COACHING ESL LEARNERS TO WRITE A CLOSING PARAGRAPH
Most learners have no specific technique to write the closure for their essay. In fact, some of them may have no idea on how to write their closing paragraph. Certainly, they need guidance. However, how can ESL teachers guide their learners? What techniques can be offered to them to end their essay?
An essay generally has three parts namely introduction, body and CLOSING. Each part has its features and techniques which learners must be exposed to and gradually master them. No doubt, writing is always the least favoured skill among learners, nevertheless, they do not have many choices. Whether they like it or not, learners have to know how to improve their quality of writing, if they aim to score well in writing assessment.
This write-up focuses on 7 techniques which can be employed to write the closing paragraph. The techniques shared here may not be alien to some teachers but the sample closing paragraphs are indeed new. It is not necessary for learners to master all the seven techniques. The following are the techniques and sample closing paragraphs:
TECHNIQUE 1: A SURPRISE
SPM 2015: Why is having good neighbours important?
INTRODUCTION: Personally, I will never forget Uncle Siva, my neighbour in Taman Tunku Intan, Balik Pulau, Penang. Uncle Siva is more than a neighbour to me. ….
BODY: …Uncle Siva’s deeds to the neighbourhood ….his selflessness ….incidents where he helped his neighbours …
CLOSING: We must love our neighbours. Everyone in my neighbourhood knows I love all my neighbours, particularly Uncle Siva. One day, I will be a permanent occupant in his house. Soon, I will be his first daughter-in-law. What a small world!
SPM 2013: Write a story about being alone.
INTRODUCTION: The cool turquoise water glistened in the sun. I could feel the freshness of the breeze from the South China Sea. It was my second day being alone on this tropical paradise. …..
BODY: ….saw nobody ….learnt to be independent ….survived on coconuts …caught fish…. so lonely …missed family ….
CLOSING: The sunrise on the seventh day was a bit jovial. As usual, I strolled along the beach for my morning walk …. I could not believe my eyes! A speedboat was approaching and I waved frantically … I was delirious with joy knowing that I would not be alone anymore.
TECHNIQUE 2: DESCRIBING NATURE/SETTING
SPM 2017: If you had the opportunity to move to another part of Malaysia, where would you choose to live? Explain your choice.
INTRODUCTION: Powerful waves crashed along the shore of Teluk Chempedak as the sunset revealed its mesmerizing beauty. I was in Teluk Chempedak last holiday and I fell in love with the place. …….
BODY: …..describing more about Teluk Chempedak ….providing solid reasons why Teluk Chempedak is the choice …
CLOSING: …. The serene secluded bay of Teluk Chempedak with its clear turquoise sea is a sight that I would never want to erase from my mind. Given a choice, it will always be a place where I would love to live.
SPM 2017: Describe the first time you went on a camping trip. You should write about the activities at the camp and explain how you felt about the experience.
INTRODUCTION: Unbelievable! Unbelievable! Really Unbelievable! I could hardly believe what I heard when Fiona, the most popular girl in school, invited me to join her in a camping trip. I was bursting with joy as it was also my first experience going on a camping trip. ….
BODY: ….describing the activities during the camp ….feelings
CLOSING: Before leaving the campsite, I managed to catch a blue butterfly. Moments later, I released the butterfly and watched as it fluttered and danced in the breeze. I said goodbye to it and all the trees, and boarded the bus home.
TECHNIQUE 3: A FUNNY THOUGHT
SPM 2018: Imagine you went to a big sports event. Describe what you saw, what happened and how you felt on that day.
INTRODUCTION: As a former school sprinter, I always missed attCLOSING sports events particularly the ones that involved athletics. I was all agog when recently I had a chance to support Malaysian athletes at the Asian Games. ….
BODY: … describing what I saw, what happened and what I felt …
CLOSING: Despite having to face the big crowd, I had no regret at all being there to watch the Asian Games. I wondered if the organiser would create a new special athletic event for retired athletes like me. Surely, veteran athletes like me could run but they must also ensure an ambulance on standby!
SPM 2015: ‘Honesty is always the best policy.’ Describe an experience when this was true for you.
INTRODUCTION: Last December, I had a chance to visit Korea with my family. It is not only one of the best family holidays but it is also a holiday that has taught me a great lesson about honesty. Our holiday began …
BODY: ….found a wallet in Seoul ….much money ….honest ….went to police station ….found the owner ….very handsome man, Jung Wa …like a K-POP star …befriended Jung Wa …
CLOSING: Jung Wa sent my family and I to the airport. It was hard to bid farewell as if we had known each other for a long time. …. I giggled as I thought about me and Jung Wa as a happy loving couple. Ha ha ha!
TECHNIQUE 4: GIVING OPINION OR ADVICE
SPM 2018: Some people complain that they have no free time. Discuss the reasons why they might say this and suggest how they could use their time better.
INTRODUCTION: When I was sixteen years old, I had no life. As a teenager, I felt like I was a machine or robot who was programmed by my mother to study, study and study. I had no free time at all. ….
BODY: …discussion on the reasons why some people claim they no time and suggestions for better time management ….
CLOSING: …. No matter who we are, we should be the one who is in control of our time. We must be the master who determines what would be our priorities ….
SPM 2015: Social networking has caused a lot of problems. How far do you agree?
INTRODUCTION: I am always irritated when some people simply blame social networking for the problems that have been happening in the society. Are they kidding? …..
BODY: …presenting ideas denying social networking as the causes of many other problems …
CLOSING: ….. We need to mirror ourselves. It is high time for us to re-examine ourselves first before we make any judgment.
