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english teaching yr 9 fgs!!!

(6 Posts)
overthemill Mon 02-Nov-09 11:03:46

No wish to insult or upset anyone here (in fact am aspiring english teacher myself) but spent this last week in total despair at the essay my 13 yr old had to write for english h/w. Topic was fine and teh book was really great (touch, Anne Fine). But his essay had to be 17 paragraphs long with an introduction and conclusion. he'd written them both in class and he had found 17 quotes (actually with help from teacher) to illustrate his argument (gression of our understanding of main character) and all hehad to write was point, evidence (quote) and explanation. this meant that as far as he was concerned he had to write 2 sentences for each para with the quote inserted into each. he said the teacher didnt expect any kind of link between the paras (so in essence it was 17 paras all completely separate) and the conclusion he'd already written in no way brought together anything he'd written in the bulk of the essay.
it was awful, soul destroying (for him and me trying really hard not to intervene or criticise or indeed write it for him!). he doesnt like english at all, is pretty bright and gets great marks in most subjects (aprt from english). when speaking he has good arguments but when forced to write it down he freezes.
so, it it the way it's taught these days or should i speak to teacher?? It broke my heart to see him struggle withthis for hours on end and frankly produce a really crap essay! (and i do have a degree in english and am training to teach adults at gcse and a level so know a bit about this but not secondary kids teaching methods).
any one know?????

webwiz Mon 02-Nov-09 12:33:38

Not an english teacher just a parent but DD2 did GCSEs earlier this year and she did very well in English. I recognise all the PEE but I would have certainly expected her to have linked the points and for the conclusion to be relevant to what was had been written before even in year 9. DS has done fairly short essays of this kind in year 8 and would lose marks if the essay lacked structure. Maybe the teacher hadn't been clear about what he wanted ie the paragraphs could be about different aspects of the main character but they would be implicitly linked or maybe this is part of a process that will eventually lead to a more recognisable style of essay writing.

Either way I would talk to the teacher just to clarify things especially as the experience was a bit of an awful one for your son.

JANEITEluddite Mon 02-Nov-09 20:01:24

I am a secondary English teacher and getting pupils to use PEE effectively is very important. In no way should this mean two sentences per set of PEE though.

So even if the teacher gave them the quotations, they should be writing quite detailed analysis after each quotation to focus on the writer's intentions, the impact on the reader of the quotation and the effect of language within the quotation. Each set of PEE is therefore likely to consist of a point, which may be one or a couple of sentences, a quotation, several sentences of analysis. They should then absolutely be linking their ideas from one paragraph to the next; the intro should show awareness of/build up to the essay as a whole and the conclusion shoul generally round it all up and look at how the writer has succeeded in his or her intentions.

overthemill Mon 02-Nov-09 22:03:13

janeittluddite - oh i am glad to hear you say that! i assume taht somehow he's got it all twisted in his mind - he is very good at telling me about his ideas but really not good at writing them down which is why now he'd just moved to upper school i want to support his learning. he is best, probably, at factual stuff and analysing history/geog but finds it much harder to discuss 'stories'. he doesnt think he's 'good' at writing and tho he would like to be a doctor feels his writing will let him down.
would you suggest i talk to his teacher?

violetqueen Tue 03-Nov-09 08:44:35

Talk to his teacher . He/she needs to know that your son ( and maybe others ) are having difficulty following the instructions /advice.
My own offspring has similar problem - facts ,no problem etc but really has a habit/ difficulty following/ interpreting instructions.
Ideally ( ha ha ) school should identify and support student.
Though of course it may be that teacher needs to adjust method.

JANEITEluddite Wed 04-Nov-09 19:17:20

Overthemill - if you want to CAT me, I'd be happy to help more and yes, it would be worth having a quick chat with his teacher to just check he's not misunderstood.

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