In this lesson, we are going to read a paragraph about problems in education on the U.S. and reflect upon the similarities and differences with our country. Then, we are going to learn strategies on how to structure a paragraph.
• Compare educational issues around the world to the Brazilian context.
• Write a paragraph about educational issues following the rhetorical movements of introducing a topic, supporting ideas and concluding.
• Reflect about the process of writing and the approach employed by the teacher in this process.
• Reflect upon the selection of source material.
Writing a Paragraph: Product Approach
1) In pairs, discuss the following questions:
• What problems can you see in the Brazilian educational system? • Do you think different countries have similar problems? Have you heard anything about it?
2) Read the following extract from an essay and discuss in pairs if you agree or disagree with the author.
• How can you guarantee a reading piece is appropriate for your students? • What strategies can you employ to overcome difficulties?
First of all, parents need to be more involved in their child’s education. Simply ensuring that homework is completed or making a concerted effort to stay informed about your child’s progress in school can impact the effort that the child will the put into their learning. On the other hand, some research has indicated that parents who are too involved, or place too much pressure on their children can actually have a detrimental effect on their schooling. Thus, if we are to believe that parental involvement is a potential problem within the US education system, parents need to be more aware of what they can do to help their children succeed in school.
Second, teachers are struggling to cope with the pressure and the demanding responsibilities that come with this profession. This is leading to an increasing number of teachers who burn out or simply choose to quit. To illustrate, in 2006 statistics showed that forty six percent of new teachers quit their jobs within the first five years. This alarming evidence shows how great of a problem this is in the US education system.
Finally, literacy is critical to a student’s ability to grow and learn. There are a number of studies that show that many a student cannot read on grade level. This has even led to students dropping out because of the struggle that they face to learn and understand their work. It appears that more attention must be paid to preschool and elementary education to ensure that the basics of reading are learned properly from the beginning.
A paragraph is a basic unit of a text, expressing a single idea. Commonly, a paragraph is organized in three rhetorical movements: the topic sentence, the supporting sentences and the conclusion.
Begin with a topic sentence: state the idea you are going to develop clearly in the beginning of the paragraph.
Add supporting sentences: Supporting sentences: the arguments to support the main idea you are defending, that’s been made clear in the topic sentences. Always keep in mind that the supporting sentences have the intention to prove and exemplify why the argument you are defending is true.
End with a concluding sentence: a sentence that summarizes your paragraph. In other words, you restate the main idea with different words.