By British Council team, British Council in Singapore

28 August 2017 - 12:14

Which areas does your child struggle with? Understanding their problem areas and having a conversation with their teachers about this, can help guide them towards knowing how to improve. 

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1. Generating ideas

The best way to generate ideas is to brainstorm clearly mapping your ideas and then determining which ones are more relevant than others. Mastering techniques such as mind maps are essential to ensure success as they allow you to organise your arguments and structure your compositions effectively.

2. Supporting ideas with clear evidential points

As you map out your ideas it is a good idea to also map out supporting evidence. This allows you to determine which ideas may provide you with more to write about. It also allows you to determine which arguments are more valid and which seem thin or weak. Adding clear evidence to each point you make bolsters that point and makes it stronger in the eyes of the reader. 

3. Linking ideas back to the main idea of an essay 

This is essential to show the reader that you are connecting your evidence and ideas to the ‘bigger picture’. You need to be able to show that your ideas are not tangential and that they build towards answering a larger question. 

4. Utilising literary techniques in a naturalistic way i.e. not memorising phrases in a rote manner and regurgitating

The worst essays contain regurgitated phrases that have been ‘crowbarred’ into the composition. Often the memorised phrases ‘stick out like a sore thumb’ mostly because they aren’t accurately used and therefore seem forced and artificial. 

5. Planning and organising ideas into a coherent flowing structure

As with generating ideas above – you should be prepared to brainstorm to create a plan of action for your composition. Don’t just rely on your own ideas, ask your friends for theirs. Sometimes group planning can generate better compositions as the ideas show multiple perspectives and are more creative with a great variety of thought and rhetoric on display. 

Learn more on our English courses and camps for kids and teens