Quirky works Watch 'David Mitchell's Soapbox' at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2011/sep/15/david-mitchell-soapbox-climate-change-doubters-video Spot the following techniques: Irony and humour Rhetorical questions Repetition Questioning Hypothetical examples Emphatic tone
Picking your target David Mitchell doesn't take a wide topic to consider, such as 'the environment': he narrows the focus down to argue against those who deny climate change. Why is it effective to narrow your focus like this? Have a look at other David Mitchell Soapboxes – they may give you an idea for your own topic! http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/series/david-mitchell-soap-box
Looking through windows Most topics – even ones which are commonly considered, such as euthanasia, animal rights, the environment, etc – are incredibly complex and cannot be adequately covered in a 500–1000 word essay or 5-minute speech. It is therefore necessary to narrow our focus as much as possible and explore the topic in depth. There may be a number of issues we could consider, a number of 'windows' we could look at the topic through; we have to choose which one.
School uniform School uniform is a topic which is tackled (perhaps too) often by candidates. But what do we mean by 'school uniform'? What 'windows' could we look at the topic through? What might come under these headings?
Explain, expand, exemplify How do we focus? First, we explain our point. Then, we expand on the reasons why we think that. Finally, we exemplify our point with an example from real life and/or a hypothetical example.
Think about David Mitchell's argument. Explain: people who don't think climate change is a danger should prove to us that it isn't. Expand: every scientist thinks climate change at least might be a danger, so if it is possible we shouldn't take the risk and continue to damage the planet. Exemplify: (a) if there is a lot of evidence that our house is on fire, we don't carry behaving as if it isn't just because we don't have proof; (b) if there's a possibility that a toy is even remotely dangerous to children, we withdraw it.
ExplainExpand Exemplify 1.School uniform is expensive for parents The annual cost of kitting out a child is excessive. While most clothing can be bought as and when needed, parents have to buy uniform just before the return to school, meaning a heavy one-off burden in August. If a family has several children, that burden is multiplied many times over. Many items of school uniform are flimsy – skirts and shirts – and quickly wear out. Replacement adds to the expense. 2. 3. 4. Take some of the arguments about school uniform given in slide 7. Briefly note how you might explain, expand and exemplify those arguments
Your own writing Take a section of writing you have already done: it might be a blog or tweet, notes from a previous exercise or an old essay. Try to develop that writing using explain, expand, exemplify.
Peer / Self Evaluation With a partner, share a piece of writing you have each produced using the EEE structure. Compare each other’s writing, commenting on the following success criteria: – Does the writing Explain a point of view clearly? – Does the writing effectively Expand that point of view? – Is a sensible Exemplification of the point of view offered?