GCSE Essay Writing Skills Course
This five-week course is aimed towards students aged 11-13 which teaches them important techniques and skills for writing essays and compositions in GCSE. The classes are thoroughly planned and delivered to a high standard in an enjoyable and relaxed environment where each student is appropriately challenged. The classes will be delivered with the use of online platforms, such as Nearpod, Padlet, and/or One Note which allow students to maximise their interaction and learning experience.
Lesson 1 – Planning and writing an introduction
Teaching how to write effective introductions helps students not only to focus on the start of the essay but also to shape the direction and their ideas for the rest of their response. Planning is an important element of which could ensure students do not go off track because they have lost the question focus. Therefore, firstly, we will talk about the importance of planning and mind maps (students will create mind maps individually and then share them with the whole class. It will be followed by sketching a brief outline of an essay in response to the task). Then, students will compare a weak and strong introduction, identify their different elements and finally write their own introductions consisting of general/background information, thesis statement, and essay overview.
Lesson 2 – Writing the main body
In this class, we will look at the organisation of information within a paragraph and what elements it should consist of. A good paragraph includes a topic sentence, evidence, explanation, and discussion supported with arguments. It is also finished with a sentence that links back to the topic sentence, or to the next point. Here, students will analyse paragraphs and highlight their different components. They will also try to rewrite paragraphs changing them into strong and successful ones.
Lesson 3 - Coherence
Coherence is one of the two qualities that give a written text unity and purpose. The other is cohesion. Coherence refers to the general sense that a text makes sense through the organisation of its content. It creates the bridges between words, sentences, and paragraphs. In this class, we will examine the following formula: Main Point + Reason + Evidence and identify these elements in a paragraph as well as specific words creating coherence. Mastering coherence correctly will enable students to write their essays logically and consistently.
Lesson 4 – Cohesion
Cohesion concerns the flow of sentences and paragraphs from one to another. It involves the tying together of old information and new. When students write academic essays, particularly in the humanities, they should work hard to adopt cohesion structurally, which enhances a reader's understanding of their ideas. Students will practise cohesion via a variety of tasks including underlying all the words that they think connect the ideas in a paragraph together from one sentence to the next; putting linkers to different categories e.g., sequencing and contrasting, and finally linking a few sentences together to create a cohesive paragraph.
Lesson 5 – Writing a conclusion
Conclusion is a final idea left with the reader at the end of an essay. Here we will study how to link it back to the essay question and restate students’ thesis statement and briefly summarise main points presented in the main body. One of the activities will include looking at the introduction and main body of the essay and making notes on what kind of information should be included in the concluding part. A successful conclusion should also include a final thought or reflection to highlight the significance of the topic. It is advisable to leave readers with something to remember!
Students will be required to write a piece of writing after each class. It will build on the work done in the lesson ensuring a deeper understanding and retention of studied concepts. It will certainly help students understand what is expected of them and what good performance is. Also, it will give them the opportunity to successfully progress in their studies.