STUDY & TEACH "WRITING NARRATIVE COMPOSITIONS/ESSAYS (Not less than 250 words)" Part 1 in Form Four - O Level English

STUDY & TEACH "WRITING NARRATIVE COMPOSITIONS/ESSAYS (Not less than 250 words)" Part 1 in Form Four - O Level English

Welcome to UNIT 12.4

PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 12.3, we discussed about the various ways of teaching the sub topic “Writing argumentative compositions/essays” in Form Three.          

IN THIS UNIT 12.4 (Part One & Two), we will cover the sub topic “Writing narrative compositions/essays (of not less than 250 words)” in Form Four.

Sub Topic: Writing narrative compositions/essays (of not less than 250 words)
Periods per sub topic: 8.
Class: Form Four.

This sub topic is the continuation and revision of the Part One of sub topic "Writing Narrative Compositions/essays (of not less than 200 words)" of Form Three. Click this blue link to see the whole topic. This topic has the same materials and teaching modality. However, the only difference is in the number of words per composition or essay. For instructions on how to count words in an essay see How to Count Words in a Composition.

Every person has his/her past to tell. And in telling his/her past, he/she recalls the events that happened in the past. Thus, the students like other people, have to tell how past events happened and how they reacted to these events if they were among of the people involved in the particular events.

Part 1: Writing an account of events that happened in the past.

In this Part One, the student should be able to write an account of events that happened in the past. The student should be able to tell or narrate a tale, a story, or event that happened in the past. These events are most commonly real; the events that really happen in our societies.

This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, a teacher will have to prepare a variety of texts especially those on account of various past events. The teacher will also have to have the teaching materials like dictionaries, encyclopaedias, internet, and newspapers. The stories about what happened may be found on the internet sites, and newspapers.

  1. Target Practice. Show them/Guide them to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, teacher will guide students to practice how to write events by using past tense and by using the forms or various narrative styles.

  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library. In the library, students can find various stories or texts about what happened in the past.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations. In this sub topic/lesson the most commonly applied vocabularies are: Revise, edit, organise, brainstorm, feedback, draft, compare, contrast, worst forms of child labour and other related vocabularies.

Guide the students to the full lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:

Activity One: Teacher leads a discussion with the students on various topics and asks students to select one topic from the range of topics a teacher will have mentioned or shared with the students. These should be most common issues of the society drugs trafficking, early pregnancies, early marriages, afforestation, family conflicts and the plight of children working in the mines.

After selecting a topic, a teacher now introduces students to the writing processes. Most of these writing processes have been covered on this blog. The link "Writing Narrative Compositions/essays (of not less than 200 words)" has all the writing processes required for writing about past events.

Activity Two: In this activity, students and teacher together, they brainstorm, list down and organise ideas in an essay format. In this activity, students are grouped in pairs, and the teacher walks around to check and assist them as they list down ideas and outline an essay.

Activity Three: After successful planning and organising an essay, teacher asks students to write the first draft in their pairs. As they write their first draft, a teacher walks around to check what they do and assist them in case they are confused with the work.
When they have written their first draft and for the purpose of bringing the meaningful writing tasks, students in pairs exchange their works and revise and edit their work focusing on the content of the topic.

The teacher moves around again from group to group or from pair to pair encouraging interaction among the students as they work on checking the relevant of the content of the works of their fellow students. If the teacher wishes, he/she may give them the checklist of what they should look for as they revise the content of the works.

In another section of this activity, students are asked by the teacher to return the works to their fellow students, and then they start to work together in their respective pairs or groups to correct spelling errors, punctuation, capitalisation, and other mechanical errors.

Our life is made successful with writing. We can't say other language skills are not important. No, but they are perfected by writing just as writing is perfected by other language skills.
Ask students how they get past events at home or at school. Actually, some students will say they get them from their parents or grandparents or others. At school, they will say they get them from teachers, friends and from the History subject. This is how past events are experienced in the real life.

A teacher should design an evaluation for students by using appropriate assessment tools like oral questions or assignments so that to see if the students are able to write an account of events that happened in the past.
Ask students to narrate what happened in the past focusing on the day they started Standard One in Primary School, or generally, narrate what interesting event happened during their whole Primary School years. Other areas where events may happen are birthdays, weddings, graduations, rallies, public holidays, religious holidays, and demonstrations.

Writing is a productive skill. After learning all four language skills during teaching and learning processes, finally the students will have to sit down and write the final exams. This highlights that writing is the necessary skill if a student really wants to excel in the final examinations. A teacher should emphasize this skill just he/she emphasize other language skills.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.


Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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