Successful Notes for Teachers: How to Teach Writing Essays


If you are a teacher and you are trying to teach essay writing to your students there are a few things you should know.

First of all there are many types of essays as you must well know. That being said you need to either limit your teaching to a particular type of essay writing most often used in that course (such as a five paragraph essay for an elementary school class or a research style paper for an upper level psychology course at a college) or you need to set aside individual lessons for each type of essay.

If you choose to teach essay writing for a plethora of essay types you can set up individual lessons for things such as:

  • Lesson 1: the 5 paragraph essay
  • Lesson 2: the compare and contrast essay
  • Lesson 3: the definition essay
  • Lesson 4: the argumentative essay
  • Lesson 5: the persuasive essay
  • Lesson 6: the narrative essay
  • Lesson 7: the research paper
  • Lesson 8: the literature review

Of course if you want to teach a specific type of essay such as the research paper you can turn that single lesson into many more concise lessons such as:

  • Lesson 1: the purpose of the research essay
  • Lesson 2: how to pick a topic
  • Lesson 3: understanding and writing the abstract
  • Lesson 4: writing the literature review
  • Lesson 5: determining your audience
  • Lesson 6: methodology
  • Lesson 7: results and discussions
  • Lesson 8: references

You should make sure that you give students enough information and examples that they feel comfortable writing the paper themselves. You can assign in-class tasks where they try and put each lesson to use. If you are teaching the aforementioned broad list of different essay types you might teach one per week and at the end of the week assign that particular type of essay as their weekend homework. If you are teaching the single type you might assign a large term paper but help them to complete each section a week at a time.

Be sure to give them an opportunity to ask questions and to review multiple examples with different styles and citation formats. This will ensure they get adequate exposure to practice the concepts successfully on their own time and still get great grades.

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