How to Teach 'Expository compositions/essays (not less than 250 words)' for Form Four Students

How to Teach 'Expository compositions/essays (not less than 250 words)' for Form Four Students

Welcome to UNIT 13.4
PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 13.3, the sub topic “Creative writing” was covered in Form Three.       

IN THIS UNIT 13.4, the sub topic “Writing expository compositions/essays (not less than 250 words)” in Form Four will be covered.

Sub Topic: Writing expository compositions/essays.
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form Four

(Also: For Literature in English Subject, Check out my Literature in English Blog. Also check out My Diary for Diary Writing Inspiration and More! )

Expository essays are commonly known as 'essays of explanation'. These essays are called so because they explain things especially factual information on certain topics or subjects. This why, most of subjects are written in expository form, because they give explanations of the various topics within the subjects.
In this sub topic, the students should be able to write factual information about various topics such as environment, cross cutting issues, corruption, child labour, human rights, women empowerment, democracy, international affairs, and the things like these.

The student should be able to write factual information on a topic/subject. The student should be able to write factual information on various topics/subjects by using appropriate essay writing formats and with appropriate explanatory language and expressions.

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.

In this sub topic/lesson: A teacher guide students to understand what is going to be discussed in this sub topic. The teacher has to guide students to revise this topic and discuss the various activities to work on.

  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: The teacher will apply various Sample compositions. You can also access sample expository composition in Form Three.

  1. Target Practice. At this point, teacher shows/guides students how 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: The teacher will guide students to practice some grammatical expressions such as conjunctions like; Besides; moreover, in addition..., In fact.
A teacher can prepare some examples to help students understand the correct usage of such expressions:
In fact, most students like to go to school but they are just hampered by some economic problems.
Parents have many family responsibilities in addition to school contributions.
In addition, students should help their parents.
Parents are responsible. Besides, they need help from the government.

  1. Context-Based Practice. In this context, the teacher has to explore and guide students to write creatively in various aspects like things and people at the School, in the street, or at home. These settings or contexts are real experiences for students. A teacher is not advised to ask students to write about the things that are not familiar to them. They should start with what they know.

In this sub topic/lesson: The teacher also has to guide students to the discussion of the sub topic/lesson activities by asking them to think about the topics or aspects about the school and the society in general. This means that when students are choosing the topics to write on, they should think of the relevant situations.

  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: Various vocabularies are going to be discussed in this sub topic/lesson. However, some of them are expressions on the stages of writing such as pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and final drafting or publishing (writing the final version of the work).


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

Activity One: The teacher will guide students to brainstorm on the sub topic/lesson and select the topics they would like to write on.
By brainstorming, the teacher should introduce Form Four students to this topic as revision. The students are to be reminded of how this type of composition is carried out. First, they should be guided to the discussion of the meaning and intention of the sub topic/lesson. Expository writing is defined as (including those on soil erosion, the plight of children employed in the mines or large plantations).

Activity Two: Teacher's Model. The teacher shows his/her model and tells the students the all requirements for writing an expository essay. Among of these expository essay writings are the steps of writing an academic document like an essay.

The common steps for most academic writings are:
(i)                 Pre-writing. This is the planning stage. Here the writer think about ideas and brainstorm on the issues to be covered in the writing. Here he/she determine all the ideas regarding who, what, where, when, why, and how of the topic.
(ii)               Drafting. Here the writer starts writing the work by using the ideas he/she has outlined, thought, or brainstormed in the pre-writing activities.
(iii)             Revising. Here the writer looks at the writing with the critical eye. He/she makes necessary changes. The writer also checks if sentences are clear, if the language used is appropriate and if he/she has presented the ideas logically among others.
(iv)             Editing. Here the writer checks grammar, sentence structure, word choice, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation of the work.
(v)               Publishing (Writing final draft). In this stage, the writer publishes the work and delivers it to the intended reader. The reader may be a teacher at school or other readers according to the type of the work.

Activity Two: At this point, the teacher has to guide students to write the first draft in pairs or groups.
As it is in writing activities like these, the teacher is advised to move from one pair to another or from group to another while providing required assistance to the students.

In pairs or groups, students are guided by the teacher to edit and revise their work focusing on content and then on spelling. A teacher should give each pair or each group the guidelines to use when they are editing their works. For example, if the topic is one for the whole class, the guiding content may be the same, the variations in use of correct spelling and good grammar may be different.

For Parts of an essay and Teacher’s Expository Composition Samples CLICK PARTS OF AN ESSAY or 3 Parts of an Essay  

For how to count words in an essay (Remember this is the type of composition of not less than 250 words in Form Four), you can CLICK How-to-count-words-in-compositions/essays

Activity Three: We always encourage students to interact with others through discussion and sharing of materials. In this activity, students are asked by the teacher to post their compositions on notice boards for others to read.

Concessions: Transition Words.
For How to write a Well-Connect Essay by using Transition words, CLICK Requirements of a Good Essay.

Ask students to discuss how they find explanations of various things. Guide them to give examples of explanations they have experienced in life. For, example, we explain various things to people either at home, school, or at seminars and conferences. Therefore, the explanatory skills are important in our everyday lives.

The teacher should use relevant assessment tools like oral questions, drills, games, exercises, pair works, group works, and assignments so that to check if the student is able to write factual information on a topic/subject.

Assessment #01
Give students home assignment in which they will write an essay on the alternative topics they will have chosen. This and other activities will help the teacher to check the understanding of topics he/she has taught.

Assessment #02
Prepare some cards with a separate topic in each card. Ask students to form pairs or groups. Allow them to elect their leaders and ask the leaders to come forward and pick the card. The students should write an expository essay on the topic each group have found.

Sum up the topic by telling students the importance of having explanatory skills as a person and a student. As a person, explanations help to solve various problems that we face in our everyday lives. As a student, explanations help to be successful when we face various writing assignments as well as final examinations.

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.

This article is about how to study and teach "Writing expository compositions/essays" in Form Four. As a student or teacher, you might have your opinion on how to study and teach this sub topic/lesson?
Your opinion is worth and I believe that it can make these materials better for our own consumption.
You are Welcome!

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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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