Express yourself clearly…

Very often, I would use an analogy to explain something to the students, not only to get the point across but in the hope that it will stick in their heads. I mentioned one of them briefly in my comment on Yan’s recent post.

This has got to do with writing an article or a factual essay. I would tell them that it is like going to the toilet. Firstly, you will have to open up or unzip and then you let everything out but with a sense of direction, not haphazardly, otherwise you can imagine the mess you will make…and at the end of it all, you have to close or zip up your pants. In the case of writing, the opening (unzipping) refers to the introduction. Only after introducing the topic should they present the content points, organised and presented properly in paragraphs and finally, they must close (zipping up), that is include a conclusion.

Another one that I would use as well is to compare it to the human body. They must start off with the head – the introduction…

Stick figure 1

The introduction must not be too long. Imagine having a head that is too big – the person will end up like Humpty Dumpty, I’m sure. It must not have any content points as those will come in the body proper. You do not get to see hands and legs sticking out of people’s heads, do you?

Then, they can move on to the body – the body proper, two arms and two legs representing the main points in the essay….

Stick figure 2

…and they will have to elaborate on the main points. Surely, a human must have hands, fingers, feet and toes and flesh (…in my case, lots of it! LOL!!!). The ideal human being, as we all know, must not be too skinny – just skin and bone…and must not be too fat either (…and at this point, I will stop and pose to show off my sexy body and that would never fail to get the whole class in stitches!!!).

Having done that, there is just one more thing they will have to do…

Stick figure 2

They have to close or cover up. Just imagine leaving the poor fella naked! But the conclusion must be short – brief enough to be sexy and alluring and long enough to cover the vital part! ROTFLMAO!!!

Of course, for the SPM Examination, I would encourage students to write stories instead. Imagine how dreary it can get when you are marking a centre of over 300 candidates, all of them telling you that your body is made up of 65% water…and their figures never agree! Some can even go up as high as 90% and I for one, would love that very much! Yes! I’m not fat! I’m just full of water!!! And can anything be more depressing than over 300 candidates telling you that obesity leads to hypertension, diabetes…and you will die of a heart attack?

Everybody loves stories, even simple meaningful ones. Why do you think the works of the late Yasmin Ahmad appeal to so many? But then, when they are writing stories, all the above need not be applicable anymore. That, I would say, is a different story altogether…