, page:11,January 2012

 “Spice It Up” Vocabulary Quest :
1.      Evolve (v)  synonym: educe, emergegrow, increase
 meaning:   i.    To throw out; to emit; as, to evolve odors.
                    ii.   To become open, disclosed, or developed; to pass through a process of evolution.
                    iii.  To unfold or unroll; to open and expand; to disentangle and exhibit clearly
                           and satisfactorily; to develop; to derive; to educe.

2.      Delectable (adj)  appetizing, scrumptious, tasty, yummy
                                  i.            Greatly pleasing; delightful.
                                ii.            Greatly pleasing to the taste; delicious.

3.      Stimulate  (v) activate, arouse, trigger, vitalize
                                i.            To rouse to activity or heightened action, as by spurring or goading; excite.  
                              ii.            To increase temporarily the activity of (a body organ or part).
                            iii.            To excite or invigorate (a person, for example) with a stimulant.

4.      Cathartic (adj, n)  cleansing, purgative, purifying
                                i.            (adj) emotionally purging, strongly laxative
                              ii.            (n) a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels

5.      Aphrodisiac (adj) amatory, amorous, erogenous
                                i.            (adj)arousing or intensifying sexual desire.
                              ii.            (n) something, such as a drug or food, having such an effect.

“Spice It Up” Reading Quest :
The ancient societies valued and appreciated the distinguished quality of spices. The potential usage of spices from generations to generations has triggered the awareness of today’s modern societies to explore and discover the hidden beneficial values of spice despite all the perilous consequences. Thus, we can justify that the eminent quality spice usage has emerged as spices are now being used effectively not only for cooking but also for contemporary purposes in our modern societies.