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HOW CAN TEACHERS HELP STUDENTS WHO HAVE ISSUES WRITING AN INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH



Image; source / credit to: https://kobowritinglife.com/2012/10/14/six-tips-for-engaging-readers-within-two-seconds-the-hook-in-fiction-and-memoir/


ESL teachers cannot deny the fact that some students always have issues in writing the first paragraph of their essay. Some students waste time thinking of what they should write for their introduction. How can teachers help them?


Surely, there are always different ways to address the issue mentioned above. One of the effective ways is to know about some hooks or techniques for writing an introduction. The following hooks are not new. In fact, they have been practised by so many teachers and learners for so long. However, the examples below are linked to the second essay question which Malaysian ESL learners have to write in the SPM 1119/2. Hopefully, the sample paragraphs shared below can help Malaysian learners understand the hooks or techniques explained below.




Technique 1: Use repetition

Money! Money! Money! All of us need money. Each of us has our own ways of spending money. Surely, I wish to spend my money in my own way. (29 words)


Technique 2: Listing

Buying a bungalow, Ferrari and diamond ring will be a reality when I have a lot of money. I am not rich but I have my own ways of spending my money. (32 words)


Technique 3: Pose questions

Should I buy new clothes? Is buying revision books more important? How should I spend my money? (17 words)


Technique 4: Describe the setting / nature

A peaceful lake, with its cool morning breeze, surrounded by virgin rainforest is where my new fishing rod and I dream to be. It will be a reality soon. (29 words)


Technique 5: Flashback / Personal experience

Last year, I managed to save RM700 and bought a Samsung smart phone for my father. This year, with more savings, I plan to buy a better gift. (28 words)


Technique 6: Have a series of verbs

My brother stands in the long queue, waits patiently and later takes out his credit card and pays for his Gundam toys. Unlike him, I am very particular with the things I buy. [32 words]


Technique 7: Strong emotion/s

I always hate it when my brother spends thousands of Ringgit buying expensive toys. He is already 30 years old! I will never spend my money the way he does. [30 words]


For sure, students need to practise to apply at least any three of the seven techniques. They should not rely only on one technique or hook. Teachers should give a few more essay questions for students to explore their preferred techniques of writing an introductory paragraph. This activity can be initially carried out in groups as students can work together to write an introduction based on a chosen hook or technique. After some time, the writing activity can be done in pairs and finally, individually. Happy sharing with your students and happy exploring!


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