Has your teen ever had comments like ‘extend your points’
or ‘expand your writing’
or ‘more explanation needed’
on their work?
What about something like ‘give more detail’?
Have they ever struggled with those analytical tasks, like essays or expositions or inquiries? Ending up waffling around one point, rather than going deeper.
Well, I’ve got a simple way for them to respond to those situations and up the quality AND detail in their writing.
There are a LOT of different tasks and assignments these days where students have to provide extended explanations and be able give detail by linking points together.
And I know that many find it hard to know HOW to actually make or explain those links, or go into detail on issues or case studies without ending up going round in circles, repeating themselves or ending up in the ‘waffle zone’.
So, here’s what I get students to do.
Simply ask at the end of a statement or after an explanation or key point:
In other words:
Why is that significant?
What does that or did that, lead to?
Who or what was impacted?
In what way?
What did that next point then mean?
i.e. Ask ‘So what?’ AGAIN!
What was the knock-on or secondary effect, or what were the impacts of that next point, that next event or linked fact?
Let’s use a quick example.
Take the case study of the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
We’ve got the basic facts, the simple descriptive statements, like:
– it measured 7.0 on the Richter scale,
– Haiti is a less economically developed country located in the Caribbean.
But let’s now ask ‘so what?‘ after each of those.
This is where we get into the effects and the detail.
SO, as a result of the 7.0 earthquake over 180,000 homes were destroyed.
Okay, now ask again, so what?…
SO, this left around 1 and a half million people homeless.
These homeless people were accommodated in over 1100 squalid camps with limited services such as water and sanitation.
Well, now we can bring in the other statement of fact – that Haiti is an LEDC (less economically developed country).
So… because of poor facilities and sanitation, disease became a huge problem, for example Cholera claimed the lives of several hundred people mainly children.
Do you see how we’re now not only extending our explanations of the impacts, but also interlinking the facts and information we started out with.
All by asking ‘SO WHAT?’ at the end of each point.
Have your teen give this a go, with particular focus on seeing if, in those extended explanations, they can also connect different factors or pieces of research.
Because it’s those interlinkages that really show a higher level of analysis and explanation 🙂
And if you know this will be useful for your teen then go ahead and give this a like (on FB) or a thumbs up (on YouTube, and if you know anyone else who could benefit from this tip, then please go ahead and share it with them, and until next week, let’s make this a fantastic week.