Essay #3: Arguing a Point
Your Writing Task:
Choose one of these two directions and craft your thesis and essay to support the point:
- It is not the business of high school or college to teach "basic life skills" (changing a tire, frying an egg, sorting laundry, or filling in a tax form). A smart person will pick these skills up; schools should focus on academic subjects.
- Because of the breakdown in traditional family and village structure, there is no way a young person can learn "basic life skills," so schools which want to produce successful adults really should have specific courses to teach these skills.
Choose a side; give reasons for your choice and a possible strategy for dealing with Petre's problem.
Suggestions for Success:
- Keep control! If you really do think that Petre is an absolute [obscenity] moron, name-calling doesn't make your case. Academic writing isn't about screaming and abuse; it's about giving reasons that your point is correct.
- Not too long ago, schools did teach courses such as Home Economics and Shop so the girls would know how to manage a home and the boys would know how to handle tools (very sexist, I know). Why did we stop doing so? (Or did your high school have such courses?) What have we put in place of that kind of practical learning?
- Do you know of anyone like Petre? Are you in the same situation yourself? What advice would you give?
- An example such as this one tempts you to lose track of the original point you were making. The long description of your friend's employment disasters will lead you to a description of his romantic disasters and his housekeeping disasters, and you will never get around to answering the question of the assignment.
Examples and illustrations exist to make your point more vivid, not to simply provide entertainment (or to fill up the essay length requirement).