Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Argumentative writing



BY JENNY TAN

LESSON 6 

This week, let's look at another type of essay called the argumentative essay. Here, you may be required to either state your stand on a certain issue (agree or disagree) or to present your point of view. 
 
Some typical exam questions: 

1.       Co-curricular activities are a waste of time. Do you agree? 
2.       Large families make happy families. 
3.       More land should be used for agriculture than for industry. Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons to support you opinion. 
4.       Parents do not spend enough quality time with children. Do you agree or disagree? 
5.       Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of homework. 
Question 1, 3 and 4 require you to make a stand and proceed to support this in a few paragraphs. 
For question 2, you may present both sides of the argument before stating your stand. 
For question 5, as you are required to discuss the issue, you should present both sides of the argument. 
Let's say you have chosen question 1 – Co-curricular activities are a waste of time. Do you agree?
 
STEP 1: Analyse the question carefully to make sure you understand exactly what you have to do. 
 
Topic: Co-curricular activities (The general subject) 
 
The focus: Co-curricular activities are a waste of time. (The part you are asked to concentrate on) 
 
The comment: Do you agree? (You have to make a stand whether you agree or disagree). 
 
STEP 2: 

Then, apply the acronym B.A.G. which stands for B – Brainstorm, A – Add supporting details and G – Get organised (as discussed last week in Lesson 5). 

Brainstorm for ideas. Note down all the points you have about co-curricular activities. You should have at least four points. Let's say you have made your list below. Add supporting details. 
Get organised. Throw out any ideas that are not relevant.  
Decide the order of the points. 
 
Co-curricular activities are a waste of time. 
Your stand: Disagree 
Why? 
Benefits:  
1. Provide a chance for students to learn about themselves.  
2. Develop other skills not learnt in the classroom. 
3. Provide leadership training. 
4. Provide an outlet for students to rest and relax. 
 
STEP 3: 
The writing plan: 
1. Introduction: Give some background information about the topic and state your stand. 
Example: Co-curricular activities are non-academic activities taken up after school hours. Students are required to join at least one uniform society and a club. In my opinion, co-curricular activities play an important role in a student's life and it is certainly not a waste of time. 
 
2. Body: Present your arguments to support your stand. 
There should at least be three or four paragraphs with good topic sentences and supporting details. 

Example: Firstly, co-curricular activities provide students with a chance to develop their talents in music, sports and other living skills. Some students are unable to shine in the classroom but they are superb athletes and musicians. Co-curricular activities provide an avenue for them to become fulfilled individuals. 
 
3. Conclusion: State your stand again 
Example: Many students and parents think that co-curricular activities are a waste of time which can be better utilised with other beneficial activities.  
I certainly disagree with that. As we have seen, co-curricular activities play an important role in a student's life. They complement the activities of the classroom.  
A well-planned co-curricular programme helps students become wholesome individuals. Thus, co-curricular activities are definitely not a waste of time. 
 
*Remember to edit your work. 
Read your first draft once through and check for the following: 
a.       Have you arranged the points well? Are the most important points at the top, followed by the less important ones? 
b.       Have you included only the important points and left out the irrelevant ones? 
c.       Are there any phrases that are not very clear or sentences that are too long? 
d.       Are there spelling mistakes? 
e.       Have you used punctuation correctly? 
f.       Are there any grammatical errors? 
 
TASK 

Write an essay on any of the topics given earlier. Make use of the writing plan above when writing out your essay.

1 comment:

marry said...

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