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Discourse in Writing
by Emma Worrall
- lesson plan - the procedure

Stage 1

Interaction: S/S/T
Time : 15 mins
Aims: To introduce the topics of watching television and reading books. To encourage students to use some of the vocabulary from the essay.


The students will discuss the following question "Which do you prefer doing in your free time, reading books or watching television? Why?". If students do not use specific vocabulary from the essay which I think they might find difficult (i.e. current affairs and soap operas), I will introduce the words in the class during feedback by asking about the students favourite types of TV programmes and books.

Stage 2 Ordering the article

Interaction: Groups/T
Time: 10 mins
Aims: To encourage the students to use passive knowledge of a variety of discourse markers and to make assumptions about the logical order of the essay based on content words.


Students will be given the sentences of an essay (see appendix) cut up on strips of card. Students will be told the number of the first paragraph to help them start. The teacher will monitor help and encourage the students to reassess sentences put in the wrong order. Students will blutak their ordered essay onto large pieces of card.

Stage 3 Checking

Interaction: Groups/T
Time: 4 mins.
Aims: To provide a model of the composition in paragraph form. Students will check their essay.


The students will check the original essay (in paragraph form) on an OHP (see appendix 4a). Students are given their own copy of the original essay for them to assess and mark any queries

Stage 4 Personal Response

Interaction : Groups/T
Time: 7 mins.
Aims: To an encourage an affective response to the article.


Students will give an affective response to the article by ticking the things they agree with and crossing the things they do not agree with and putting a question mark next to anything they do not understand. Students will discus in their groups how many things they agreed and disagreed with and will help with question marks before checking with the teacher.

Stage 5 Language Work

Interaction: Groups/Indiv/Whole class/T
Time: 15 mins
Aims: To encourage students to notice the discourse markers (which will be known to the students as "linking devices") used in the essay and to categorise them under the following headings:
generalisation/contrast/addition/personal opinion/conclusion/ and ?- if students are unsure.


Ask students how they put the essay together. Ask what linking devices are then they will highlight the linking devices that they recognise on their photocopy of the essay. Students then check their linking device choices against those underlined on another OHT copy of the essay (see appendix 4b). The teacher demonstrates one example of a discourse marker for each category. Students will then go to the board and stick cards with the linking devices written on, under the correct categories of discourse markers on the board. If any corrections are to be made students will be encouraged to work it out for themselves.

Stage 6 Group Writing

Interaction: Groups
Time: 15 mins.
Aim: To work together to produce the missing sentences from their essay using their knowledge of the content words and discourse markers.


Students in group(s) A will remove the following sentence cards: 9,5 and 8. Students in group(s) B will remove sentences 7,2 and 10 from their essays (see appendix 2). They will have strips of paper to write their new sentences on and they will be told that they have to reproduce the missing sentences from their essays, whilst keeping the same meaning and using appropriate linking devices (which will be on the cards on the board for the duration of the exercise) and that they will have the use of the help cards if they struggle to reproduce the sentences. Any fast finishing groups will help the other group or they will be asked to choose 2 or 3 discourse markers, that are new or which they never use, to copy into their notebooks with example sentences.

Stage 7 Dovetailing

Interaction: Groups
Time: 15 mins
Aim: To analyse their completed essays and check cohesion and the correct usage of the discourse markers. To reflect on their choice of language and be given the chance to make any changes to their work.


The students will regroup and be shown, via the model on the board, how to rearrange their sentences. The original sentences (apart from the first and last two sentence cards) will be discarded and students will replace them with their versions of the essay, thus sentences 9,7,5,2,8 and 10 will be the students own work.

Stage 8 Homework

Aim: To consolidate/practise and give students the opportunity to reproduce the discourse markers in a further discursive essay model
(see appendix). From Instant Grammar Lessons). This will be checked in the next class.

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