Discursive Writing National 5 In this unit you will



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Discursive Writing

  • National 5

In this unit you will :

  • In this unit you will :
  • learn about the folio at National 5
  • come up with your own Success Criteria
  • learn how to structure a balanced discursive essay
  • discuss possible ideas for your discursive
  • essay
  • learn about connectives and linking words
  • write you own discursive essay.
  • complete: reading, writing, talking and listening tasks .
  • The Big Picture

Introduction to Folio

  • This portfolio is worth 30 marks out of a total of 100 marks. This is 30% of the
  • overall marks for the Course assessment. The Course will be graded A–D.
  • This portfolio (writing) will have 30 marks and will contain two essays.
  • Up to fifteen marks will be awarded for each essay chosen for the portfolio.
  • Your folio is marked externally.

Introduction to Folio

  • The portfolio consists of two written pieces which will be the evidence for assessment. This portfolio will give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate the following skills, knowledge and understanding:
  •  skills in writing in different genres
  •  skills writing for different purposes and audiences
  • The portfolio will comprise two written texts that address the main language purposes, namely creative and discursive writing.
  • The assessor (your teacher) will support the candidate to choose the focus, theme and genre for his/her writing.

Introduction to Folio

  • This assessment has two stages:
  •  a portfolio planning and development stage which should be completed over a period of time
  •  a writing stage
  • The written texts must be of no more than 1,000 words each, but full marks can be achieved in a shorter piece, if appropriate to purpose.

Your Essay

  • Reasonable assistance may be given to a class or group of candidates, for example, advice on how to find information for a discursive essay. It may also be given to candidates on an individual basis.
  • It is acceptable for the assessor or a third party to provide:
  •  an initial discussion with the candidate on the selection of the topic leading to an outline plan
  •  oral or written suggestions for improvements to a first draft
  • Once work on the assessment has begun, the candidate should be working independently.
  • How will I be graded?
  • Range of
  • Marks
  • 15-13
  • 12-10
  • 9-7
  • 6-4
  • 3-1
  • Content
  • Attention to purpose and
  • audience is consistent
  • Information shows
  • evidence of careful
  • research, is presented
  • to maximise impact and
  • is sequenced to highlight
  • keypoints
  • Ideas/techniques
  • deployed to inform /
  • argue / discuss /
  • persuade
  • have a very good
  • degree of objectivity /
  • Depth / insight,
  • persuasive force and are
  • used to convey a clear
  • line of thought/
  • appropriate stance/point
  • of view
  • Attention to purpose and
  • audience is consistent
  • Information shows
  • evidence of relevant
  • research and is presented
  • In a clear sequence
  • Ideas/techniques deployed
  • to inform/argue/ discuss/
  • persuade have a good
  • degree of objectivity /
  • depth/insight/ persuasive
  • force and are used to
  • convey a clear line
  • of thought/stance/ point of
  • view
  • Attention to purpose and
  • audience is reasonably
  • well sustained
  • Information shows
  • evidence of some
  • research and is
  • presented in a clear
  • sequence
  • Ideas/techniques
  • deployed to inform /
  • argue / discuss /
  • persuade convey a line
  • of thought / stance /
  • point of view
  • Attention to purpose and
  • audience is not always
  • sustained
  • Information shows a little
  • relevant research but is
  • not always presented in a
  • manner that enhances
  • meaning
  • Ideas/ techniques used to
  • inform / argue, discuss/
  • persuade are not always
  • convincing and the line of
  • thought is not consistently
  • clear. The stance may
  • tend towards the personal
  • or anecdotal
  • Writing pieces in this
  • category are likely to be
  • very rare and would be
  • characterised by one or
  • more of the following:
  • weak attention to
  • purpose and audience
  • very thin content
  • no attempt at using
  • language effectively
  • significant errors in
  • sentence construction/
  • paragraphing/
  • spelling
  • brevity of response
  • Irrelevance
  • Style
  • The features of the
  • chosen genre are
  • deployed effectively
  • Word choice is varied
  • and often used to create
  • particular effects.
  • The structure of the
  • piece enhances the
  • purpose/meaning.
  • The features of the chosen
  • genre are deployed, mostly
  • successfully
  • Word choice is apposite
  • and used at times to create
  • an effect.
  • The structure of the piece
  • supports the purpose/
  • Meaning.
  • The features of the
  • chosen genre are
  • deployed with a
  • degree of success
  • Word choice is
  • effective in the main
  • The structure of the
  • piece is appropriate
  • to purpose/meaning.
  • There is an attempt to
  • deploy the features of the
  • chosen genre
  • Word choice lacks
  • variety
  • The structure of
  • the piece is not
  • appropriate to
  • purpose/ meaning.
  • 0 marks will be awarded
  • where the candidate
  • shows no understanding
  • of the task, and displays
  • none of the skills of
  • writing in different
  • genres for different
  • audiences and
  • purposes.