TECHNIQUE 4: A LESSON
SPM 2018: Write a story about a teenager who had an unusual hobby. Explain what was the hobby and how the teenager’s friends became interested in it.
INTRODUCTION: Cooking, gardening, painting and reading are some of the common hobbies. Most people have at least a hobby, nevertheless, some individuals enjoy having unusual hobbies. …
BODY: ……descriptions of the unusual hobby ….ways how the friends became keen on the hobby ….
CLOSING: ….. My friend has taught me that having a weird hobby can change our life ….become famous …..can make money ….
SPM 2018: Describe a problem you once had while you were travelling. Explain what you did to solve the problem and what you have learnt from the experience.
INTRODUCTION: I quickly jumped out of my bed, ran down the stairs and grabbed my car key. I was already late to fetch my friends for our trip to Hatyai, Thailand. ….
BODY: ….the problem faced ….how it was solved
CLOSING: The experience taught me a good lesson. I learnt to be more cautious …. Another lesson which is worth shared is that ….
TECHNIQUE 5: DIALOGUE
SPM 2014: Describe an important family celebration and how you felt about it.
INTRODUCTION: My mother had not stopped yelling at my brother who had been procrastinating his task to decorate our living room. My sister and I were busy in the kitchen attempting to bake our first cheese cake. Everybody had a chore ….
BODY: ….giving descriptions about the important family celebration such as parents’ wedding anniversary ….feelings ….activities during the celebration ….
CLOSING: ….we were fatigue but satisfied ….everyone had a great time …. “I can’t wait for next year’s celebration!” I exclaimed.
SPM 2015: Describe what makes you happy and explain why.
INTRODUCTION: Money, money and money. It is the one and only thing that guarantees my happiness. Some may disagree with me but who cares. …..
BODY: ….more details how I spend money ….explanation how money makes me happy …
CLOSING: ….. hanging out with friends ….gave them a big treat … I ended my speech that night by saying “No matter what other people say, I always believe, money can give and create my happiness.”
TECHNIQUE 6: HOPE, DREAM, WISH
SPM 2018: Young people should be trusted to make their own decisions. How far do you agree with this opinion? Explain why.
INTRODUCTION: It is heart-breaking when one has to listen to every single thing dictated by one’s parents. It is also disappointing when one is not given any chance to be responsible for the decision he or she makes in life. …….
BODY: ….giving reasons why young people should be trusted to make their own decisions…..
CLOSING: …. I really hope parents will be more lenient with their children and allow more chances for their offspring to make their own decisions in life … It is also my dream to see ….
SPM 2014: Why are animals important to human beings?
INTRODUCTION: We cannot deny the fact that animals die mainly because of human beings. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the main threats for the survival of wildlife are deforestation and illegal hunting. ….
BODY: ….giving reason on the importance of animals to human beings …
CLOSING: ….. It is of my ultimate hope that mankind will do everything and anything to protect the wildlife ….we wish younger generations to join our efforts and save the endangered species ….
TECHNIQUE 6: A CLIFFHANGER
SPM 2016: Write a story about a time in someone’s life when music played an important role.
INTRODUCTION: Violin, guitar, cello and saxophone were displayed on the dusty shelf. Those musical instruments greeted all guests as they entered the mansion of Ahmad Ghani, a very renowned veteran music composer. ….
BODY: ….descriptions of events or incidents showing the important roles of music in Ahmad Ghani’s life ….
CLOSING: …. Although Ahmad Ghani had an incredible journey in the music industry, nothing could have prepared him for what would happen next.
SPM 2017: Write a story in which you had to keep a friend’s secret. In your story, give details of the secret and explain why it was important to keep the secret
INTRODUCTION: A tall, muscular old man was looking at me. His white hair, wrinkles and grey beard stood out for sure. He walked closer and I realised he was Dr Jamal, my best friend’s father. My best friend’s reminder not to reveal anything to his father was still fresh in my mind. …
BODY: ….giving more details about the secret ….the reasons why it was important not to reveal it …
CLOSING: Someone knocked on the door hard repeatedly. I took a deep breath and slowly opened the door. Dr Jamal was staring at me furiously and he demanded nothing but the truth about his son from me.
TECHNIQUE 7: QUESTIONING
The Malaysian tradition of having open houses is important and should be practised more. Do you agree? Give reasons to support your view.
INTRODUCTION: In 2018, there are altogether 35000 open houses held in Malaysia. It is appalling that Malaysians spent RM20.2 million to organise open houses during festivals such as the Eid, Chinese New Year and Deepavali. ….
BODY: ….explaining the the importance / benefits of having open houses …
CLOSING: … Can we deny the benefits of open houses mentioned above? What will it be like if open houses are banned? ….
SPM 2016: There are many things to do after your SPM examination. Write about your plans for the next three months and the challenges you might face.
INTRODUCTION: Gulp! Gulp! Gulp! I finish drinking the succulent watermelon juice within seconds. I stare the empty glass and start wondering what I should do when my SPM examination ends next week. ….
BODY: …describing Plan 1 and Challenge 1, Plan 2 and Challenge 2, Plan 3 and Challenge 3 ….
CLOSING: ….Will all my plans become a reality? What if I have to face more challenges than what I have imagined?
Some learners always depend on their ESL teachers to guide them throughout their learning process. They need their teachers not only to merely mention the names of the techniques but also give relevant examples. Hopefully, the sample closing paragraphs offered here will be helpful to teachers. I really hope my write-up this time gives some insights to ESL teachers on how to coach their learners end their essay effectively.