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The knack of writing a good essay in a subject like history is a skill which is a challenge to acquire for many students, but immensely rewarding and useful.The ability to carry a reader along with a well-crafted argument is no easy feat, since it involves carefully synthesising the creative arts of the storyteller with the scientific rigour of the evidence-driven empiricist.
▪The teacher should take an article available in a digital format (e.g.
from the History Today archives), paste it into a Word document, and then remove all of the paragraph marks and (as a final act of stylistic sadism) make it ‘fully justified’.
▪ Using quotes in essays is too often a technique used by students to avoid thinking for themselves.
Worst of all is the paragraph which is effectively a potted summary of another writer’s point of view.
▪ An adequately constructed essay will consist of isolated analytical statements.
▪ A well constructed essay will consist of analytical statements, linked together in a logical way.In other words, give a very brief overview of how you plan to tackle the question.▪ Start each paragraph with an argument (analysis).For each one, copy it down and then underneath explain ▪ What loaded assumptions are within it.▪ Why these are quite obviously completely and utterly wrong.Students then have to guess the title of the essay from the results.If a writer has clearly focused on the command terms then these will appear at a higher frequency in the word count and therefore will be displayed more prominently in the word cloud.Students should then be presented with this essay from hell, and challenged to deduce by reading it carefully where they think that each of the original paragraphs began.This can then lead into a discussion about how a writer determines when to start a new paragraph – for example, when they are about to make a brand new point in relation to the question, ▪The teacher should take an article available in a digital format (e.g.This can then lead into a discussion about how a writer determines when to start a new paragraph – for example, when they are about to make a brand new point in relation to the question, ▪ Take a model essay or an article provided by your teacher which answers a central question.▪ Now examine past exam papers to see what other questions have been asked on this theme.