Prior Learning

  • Before we begin to look at possible topics, we will quickly recap on the techniques used when writing a report or argumentative essay.
  • Think:
  • What do you know about discursive writing?

The Fishbowl

  • Pupils should note down on a piece of paper anything they can remember or know about discursive writing. Pupils’ pieces of paper will be collected and put into bowl. We will then pick them out and discuss them and note down anything which we think is important.
    • communicate a clear and balanced line of argument
    • present both sides of an argument
    • distinguish between facts and opinions
    • convey a tone which is reasonable yet carries personal conviction
    • has a clear sense that the writer has weighed up different aspects of the argument before reaching conclusions.
    • have a bibliography that lists all the sources you used to research your topic.
  • Discursive writing must do the following:

Discursive Writing Success Criteria

  • Having now discussed what discursive writing actually is, you are going to come up with your own Success Criteria that you will use to measure how well you have done.
  • I will be successful if I can…

This type of writing means that you are expected to discuss a given topic and to present an argument related to it.

  • This type of writing means that you are expected to discuss a given topic and to present an argument related to it.
  • Organising a discursive essay
  • You will argue in your essay about a discussion topic in a balanced way.
  • Discursive Writing

Finding Information

  • Where can I find the information I need?
  • any relevant books from any library you can reach (check the non-fiction and reference sections)
  • the internet
  • magazines and newspapers
  • television and DVDs
  • It is important that you keep a note of where all your information comes from as you must include a bibliography (a list of sources) at the end of your essay.
  • Good research is the key to success !

Use the following structure:

  • Use the following structure:
  • Interesting introduction that clearly states the issue you are going to explore.
  • Present your first argument with evidence.
  • Present your second argument with evidence.
  • Present you third and final argument with evidence.
  • Planning a Discursive Essay

Now explain that there is another side to the issue.

  • Now explain that there is another side to the issue.
  • Present your first argument on the other side with evidence.
  • Present your second argument with evidence.
  • Present your third and final argument with evidence.
  • State your position and conclude your essay.
  • Write your bibliography on a separate page(s) at the end.
  • Planning a Discursive Essay

It is vitally important that you always use your own words and do not copy chunks from the passage. When you include a quotation from someone, you must acknowledge it and include a footnote about where you found it (website or newspaper etc). If you are found to have plagiarised any of your essay, there are very serious consequences.

  • It is vitally important that you always use your own words and do not copy chunks from the passage. When you include a quotation from someone, you must acknowledge it and include a footnote about where you found it (website or newspaper etc). If you are found to have plagiarised any of your essay, there are very serious consequences.

Think about the close reading skills you have learned .

  • Think about the close reading skills you have learned .
  • Question: How do you translate part of the passage into your own words?
  • Answer: Pick out the key words from the passage and change them into your own words. You must do this throughout your essay.
  • Using your own words
  • Introducing a discursive essay
  • The opening of an essay is important. It should capture the reader's attention in some way or another. It should avoid being bland or dull. It should invite the reader to read on and create a sense of interest. If the beginning is flat, it will not inspire your audience.
  • Methods of Opening a Discursive Essay
  • The following methods are suggestions (for a discursive essay about fox hunting). It is up to you to decide which style suits your writing best.
  • Getting Started

Provocative

  • Provocative
  • e.g."It is difficult to see how anyone can approve of fox hunting.“
  • OR
  • e.g."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."
  • Getting Started

Balanced

  • Balanced
  • e.g."Fox hunting is a subject about which people hold strongly contrasting views."
  • Quotation
  • e.g."Oscar Wilde once described fox hunting as 'The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.'."
  • Illustration
  • e.g."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.“
  • Or you could even start with a statistic or a question.
  • Getting Started

Discursive

  • Do not include your own opinion until the conclusion.
  • Your introduction should be either: provocative, balanced, illustrative, begin with a quotation, or a statistic/question.
  • You should state that this is a popular topic for debate/controversial issue/something that provokes strong feelings on both sides
  • What has recently brought this topic into/back into the publics’ attention – recently brought this into the news?
  • What is your intention in this essay – to examine for and against in an attempt to answer the question, “Should weight loss surgery be provided on the NHS?”

