Monday, February 14, 2011

Writing an essay is like.....

I gave my students an essay assignment in history 10. They needed to write an essay on German Nationalism. We have been learning about Prussia vs. Austria, and all that happened before Germany became a nation state. Now, after giving them a structure base (i.e. this goes in paragraph 2, that goes in paragraph 3, etc.), they are writing their essay. They are just finished the first draft and have begun the editing process.

I always tell my students that writing an essay is like taming a beast. You need to edit it - fix it - nurse it - make it better, make it nice, make it smooth and pretty. They laugh, but it is true! The rough copy is the beast - it is ugly and tough and rough around the edges. Most times it is hard to look at but there is a jem, a beauty just waiting to show.

Essay writing is a necessary evil in my mind. As much as I would love for them to be phased out (just for the sake of mega-marking), I know that they teach many valuable things beyond writing formally and properly. I stress to my students how important learning how to create an essay properly in high school will definitely benefit all who go on to other education; even for the students who go on to tech. school typically have to write some form of report. It is a skill that needs to be learned. It is very important so teach it well my teachers, teach it well.