4 Tips for Teaching Students to Write their First Essay

4 Tips for Teaching Students to Write their First Essay

Writing classes inevitably have an essay assignment or two, but do the students always know how to submit a successfully written one? A good professor will provide the tools needed, ensuring the legwork is all up to the student. NOt sure where to start?

1. Back to Basics

A well-written paper needs a good base to stand on no matter the length. Provide a basic recap of the most common errors and grammar 101 to refresh their minds before getting started. Determine the desired style and ensure they understand the pieces of a great essay: a topic sentence and correcting breaking into paragraphs. Assign or help the students find the purpose of their essay. Is the essay meant to inform the reader, make them laugh, cry, or relate to the main topic? Once they have that, research is next!

2. Pick a Topic-Do the Research!

Anyone can write about anything if they have the right tools, and knowledge is the greatest tool to possess. Once the students have been assigned or chosen the main topic, the rest is research. Direct students to find experts, jot down some good material they stand behind, and review what they want to work around. Since this is the most time-consuming part of writing an essay, advise the students to choose something they already know about. Show the students some examples of primary and secondary research sites that are credible and not, so they can see the difference. Passion makes for a great research driver.

3. Outlining to Create the flow

The outline is an integral part of writing an essay. It ensures the flow of information and the piecing of all the notes scribbled in margins and various notepads together. Show students how to create their outline. Provide examples, or create a mock-up in class to show the basics. Just like a carpenter can not build a house without a blueprint to reference, a writer can not create an essay without an outline to keep them on task. Help students use this outline to create their first rough draft.

4. Write, Proofread, Repeat

Knowing the “hard” work is done is half the battle. Teach students to put it all together into the essay by following their outline. Break down and connect all the parts of an essay: introduction, body paragraphs with lead sentences, and the conclusion to wrap everything up. Show them how to use their outline to create each essay paragraph. Collaborating these two pieces will ensure their essay comes out clean and professional every time. Do not forget to remind them how important proofreading and editing are. A rough draft is just that, a draft. They will need someone to proofread to get another person’s view. Online editing sources like this help students with editing, grammar, and changes that could help their overall skills in future essays.

To summarize, having the tools needed will significantly assist in leading to better essay writing. Briefly review all parts of a good essay, from introduction to conclusion and every critical piece between them. Provide examples and samples of good and bad essays to show students. Creating a detailed outline and a rough draft will help the students structure their essays and make grading much more enjoyable!

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