“Give a person a fish and he/she will eat a meal, teaches
him/her how to fish, he/she will eat for life”

Few weeks ago, I began to contemplate about the above adage when my students expressed their inability to grasp the concept of English writing.

Their fear of failing their English writing exams aroused my curiosity and led me to venture into the task of simplifying the process of composing a stimulating and
thought provoking piece of penmanship.

To ease their concern, I recited, and wrote on the board, the above adage. At first, it didn’t accomplish its intended objective. Actually, it turned my students into baffled and confused young individuals.

That prompted them to question my logic and insanity. With anger apparent in their voices and puzzled looks on their faces, they shouted “What does fishing have to do with English writing”

To calm them down, I requested that they should be patient and permit me the chance to elaborate. I informed them that the adage stands true for English writing. Impatiently, they asked me to explain to which I was more than delighted to oblige.

I explained to them that writing should be taught as a concept and not as a subject. The title of the course should be “The conceptual art of writing”. Of course, they asked me about its meaning.

Passionately, persistently and persuasively, I told them that it means treating all kinds of writing as a concept that would apply to any topic.

It leads the students to come up with a format that would allow them to easily compose a piece of writing about any issue in English or any other language.

The process should be done systematically according to the following steps.

• Students must create an intriguing title, which should be neither too short nor too long

• They should make an outline for their topic of interest. The number of items in the outline indicates the number of paragraphs.

• Each item of the outline ought to be expanded into ideas. The number of ideas in the item shows the number of sentences in the paragraph.

• The paragraphs are combined bearing in mind paying attention to coherence.

• Revision must be made to create an eloquent, stimulating and thought provoking piece of writing.

Of course, writing for academic purposes, especially essays, compositions or research papers, should follow the format, which includes introduction, details or main and conclusion.

Introduction should casually mention or refer to the focus of the composition or the essay. The introduction must focus on general ideas pertinent to the topic.

The transition from one sentence to the next must be done smoothly, which could be accomplished using conjunctions.
The details or the main ought to explore the issue at hand from various perspectives including the writer’s own views.
The points of views must be supported by persuasive and valid arguments and examples from the writer’s own life experience and learning.

The conclusion could the summary of the key points of the composition or the essay, the general views regarding the topic discussed or the writer’s own opinions pertinent to the issue at hand.

Articles differ from academic writing. Article writers take advantage of the “Poetic license” that grants them the freedom to ignore the standard format and be flexible in composing their articles in order to be able to put their points of views across to their readers.

I hope that my article will be published and printed to be used by writing teachers to open forums of discussion with their students bearing in mind that final and international exams are approaching.

Helping the students to get rid of the irrational fear of writing exams is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of teachers everywhere.

Guiding our students toward acquiring optimistic attitudes pertinent to writing exams would be playing a major role in securing the future of our universe.

Author's Bio: 

Holding an honorary professorship from China, Sava Hassan is a Canadian author, poet and educator. He had published three books and wrote numerous articles in various topics in Canada, USA and China. For a year, he was writing an advice column for a major English magazine in China. Sava, occasionally, writes articles for several Chinese English Newspapers. He won several writing awards including four from China.