Linking your ideas together

  • 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.
  • It is important that your essay is well linked.
  • The following linking words and phrases may help you:
  • To sequence points
  • initially, firstly, secondly, next, meanwhile, then, later, finally, eventually, in the end.
  • To show contrast
  • yet, however, but, nevertheless, whereas,
  • although, on the other hand, alternatively
  • To add a point
  • in addition, moreover, also , again, furthermore, moreover, as well as, what is more
  • Linking Words and Phrases
  • To show the link between cause and effect
  • As a result, therefore, accordingly, thus, consequently, for this reason, owing to this
  • To emphasise a point –
  • In particular, indeed, most importantly,
  • significantly, especially, in fact
  • Linking Words and Phrases
  • Use a formal tone in a discursive essay.
  • It is important when you write a discursive essay to write in a proper formal way.
  • In simple terms, this means the following -
  • write in proper, complete sentences
  • use abbreviations (i.e./e.g./etc./UK/&) (isn't/don't/won't)
  • use colloquial language (slang)
  • use emotional language (language to try to influence your audience)
  • Tone
  • Do
  • Do Not

Discursive essay example

  • Structure
  • Discursive essay example
  • On the next slide is an example of a discursive essay. Read the essay over carefully.
  • Whilst reading the essay, consider the following questions:
  • (1) What is the main (overall) idea the writer is arguing about?
  • (2) What are the arguments explained in each paragraph?
  • (3) How does the writer expand on those ideas
  • (4) How does the writer exemplify (give evidence)?

Explain, expand, exemplify

  • How do we focus?
  • First, we explain our point/argument
  • Then, we expand on the reasons why some people hold this view.
  • Finally, we exemplify our point with an example from real life and/or a piece of evidence (statistics).
  • Structure
  • Explain (the arguments they present)
  • Expand (why some people might think this)
  • Exemplify (evidence to back up the point)

Also think about the following:

  • Also think about the following:
  • Structure
  • Are linking words/phrases used?
  • Is personal stance/opinion given?
  • Is the essay balanced?
  • Is overall argument clear?

1 A subject which always arouses strong feelings on both sides of the argument is the use of animals in medical research. I believe that, though this may have been necessary in the past, other ways can be developed to test drugs and, in the future, animals should not be used.

  • 1 A subject which always arouses strong feelings on both sides of the argument is the use of animals in medical research. I believe that, though this may have been necessary in the past, other ways can be developed to test drugs and, in the future, animals should not be used.
  • 2 One of my main reasons for saying this is that living tissues can be grown in test tubes and new drugs can be tested on these. Computers can also be programmed to show how medicines will react in the human body.
  • 3 Moreover, animals are not always like humans. They do not suffer from all human diseases, so scientists have to give them the illnesses artificially. The joints in rabbit legs are inflamed with chemicals to help research in rheumatism. These tests do not always work because animals do not react to drugs in the same way as humans. Aspirin, for example, damages pregnant mice and dogs, but not pregnant women. Arsenic, which is a deadly poison for humans, has no effect on sheep, while penicillin, which is so valuable to humans, kills guinea pigs.
  • Sample Essay
  • 4 In addition, I believe that animal experiments should not be used because of the unnecessary pain that they cause to animals. The government introduced new rules about the use of animals in experiments in 1986. Scientists claim that these rules safeguard animals because they state that discomfort must be kept to a minimum and that painkillers must be used where necessary and appropriate. Surely this means, however, that scientists can still decide not to use painkillers in the animal experiments because they do not consider them appropriate. The British Union against Vivisection claims that 75% of animals experimented on are given no anaesthetic.
  • 5 In spite of the claims of some scientists about the effectiveness of animal research, the death rate in this country has stayed the same over the last thirty years. There is also more long-term sickness, even though greater numbers of animals are being used in research.
  • Sample Essay
  • 6 On the other hand, scientists claim that some experiments are so small, for example giving an injection, that painkillers are not needed. They also argue that experiments on animals have been very useful in the past. For instance, the lives of ten million human diabetics have been saved because of experiments with insulin on dogs. Dogs also benefited, as the same drug can be used on them. In fact, a third of medicines used by vets are the same as those used by doctors.
  • 7 It is argued by researchers that the use of animals in experiments cannot be replaced by methods using living tissue which has been grown in test tubes. These tests do not show how the drugs work on whole animals and so they only have limited effectiveness.
  • Sample Essay
  • 8 Although I accept that some drugs can be used on animals and humans, this does not mean that they have to be tested on animals in the first place when alternative methods are available. Alternative methods do work. Various groups have been set up to put money into other ways of researching. For example the Dr. Hadwen Trust has shown how human cartilage can be grown in test tubes to study rheumatism. Similar research is being done into cancer and multiple sclerosis. Tests can be done on bacteria to see whether a chemical will cause cancer. There is even a programme of volunteer human researchers, where people suffering from illnesses offer to help in research.
  • Sample Essay

