Argumentative and expository essays will form the main part of your composition writing syllabus in Secondary 3 English.
You will discover that:
A) You need actual content and not a figment of your imagination
B) You need to organise your content into concise portions – Main point and counter-argument and rebuttal point.
I will discuss 2 Steps in this blog.
The first is, how to gather content and the second is the organisation part.
How To Gather Content For Secondary 3 English Essay
The Dos and Don’ts of Gathering Content
I) Do not simply turn to Google and look up a topic that matches your question.
Most Secondary 3 English students will blindly copy the main points from there.
If you are going to add your own views to the main points, that will be fine.
Do not only use the points which you see there.
Some of them may have been updated a long time ago and will no longer be applicable.
II) Be in tune with current or trending topics
Do this instead.
If you read the newspapers, Hurray!
If you do not, watch the latest bulletins on the news channels.
Alternatively, go straight to Youtube and look at the dates of the news posted.
Look out for the latest speeches or updates pertaining to your Secondary 3 English topic.
Then match it with other news which will be in the drop list below.
Sift through it and find something which you understand and can write.
This will create more interest in your Secondary 3 English essay.
You will find that your marks will definitely increase as your arguments will have more weight.
The best way to gather content over a long-term period.
I will prefer the newspapers or the news channels.
Breaking news reports on the internet only report the most urgent and current news.
There are several news bulletins which the internet does not cover.
Read Popular Topics such as climate change, environmental hazards, lifestyle changes, travel restrictions, health topics relating to COVID19 and etc.
Choose your favourite topics if you do not really have a reading habit.
I do not want to pile on the entire world’s news on you.
All that I wish to do is to get you to select your favourite topics.
Choose 2 areas. If you prefer technology and AI, then read those.
All of the topics listed above are very popular Secondary 3 English exam topics.
If you prefer sports, then read that but that is not always in exam questions.
The most popular are lifestyle topics and you will have that human-interest topic which asks you questions like ‘Why do people prefer to eat out than cook at home?’
This is a lifestyle topic and this means that you will have to think about what people are doing today.
Discuss modern trends and how people spend money and time.
All these are very important.
I will discuss next how you can organise your points into the Main Points, Counter Argument and Rebuttal.
I will explain what this means in detail.
Organising Your Points
In Secondary 3 English, you will be doing argumentative and expository topics.
Though narrative and reflective essays will still appear in your Secondary 3 English exams, your syllabus will focus mainly on these.
What you need to know
Firstly, as mentioned earlier, you need Content.
That means facts, the stuff you read in the papers, etc.
Next, you need to organise this in Points.
Question: Do people prefer to eat out rather than at home?
This is an argumentative question. You need to mention peoples’ tastes.
You may organise this into 3 Main Points.
Example of Organising Main Point
Main Point 1 – People prefer to eat out as they do not have a choice. Most of us lead hectic lifestyles and we need to take our meals in between work and courses. Lunch is definitely eaten outside and some of us need to do that for dinner too as there is no time to go home and eat.
(The point here stresses on lack of time. That is the reason for people to eat out as they work.)
Main Point 2 – Many people prefer to eat out as it saves time cooking. Cooking requires someone to buy groceries from the market, cook it and then clean the kitchen. Many households comprise of working couples. There is no time for doing all of these as they will prefer to eat, do their work and rest.
Main Point 3 – The allure of fast food. Many families prefer to buy fast food. It is cheap and has packages for everyone in the family. Children prefer fast food like McDonald’s and it has great business even during Covid.
I have 3 Main Points, but I need counter arguments for each one.
How To Write Counter Argument Points
First Main Point – People have no time to come home and eat
Counter Argument 1
The counterargument is that some people may pack their food and eat it at school or work during their break. This is useful especially when people have an acquired taste for home-cooked food. Home-cooked food can be refrigerated and heated up for them to take to work.
Second Main Point – It saves time cooking and cleaning
Counter Argument 2
Though many people prefer to eat out, it can become boring after a while due to a lack of choices. There are recipes for microwave cooking where cleaning up takes only 5 minutes. And cooking is a matter of seasoning and microwaving.
Third Main Point – The allure of fast food for families
Counter Argument 3
Though families prefer to eat at fast food outlets as their children like it, it may not be the best choice for adults. Most adults will not like McDonald’s food as it has processed meat. This is not healthy even for children. And this will not be a good idea on a daily basis.
The Counter Argument shows the Flip Side of each main point.
That is all you need to do in Secondary 3 English. If you can do this, you are set to move on to the rebuttal point.
You may have just one Rebuttal Point which has a strong point about why people will prefer to eat at home instead of going out.
And it should not repeat the counterarguments.
Example of Rebuttal
Home-cooked food is usually traditional food. It comprises family recipes handed down from mother to daughter or son. Every family will have its own collection of favourite family recipes and they will prefer that to eating out as it will be more delicious. It is an acquired taste. And there is more variety now with internet recipes where many exotic menus can be downloaded for free during the Covid times. Home-cooked food is also cheaper if you take into account that groceries can be kept for a week.
This is the way a rebuttal should be done in Secondary 3 English.
By the time you have finished it, it should be clear that though most people will prefer to eat out, some will eat at home.
Your Stand is that people will prefer to eat out as your 3 Main Points have already proven it.
These are the techniques you will need to learn and practice in Secondary 3 English.
By the time you reach Secondary 4, you should know it by heart.
It takes a bit of practice to get it right but your Secondary 3 English standard will improve.
It is a bonus for those of you who do not like narrative and reflective writing.
Just make sure that you are well informed and observe what is going on in your society.
And apply the Secondary 3 English strategies I have discussed.
You will reach your goal in no time. Good luck!