9 Sep 2013

Writing to Argue 'Being Bossy is a Good Thing'

 ATeacherWrites.com
This is a 'writing to argue' piece that I did with a student aiming for Common Entrance. When she sits, the topic will be 'Heroes', so bossiness was an interesting way to consider the issue of leadership. This is pitched fairly high and would work equally well at GCSE. The
clean version is first; scroll down to find the annotated version.

The main techniques used were:
1. Rule of Three
3. Imagine if...
See if you can spot them.

Being Bossy is a Good Thing
Bossiness gets things done. It’s the drive to push, make things happen and get control when things get out of control. Imagine if there was an earthquake and no one took charge, bringing medicine, food and water. Casualties would skyrocket, and recovery would be slow, or impossible. Whenever disaster strikes in poorer countries, like Haiti, bad organisation always results in much higher death tolls than in better organized richer ones.

The traditional view of bossiness is that it’s a dirty word. Call someone ‘bossy’ and it’s an insult. People constantly moan about their ‘boss’. We don’t always like to be told what to do or to be controlled, and our first reaction is to rebel - to blame the person in charge. If you don’t like being told what to do, why not become your own boss? It’s all too easy to blame the person in charge for making your life difficult - like teachers for setting rules you don’t like. However, they are often for your own good. You might not like being told to work hard, but if you don’t work hard at school, you won’t achieve your potential and could end up working on the checkout at Tesco for the rest of your life. Imagine, zapping millions of tins of baked beans, your fingers going numb and your brain trying to escape out of your ear, going home and sobbing because you can’t even afford beans on toast, and all you have is one soggy cream cracker and not even any cheese to go with it. 

Imagine a world with no one in charge. The world would be chaos if there were no adults because children would have no one to tell them they couldn’t drive the family car. There would be constant car crashes, and no one to help people even if they did manage to crawl to hospital. Everyone would be drink driving - while texting - on the wrong side of the road. You wouldn’t learn anything and people would die every day because no-one would have any medical knowledge whatsoever. Imagine if there were no Royal family, no police and nobody to help. Most of the population would be in debt because they couldn't be bothered to pay; shops would close down and then we'd all starve. With no one in charge, there would be only disaster (etc).




How to Write to Argue:
Bossiness is a Good Thing / Money is Not the Root of All Evil
[Start with a strong, controversial statement.] Bossiness gets things done. [Then explain, what is bossiness? Give three examples - a rule of three - without repeating the word bossiness.] It’s the [1] drive to push, [2] make things happen and [3] get control when things get out of control. [Finish the paragraph with an imaginary situation.] Imagine if there was an earthquake and no one took control, bringing medicine, food and water. Casualties would skyrocket, and recovery would be slow, or impossible. [Give a very specific example from the news to prove point] Whenever disaster strikes in poorer countries, like Haiti, poorer organisation always results in much higher death tolls than in better organized richer ones.*
*this example is from the LEDC/MEDC case study of responses to natural disasters in Geography. If you are studying History, take an example from there - or from the English Cricket team or whatever you like!

Now see how this same method works for a completely different topic:
Money is Not the Root of All Evil 
[Controversial, short statement] Money makes the world go round. It [1] lets you get paid when you go to work [2] allows you buy what you need and [3] makes life so much simpler. ['Imagine'] Imagine trying to buy a house without money. What would you trade? What if the other person didn’t want to swap houses with you and you didn’t have a million eggs - or whatever the house might be worth? [very specific example to prove point] Civilization advanced far more rapidly once money lending allowed investment, and the development of the stock market. Without the development of money, civilization would not be where it is today.

The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.