9 In conclusion, I accept that animal experiments have brought great benefits in the past, but now money needs to be spent on developing other methods of testing drugs and medical procedures, so that the use of animals can be phased out altogether.

  • 9 In conclusion, I accept that animal experiments have brought great benefits in the past, but now money needs to be spent on developing other methods of testing drugs and medical procedures, so that the use of animals can be phased out altogether.
  • Sample Essay
  • You are now going to decide on a topic for your own discursive writing.
  • A good idea is to choose something that you are genuinely interested in.
  • Remember that you have to give a balanced view.
  • Over to You!
  • Animals
  • Equality/Rights
  • Teenagers
  • Politics
  • Possible Topics
  • Local Issues
  • Environmental
  • Issues

Choosing Your Topic

  • Something you like/interested in.
  • Something you already know a lot about.
  • Feel strongly about it (like you could argue about it with someone).
  • You’ve studied it already.

Topics

  • Gun ownership
  • The death penalty
  • Scottish Independence
  • Marijuana being legalised
  • Nuclear weapons
  • Immigration in Scotland
  • Gangs
  • Prison sentences
  • Gay/lesbian/Bi-sexual rights/legalising marriage
  • War

Jig-saw Task

  • Each group is going to be given a topic to think about. As a group I want you to try to come up with as many possible discursive titles as possible. You do not have to choose one from your group. You will have a chance to hear all ideas from other groups. There is an example on the next slide.
  • Animals
  • Should people be allowed to keep pets?
  • Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets?
  • Are zoos acceptable?
  • Should we experiment on animals?
  • Should we spend money trying to stop animals from becoming extinct?

Time to Move

  • Time to move! You will now move to a new group and each pupil will have a chance to teach the rest of the group about the area they looked at. Everyone should take a note of the main heading, for example ‘Animals’ and then the list of discursive essay questions.
  • Time to Move !
  • It is now time to choose your topic and your question. You can team up with another person (or persons) who have chosen similar topics. In pairs or small groups you are going to start to plan the two sides of your essays. Aim for three points on each side of the argument. You will have to present your ideas to another group who will ask you questions about your plan.
  • Choosing your topic and question
  • You will now take it in turns to listen to another group’s ideas. It is important that you take good notes because you will be assessed on how well you give feedback to the person/group you are listening to. Put the heading ‘Listening’ in your jotter and copy the following grid into your jotter:
  • Group Presentations
  • Listening
  • Topic
  • Essay Question/
  • Statements
  • Arguments For
  • Arguments Against
  • Arguments were clear and balanced.
  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • If not, what part(s) needs developed?
  • Listening
  • Also write down any questions you would like to ask or any more suggestions for essay questions/statements that you can think of.
  • Feedback:Talking
  • Ideas and Content
  • You are able to express very clearly to the speaker what you thought about their ideas and the content of their argument(s).
  • You are able to express clearly to the speaker what you thought about their ideas and the content of their argument(s).
  • You are able to express quite clearly to the speaker what you thought about their ideas and the content of their argument(s) but some points could be made clearer.
  • Knowledge and understanding in terms of language choice.
  • You are able to comment very clearly on the speaker’s choice of language.
  • You are able to comment clearly on the speaker’s choice of language.
  • You are able to comment quite clearly on the speaker’s choice of language but some points could be made clearer.
  • Communicates meaning on first hearing.
  • Your feedback is very clearly understood by the speaker.
  • Your feedback is clearly understood by the speaker.
  • Your feedback is quite clearly understood by the speaker.
  • Significant aspects of non-verbal communication are used (body language)
  • Your body language shows very clearly your thoughts and feelings.
  • Your body language shows clearly your thoughts and feelings.
  • Your body language shows your thoughts and feelings but could be used more effectively.
  • We have discussed ‘Animals’ as one of the possible topics you might choose. To test your close reading skills you are now going to complete a close reading paper about koalas. If you are planning on making your discursive essay about animals, this might also be of use to you later on.
  • Reading

