Teaching Essay Writing

by J.  Erdenetuya

I teach Mongolian, old Mongolian script, literature, and English.  I have really enjoyed writing essays for my EXCEL homework assignments.  I realized that essay writing is a crucial skill for my secondary school students who will enter university.  So I have added instruction in essay writing to my usual curriculum in literature.  It was difficult at first for the students, but soon they were doing well.  This instruction has proven quite beneficial for my students. 

I teach essay writing in three stages.

Ø  First, the students read a new tale or poem.

Ø  Second, the students talk about the tale or poem.

Ø  Third, the students write their opinions and exchange information with each other.

As you can see, these stages are something like the three-stage lesson plan of presentation, practice, and communication.  So this process could be used both in the Mongolian literature classroom and in the English classroom.

For example, if I were teaching the tale Tall Mother by A. Dashdoorov, I would use the following plan:

Ø  Read the tale and the biography of A. Dashdoorov.

Ø  Talk about the tale.  Why was the woman named “tall mother?”  Was the mother good or bad?  Really, was the mother tall or short? 

Ø  Students exchange their own real information about their mothers, what makes a good mother, mother love, and so on.

Ø  Finally, the students write an essay about mother.

The essay should have the following parts:  good introduction, main point,  and conclusion. 

These days all my students are writing good essays!


Erdenetuya teaches at Secondary School #1 in Sainshand, Dornogovi Aimag.  She is a recent graduate of the EXCEL program.