Getting the most out of planning your essay
Before constructing your plan make sure that you have:
• Read the journal article (must refer to and cite the quote)
• Studied the slides with the supplementary notes to understand the brief (Study Materials)
• Reviewed the section in those slides and notes on possible structure
• Organised each session’s slides and supplementary notes
• Read the Marking Criteria and Road Map for Success (Assessment)
Now you are ready to structure your essay: start with a title drawn from the quote
Now sketch the introduction – this will be re-drafted when the essay is complete to ensure that it reflects what is in the body text and conclusion – in order (sequential) and in full (specific). You include brief references (full details/examples/critiques are offered in the body text) to your focus and rationale for exploring whether teaching implies learning. State which learner group you have selected and briefly why. Make it clear you will be exploring learners’ personal beliefs using two theories of self and three theories of motivation and their social circumstances using three sociological theories – all these are set out thematically in S1 slides and notes. Indicate that you will define motivation itself and its two forms to contextualise the role of the teacher/educator and their role in promoting one specific form. Finally make brief reference to your conclusion (i.e. does the literature suggest that teaching does/does not imply learning?). Remember to be clear about which theories you are including – name them, cite the name/date of the theorist(s).
Note: you may include more points than suggested here, that’s great! Just apply the ‘be specific, be sequential’ rule. You may do it in a different order, that’s fine, these are just suggestions
Now for the body text, remember to define terms on first use, always cite, offer examples/contexts/critiques and the rule is ‘one idea/one paragraph’:
• Our focus for exploring learning and motivation is academic underachievement
• Offer a statistical context (show it’s a problem) and a rationale (why it matters)
• This is the context for exploring motivation theory because it suggests that a learner’s personal beliefs are critical to learning taking place, so you discuss motivation and its loci (forms) early on. You might find it useful to contextualise these using the control continuum perhaps drawing attention to a teacher’s main aim and what happens in schools
• Introduce your learner group and describe (with citations) the issues they might be facing. Your learner group helps you demonstrate your understanding of motivation having age-specific issues and how different theories can come into play e.g. expectancy-value, attribution and social cognition for these learners, you might find it useful to use the psycho-social continuum here
• To demonstrate your understanding of diversity you explore this through intersectionality, stating what bio-socio-cultural characteristics are and which one, according to the literature, is the most influential
Having set the scene, we now focus on the underachieving learner and their personal beliefs:
• You are going to discuss/critique what their levels of self-efficacy and self-determination are likely to be and the role of the teacher in raising these using the three theories of motivation we have covered. In each case go back to the slides and notes and your wider readings to demonstrate your understanding of each and any models/matrixes they comprise. Keep your learner group in mind – what might their ‘states’ of being be?
• This section will comprise several paragraphs (remember: one idea/one paragraph)
• You can choose to do all three theories in order (from simple to sophisticated) and then refer to teacher applications, or you can opt for theory/application three times
You need to refer to social factors, we used Ecological Systems Theory to explore and capture these through five systems. Again, defining terms on first use, these systems can be sprinkled throughout your work where you find them most appropriate.
Covering Cultural Reproduction Theory is useful towards the end of your essay because it reminds us of our focus and how important life chances are (nationally and personally) and how if we don’t address these (on many fronts, we concentrated on motivation theory), nothing will change (link with Social Justice).
In your conclusion, draw previous points together, it’s useful to use the quote again here to answer the question ‘Does teaching imply learning?
Don’t forget the word count and the plagiarism statement.
Any essay follows this pattern:
Tell your reader what you are going to tell them (introduction)
Tell them it (body)
Tell them what you’ve told them (conclusion)
• Define, define, define, cite, give examples, critique (strengths and weaknesses of a theory), contextualise (Socratic questioning: who, what, where, when, how, why, who cares?)
• Once you have a solid plan you can start where you feel most confident and then link paragraphs together – making them flow, of course
• Don’t be constrained by word count from the off, get it all out on paper and then draft, re-draft and edit, read your work out loud to identify clarity, repetition, punctuation, grammar and syntax errors, proofread, don’t just rely on a spell checker
• 1.5 line-spacing and wide margins required for marker’s comments
• Citing and referencing – use the Ed Studies referencing guide to check each entry
Be confident, you know this stuff
Type of service: Academic paper writing
Type of assignment: Essay
Number of Sources: 30
Academic level: Undergraduate
Paper Format: Harvard
Line spacing: Double
Language style: UK English