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Arts & Letters Daily

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Writing Essays

Essay Format

Essay Format 2

     Dr. Otto
While scientists are debating global warming … Canadians need to act! This statement can trigger arguments among friends and foes … provided they are concerned about ‘global warming’ and/or Canada. The statement confronts people with controversy … often leading to …
YouTube Tutorial – click HERE
Text for Tutorial  – click HERE
Sample – scroll down to Sample
Assignment – scroll down to Assignment
Answer Key – scroll down to Answer Key
Practice oral English – click HERE
ASK DR. OTTO – click HERE

Notes

Many readers know that there are several types of essays such as descriptive essays and essays that present an argument. These notes focus on essays which present pro and con arguments where readers look for the following features. First, they expect an argument to begin with a thesis or position statement. Second, they anticipate arguments for and against the position as stated. These are called pro and con arguments.  Finally, they look for the writer’s conclusion. Readers decide for themselves whether they agree with the writer’s conclusion.

Each component is explained in the analysis of ‘Time is Running Out’ below.

After you have read the essay, read the analysis that follows. It identifies the features of the essay format in Time is Running Out.

Sample

Time is Running Out

While scientists are debating whether the people of the earth should be concerned about global warming, Canadians need to act. This is not said to belittle the debate among scientists; their research provides vital information. However, since many scientists claim that the global warming trend is likely to have negative consequences, the people of Canada should plan for the future with this information in mind.

Why the people of Canada? Many scientists agree that if the atmosphere continues to get warmer, many regions will experience negative effects. True, some regions may enjoy some benefits. For example, the farmers on the prairies might enjoy a longer growing season.

But, most Canadians would suffer negative consequences. The Maritimes and the West Coast would experience coastal flooding; arid regions of southern Alberta would turn into deserts; and the permafrost in the Yukon would decay more and more. Skiers would have fewer places to ski in British Columbia , Ontario and Quebec because of a shortage of snow. The fish migration patterns along the eastern shoreline might change so much that the prime fishing areas may disappear. All these changes together would have a negative impact on the lifestyle of most Canadians.

Of course, more research is needed to determine the impact of global warming. But that is not good enough for responsible Canadians. We need to take steps immediately to slow down the global warming trend. Canadians should object more strongly to clear cut logging in British Columbia. We must change from being one of the highest users in the world of fossil fuels to one of the lowest.

This would be a promising start to save Canada, as we know it. Not to respond to the threat of global warming would be like ignoring a tornado warning. Let’s not wait till devastation is upon us.

Essay Format

 

1. Introduction – Thesis

The thesis is stated in the introduction. It serves as the focus of the essay.

the people of Canada should plan for the future with this information in mind

 

2. Con Argument

True, some regions may enjoy some benefits.

 

3. Pro Argument

most Canadians would suffer negative consequences

 

4. Elaborate – Describe

In this essay, the writer chose Description as the strategy for elaborating the pro and con arguments. Description is a common way of elaborating.

Organization – arrangement in space

– prairies; Maritimes; West Coast; southern Alberta; British Columbia; Ontario; Quebec; eastern shoreline

Select specific words

enjoy a longer growing season, experience coastal flooding, arid regions, permafrost in the Yukon would decay, fish migration patterns, prime fishing areas

5. Conclusion

The conclusion must be based on the arguments as presented

This would be a promising start to save Canada, as we know it.

Assignment

 

Read the following essay and complete the template below the essay.

Teaching and Learning: Where to from Here?

“The struggle to use computers wisely and well is one of the most important challenges we and our children face, and schools are a crucial area in which this challenge must be confronted.”

Alison Armstrong and Charles Casement, the child and the machine (1998).

This quote summarizes the fundamental concern raised by Armstrong and Casement about the use of computers in education after Alison visited many classrooms in North America. The book is devoted to a thorough documentation of the large scale failure of the use of computers in schools. In this paper, I will summarize and acknowledge the failures in the use of computers identified by Armstrong and Casement and suggest some success stories.

Armstrong and Casement quote Bettelheim and Zelan, “for most children, learning to read is not an entertainment but hard work, a difficult task requiring serious application.” They conclude from this statement that, “the multimedia attractions of electronic books and CD-Rom encyclopedias might well lead children to equate reading with visual entertainment so that they keep looking around for meaning instead of creating it inside their own heads. Another example cited in the book refers to computer-based learning programs, which require no teacher input. The third example refers to writing. Armstrong and Casement acknowledge that using a word processor makes writing easier for children – the text can be changed instantly, children are more likely to take risks and discuss and revise their texts with peers because the text is visually displayed. On the other hand Armstrong and Casement found that lack of efficient keyboarding skills and knowledge of software commands made writing on computers more difficult.

Some educators have jumped on this comprehensive critique to denounce the use of computers in education.  Derwin Davies, a retired librarian, assailed advocates of the use of computers in schools in a review of the child and the machine. He concludes that these advocates see the computer as the only tool or as “the hammer that is going to reshape our schools.” (1999).

