Essay Writing: Teacher Booklet
Teachers’ Notes and Keys
In my experience essay writing classes have been the least popular course among many of my colleagues not only on account of the prodigious amounts of scripts to marked in such courses but also because of the nebulous nature of the subject. Except for the amount of marking involved, I have grown to enjoy teaching essay writing at a German university partly because we are allowed to design our own courses. I had found the standard books to have a few useful hints, but little concrete material. This course book is designed for teachers of English at B2 and CI Levels whether at institutes of higher education or at TEFL/TESOL colleges. With a few minor alterations they can be used for native speakers in secondary schools. (They can also apply to BI/B2 and CI/C2) The booklet also contains my own marking scheme which has been adopted by Erfurt University amongst others.
My principles are based on experience rather than following a particular education theory, and so the inevitable ensuing dogmatic tone should be seen as recommendations rather than imperatives.
Firstly, a writing class should involve the students’ writing rather than the teacher talking. Unfortunately, too many writing classes have the reverse tendency. Some colleagues evolve elaborate strategies to avoid writing in class so that there will be less marking. This, in the end, is a false strategy as it leads to student dissatisfaction and lack of progress, which, in turn, leads to stress for the teacher and frustration for the students. For this reason, I will present a twelve-session outline which can be adapted to any particular group. At my university, we have 15 double sessions and so the headings can be expanded as hinted in the suggestions and from the extra exercises and assignments in the appendices. Similarly, the structure plan can be shortened if essay writing is only one element of a language course and thus comprises single rather than double sessions.
The booklet can be divided into five sections:
mechanical errors in punctuation;
practical marking schemes for teachers;
examination materials including my B2 and CI marking schemes which have also been adopted by other universities,
examination questions with two ‘model’ essays, one for B2 and one for CI
and finally, a vocabulary building exercise in literary anyalysis.