You should now have everything you need to plan out your discursive essay and then, after some discussion, to write your first draft. At National 5 you should be able to write complex, technically accurate texts by:

  • You should now have everything you need to plan out your discursive essay and then, after some discussion, to write your first draft. At National 5 you should be able to write complex, technically accurate texts by:
  • selecting and using appropriate complex language
  • organising writing appropriately
  • using appropriate spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Writing
  • For (1) Explain, expand, exemplify
  • For (2) Explain, expand, exemplify
  • For (3) Explain, expand, exemplify
  • Against (1) Explain, expand, exemplify
  • Against (2) Explain, expand, exemplify
  • Against (3) Explain, expand, exemplify
  • Planning your argument
  • Provocative opening
  • Balanced opening
  • Quotation
  • Illustration
  • A statistic
  • A question
  • Planning your argument
  • How will you begin?
  • Planning your argument
  • Topic sentences
  • You must include a sentence at the start of every paragraph which makes it clear what this paragraph is going to be about (the argument you will use). Remember to use some linking words/phrases too!
  • Conclusion
  • You conclusion should:
  • Sum up your argument
  • Link back to my opening point/statement
  • Have your own personal opinion

Remember to include a bibliography (a list of sources) at the end of your essay on a separate page. The next few slides explain how to lay out your bibliography.

  • Remember to include a bibliography (a list of sources) at the end of your essay on a separate page. The next few slides explain how to lay out your bibliography.
  • Finally...Sources

How to write a Bibliography

  • A bibliography is a list of books, compiled for various reasons.
  • Commonly :
  • a list of all books written by one author.
  • a list of books consulted by an author when writing a particular book.
  • a list of all of the reference works (books, papers, etc.) that an author used for background information to write a paper, essay, or book.
  • a list of books thought to be useful on a particular subject.
  • a list of writings with time and place of publication (such as the writings of a single author or the works referred to in preparing a document.)

author (surname, initials)

  • author (surname, initials)
  • year of publication,
  • title of book (italics or underlined),
  • edition (if applicable),
  • publisher,
  • place of publication (place and state, if not a capital city).
  • Books

Books - Examples

  • One author: Healey, J 2001, Alternative energy, Spinney Press, Balmain, N.S.W.
  • Two or more authors: Gibson, A & Fraser D 2003, Commercial law, Lawbook, Pyrmont, N.S.W.
  • Charlesworth, S, Turner, J N & Foreman, L 1999, Lawyers, social workers and families, Federation Press, Sydney.
  • No author: McGraw-Hill dictionary of chemistry, 2nd edn, 2003, McGraw-Hill, New York.Book with an editor
  • West, S (ed.) 1996, Guide to art, Bloomsbury, London

Newspaper article - Print

  • author (surname, initials)
  • year of publication,
  • 'title of article' (in single quotation marks),
  • newspaper name (italics),
  • date,
  • page number/s.

Newspaper article - Online

  • author (surname, initials)
  • year of publication,
  • 'title of article' (in single quotation marks),
  • newspaper name (italics),
  • date,
  • page number/s.
  • date it was viewed,
  • .

Internet

  • author/editor (if identified) (surname, initials)
  • last update (if identified),
  • title of article (italics or underlined),
  • name of sponsor,
  • date it was viewed,
  • .

Internet - Examples

  • With author: Ward, C 2004, Australian bush fires burn on, Disaster Relief, viewed 10 January 2005, .
  • Without author: ‘Space flight’ 2003, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, viewed 29 December 2007,
  • Your first draft is due in on_______.
  • Self-Evaluation:
  • I have proof-read my work to check that:
  • My introduction grabs the reader’s attention
  • Every sentence makes sense
  • There are no spelling errors
  • I use capital letters when needed
  • I vary my word choice
  • My punctuation is accurate
  • I have used topic sentences
  • I have used some linking words/phrases
  • I have backed up each argument with evidence
  • My essay is balanced
  • I have given my personal opinion at the end
  • First Draft Deadline


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