What these critics fail to see in this book is a challenge thrown out to educators to explore how computers could or should be used to drive education as part of a wide range of educational opportunities. To single out the use of computers as the only element that contributes to learning is as short sighted as it is to single out any other element be that play, memorization, physical education, or music. To deny the value of each element is equally short sighted.

At the same time, I challenge educators to consider seriously some computer applications in education that drive effective teaching and learning. I do so because I believe that is the real challenge we face as we provide appropriate educational opportunities for people of all ages in today’s society. Judah Schwartz, co-director of Harvard’s Educational Technology Center , demonstrated the effective use of computers for teaching and learning when he developed the Geometric Supposer in the mid eighties.

A second example of successful application of computers, which was acknowledged by Armstrong and Casement as a successful initiative, shows how computers can be used for learning how to write information text. The River East School Division Literacy Initiative represents an attempt to use computer technology to create conditions in which students can improve their writing. Adopting a broad definition of literacy that included the ability to think critically, reason logically, and be technologically capable, the initiative addressed four basic needs. Students need specific thinking and writing strategies to think through and refine their ideas. They need software that enables them to move easily among the organizing, composing, revising and publishing process of writing. Students also need to share and exchange their texts with peers, teachers and other adults. Finally and most important, students need teachers to demonstrate how to apply the writing and thinking strategies and to apply the technical skills related to computer software. Armstrong and Casement acknowledged the success of this initiative. Students in the pilot group performed significantly better on two counts. They improved their performance from the pre-test to the post test and they performed better than the students in the control group.

The challenge of using computers for teaching and learning is acknowledged by Armstrong and Casement when they conclude their book with the following statement, “Children’s educational needs are best met by giving them a range of appropriate tools. We cannot rely on a single technology to do the job of educating our children.” Advocates and critics alike want schools to provide quality education to which students are entitled.

Essay Format

  1. Introduction: Thesis

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Con Argument

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Pro Argument

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Elaborate – Identify the Strategy and show how it is used

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Conclusion

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

Assignment

Writing Assignment: Essay Fomat

Write an essay in which you follow the essay format on a topic of your choice. Complete the template below to ensure that you have included all aspects of the essay format in your essay. Submit it to your teacher or tutor for feedback. Then edit your paragraph

Note: One strategy for elaborating was applied in the essey above. There are several more illustated in the Chart on the next page.

Complete the template for  the Essay Format on your essay.

Essay Format

  1. Introduction: Thesis

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Con Argument

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Pro Argument

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Elaborate – Identify the Strategy and show how it is used

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

  1. Conclusion

______________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________

Answer Key

Writing

 

Essay Format

  • Introduction: Thesis

“The struggle to use computers wisely and well is one of the most important challenges we and our children face, and schools are a crucial area in which this challenge must be confronted.”

Alison Armstrong and Charles Casement, the child and the machine (1998).

  • Con Argument

–       Armstrong and Casement quote Bettelheim and Zelan, “for most children, learning to read is not an entertainment but hard work, a difficult task requiring serious application.” They conclude from this statement that, “the multimedia attractions of electronic books and CD-Rom encyclopedias might well lead children to equate reading with visual entertainment so that they keep looking around for meaning instead of creating it inside their own heads.

–       Another example cited in the book refers to computer-based learning programs, which require no teacher input.

–       Armstrong and Casement found that lack of efficient keyboarding skills and knowledge of software commands made writing on computers more difficult.

–       Some educators have jumped on this comprehensive critique to denounce the use of computers in education.  Derwin Davies, a retired librarian, assailed advocates of the use of computers in schools in a review of the child and the machine. He concludes that these advocates see the computer as the only tool or as “the hammer that is going to reshape our schools.” (1999).

  • Pro Argument

–       Armstrong and Casement acknowledge that using a word processor makes writing easier for children – the text can be changed instantly, children are more likely to take risks and discuss and revise their texts with peers because the text is visually displayed.

–       Judah Schwartz, co-director of Harvard’s Educational Technology Center , demonstrated the effective use of computers for teaching and learning when he developed the Geometric Supposer in the mid eighties.

–       The River East School Division Literacy Initiative represents an attempt to use computer technology to create conditions in which students can improve their writing.

  • Elaborate – Identify the Strategy and show how it is used

–       Analysis.

–       Adopting a broad definition of literacy that included the ability to think critically, reason logically, and be technologically capable, the initiative addressed four basic needs. Students need specific thinking and writing strategies to think through and refine their ideas. They need software that enables them to move easily among the organizing, composing, revising and publishing process of writing. Students also need to share and exchange their texts with peers, teachers and other adults. Finally and most important, students need teachers to demonstrate how to apply the writing and thinking strategies and to apply the technical skills related to computer software. Armstrong and Casement acknowledged the success of this initiative. Students in the pilot group performed significantly better on two counts. They improved their performance from the pre-test to the post test and they performed better than the students in the control group.

  • Conclusion

–       “Children’s educational needs are best met by giving them a range of appropriate tools. We cannot rely on a single technology to do the job of educating our children.”