Starter Activity… • You have each been issued with a piece of paper. • Write a topic on that piece of paper, fold it and place it in the middle of the table • Take it in turns to pick a piece of paper and be the speaker- you have to speak for ONE MINUTE on the random topic. (There will be a timer on the board - only start speaking when the timer starts). • What to avoid: - Repetition of words or ideas - Hesitation - including ums/ahs and long pauses (3 seconds or more) - Deviation - going completely off topic
Discursive Writing: A discursive essay is an essay in which information is conveyed. This information is usually factual, concerned with issues in the real world. Can you recognise the issue illustrated here?
We are now going to watch the following video clip which explains what discursive writing is. http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/english/writing/discursive_writing/revision/5/
Activity: • Working in pairs you have four minutes to come up with as many issues as you can think of, which are going on in the world at the moment. • Make sure you both write down your ideas so you each have a copy of them! HINT: These issues can be local too!
Let’s focus on the topic of how much money footballers’ and pop stars’ earn. How would you write about one of these topics? http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/english/writing/discursive_writing/revision/3/
Now that we understand what discursive writing is and have an idea of the different kind of topics which can be discussed, we will now move onto choosing our topics for our discursive essays.
Choosing a Topic First, you should think about a topic which you will write about. It is important to consider the following points: • Choose a topic which you find interesting • Choose a topic which you already know something about • Choose a topic which you can find enough information on
Ideas: • Local issues • Ferries, new supermarket, Cowal Games etc. • Digital technology • Work experience and skills for work • New National Qualifications • Law on gay marriage (England)
Activity: • Working in pairs come up with three possible topics each for you to write about Rules… - You must come up with at least three options - You are not allowed to choose the same topic as the person next to you
Now that we know our topic we are now going to learn how to research that topic!
Activity: Working INDIVIDUALLY write your own definition of the word ‘research’.
Activity: Working in pairs swap your definitions of the word ‘research’ and identify and discuss where your definitions differ. Be prepared to give feedback to the rest of the class!
There are several different ways you can conduct research for this essay.
You can find information from: • Books from the library (check the non-fiction and reference sections) • The internet • Magazines • Newspapers • Television • DVDs And don’t forget you can ask parents, carers, brothers, sisters, friends, relatives…the list goes on!
When you are first presented with a written source of information about the topic how should you evaluate the source? You should consider whether the information is: • accurate • biased or balanced • relevant • reliable • supported by evidence • up-to-date
How do you know if the information you have found is all of the following? accurate biased or balanced relevant reliable supported by evidence up-to-date
Ask yourself… • When was the book or article written? Depending on the topic you are researching if it is several years old it may already be out of date. • Who produced the information? An expert in their field, a journalist writing for a quality newspaper, a well known organisation or public institution (eg. The Scottish Executive) tend to be the most reliable sources of information. • Does the author/writer refer to a known authority or expert who agrees with their point of view to support claims they make? Do they use statistics to back up their points? • Or does the source mainly contain the writer’s own opinions rather than facts?
Activity: You have ONE MINUTE to write down as many examples of notes you can think of from your everyday life?
Note Taking Skills: Keywords • It is very time-consuming to write down everything that you see or hear. • Write down just the most important points. • Copy down accuratelyand in your own words • Writing your notes under headings will make them easier to understand later.
Activity: • You are now going to carry out research. • You will be researching your chosen topic. • Take notes from the information you find.
What you are looking for: • Background information on your topic. • Arguments in support of your topic. • Arguments against your topic. Remember to take a note of the web address you find the information from!
Now that we have gathered information for our essay, we need to learn how to write a discursive essay.
The structure of a discursive essay: 1. Provide an interesting introduction and make your stance in relation to the topic clear. 2. Present your first argument, with supporting evidence. 3. Provide your second argument, with supporting evidence. 4. Provide your third argument, with supporting evidence.
Continued… 5. Provide your fourth argument, with supporting evidence. 6. Indicate, in a single paragraph, that there is another side to this argument, with some idea of the points likely to be made for view which are opposite to your own. 7. Reiterate (state again) your position and conclude your essay.
Introduction: The opening of an essay is important. It should capture the reader’s attention in some way or another. It should invite the reader to read on and create a sense of interest about the topic. There are many ways you can do this…
Proactive ‘It is difficult to see how anyone can approve of fox hunting.’
Balanced ‘Fox hunting is a subject which people hold strongly contrasting views of.’
Quotation ‘Oscar Wilde once described fox hunting as ‘The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.’.’
Illustration ‘On a glorious autumn morning a terrified, exhausted animal is savaged to death by a pack of baying dogs while a group of expensively dressed humans encourage the dogs in their bloody work.’
Anecdote ‘I have always detested fox hunting since I was almost physically sick while watching a television film of the kill at the end of a hunt.’
Activity: • You are now going to write your own introductions, using the help sheet provided. You must use one of the structures we have covered to grab your reader’s attention.
Linking Ideas in a Discursive Essay • Any well-written piece of discursive writing will flow as one continuous piece, despite being made up of three or four different arguments. • One of the techniques which can help you to achieve this effectively is the use of linking words. These words are usually used at the beginning of a new paragraph but can also be used to link ideas within a paragraph.
Expression and Tone • It is important when you write a discursive essay to write in a formal way. • You should not use an informal style to write a discursive essay.
We are going to read an example of a discursive essay. You are then going to provide detailed answers to the following
Questions: 1. What is the main idea the writer is arguing about ? 2. Each paragraph has a sub-topic which contributes to the essay's main topic: what does each paragraph contribute to the argument? 3. What evidence does the writer offer to support the arguments? 4. Does the writer link ideas clearly in the essay?
Answers: 1.The writer is trying to argue that it is time to stop using animals for scientific experimentation. 2. Paragraph 1 - the writer introduces the argument: experiments on animals should cease. Paragraph 2 - tests can now be done using modern technology. Paragraph 3 - animals are different: they do not respond to tests as humans do. Paragraph 4 - they cause animals too much pain. Paragraph 5 - death-rate in UK has remained constant: experiments have not improved things. Paragraph 6 - the other side of the argument: animal experiments have been useful. Paragraph 7 - secondary argument justifies experiments: test tube tissue research is limited; whole animal testing is still needed. Paragraph 8 - author re-states conviction that experiments are not necessary. Paragraph 9 - conclusion: new methods needed to replace current animal testing methods.
Answers (cont.) 3. Paragraph 1 - not relevant: introduction. Paragraph 2 - use of test tube technology; computers. Paragraph 3 - aspirins affect animals badly, but not humans. Paragraph 4 - animals given no anaesthetic. Paragraph 5 - more long-term sickness, despite greater number of animal experiments. Paragraph 6 - alternative arguments: benefits to diabetics, even animals. Paragraph 7 - living tissue not as satisfactory as whole animal testing. Paragraph 8 - Dr. Hadwen Trust re. human cartilage; research into cancer and multiple sclerosis. Paragraph 9 - not relevant: conclusion. 4. There is clear evidence of good linkage in the essay: One of my main reasons...' (para 2) 'Moreover...' (para 3) clearly continues argument 'In addition...' (para 4) clearly moves argument on 'On the other hand...' (para 6) signals clearly that the writer is moving on to arguments the opposing side would offer in support of experiments 'In conclusion...' (para 9) clearly indicates argument drawing to a close
You are now ready to write your discursive essay! Remember to use all of your notes and include the findings of your research…