How to Teach Essay Writing


Most teachers want their students to be successful and get excellent grades. Essay grades contribute a lot to overall academic success; thus, educators must know how to teach writing effectively.


To do that, it’s crucial for the teachers to thoroughly understand the process of crafting an A+ worth academic paper step by step. If you want your students to learn essay writing, you first need to ensure that you’re an expert at it yourself.


Still, whatever amount of information you possess, you can’t give it all away in one lesson. It’s better to divide the material into small portions and present those to your students gradually. Start from the basics and then move on to the more complex aspects.


Teaching Essay Writing Basics

Essay writing is a very complex task. However, basic essay writing is what every student can master if given clear instructions.


The elements of essay writing that you should teach first of all include 

  • formulating a topic;

  • creating an outline;

  • composing a thesis statement;

  • developing the three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion.

Essay Topic

There are many aspects of teaching essay writing, but nearly every essay writing technique starts with choosing the right topic. Your job here is to help your students understand what makes a topic a good or a bad choice. 


First of all, it’s important to explain to your students how topics relate to essay types. There are many of them, but for a start, you can give these three main types as examples:

  • expository;

  • analytical; 

  • argumentative (persuasive).


Depending on the type, any topic can be formulated in different ways. Show relevant samples so that your students can see the difference. Next, give them examples of how a broader topic can be narrowed down to become more specific and engage the reader.


Finally, give your students some freedom of choice. As a teacher, you know that it’s possible to write a paper on any topic – we could even craft an essay on how to write an essay! But your students might prefer a paper on comic books – so, give them that privilege.

Essay Purpose

After the topic is formulated, proceed with explaining the importance of defining an essay purpose. Many instructors don’t pay attention to this crucial step when they teach essay writing. Meanwhile, not understanding the purpose leads to difficulties like vague thesis statements, irrelevant arguments, and wrong conclusions. 


Usually, the purpose of an essay is already encapsulated in its topic, so it shouldn’t be too hard to define it. You can also provide examples to illustrate how it works.

Essay Examples

Even if you explain things thoroughly, students may still have difficulties writting an essay. That happens because most people learn from examples. Thus, while providing brief examples on every step is essential, it’s also important to present full-text sample essays to show your students a holistic picture. 


These examples should be hand-picked, of course. You can use some of the A+ works of your former students for that purpose or even some of the more accessible media publications – book or movie reviews, for instance. You can write an exemplary essay yourself and highlight all the important aspects as well.


However, remind your students that though they can use examples when practicing writing essays, the ideas should always be their own.

Essay Outline

Crafting an outline is an essential essay writing skill because every good paper should start with a detailed plan. So, if you teach essay writing for beginners, devote sufficient time to this aspect to ensure that every student has learned how to make a proper outline for their essay. 


Firstly, explain to them that a typical essay is comprised of the three main sections: 

  • introduction;

  • body;

  • conclusion.


As we know, these sections usually encompass five paragraphs, but it’s worth mentioning that it shouldn’t necessarily be so. However, for beginners, it’s fine to start with a typical five-paragraph essay.


To help your students get a better idea of how every paragraph should be written, practice paragraph writing. Many students search “teacher paragraph writing” on the Internet because they don’t quite understand what exactly they’re supposed to do. Guide them through the process of writing just one paragraph on any topic to make things easier for them.

Tips for Essay Writing Teaching

Hopefully, this article has cleared out some questions you might have had about how to teach writing skills to your students. In conclusion, we’ve put together a list of useful teaching tips. Enjoy! 

  1. Encourage Students to Practice

Good explanations are essential for students learning to write essay, but so is regular practice. So, it’s vital to convince your class that they should practice writing essays as often as possible if they want to learn to do it well. 

  1. Foster Reading 

Good writing starts with reading; therefore, encourage your students to read good books. Give them a reading list or just share some of your favorites during the lesson to help them make the right choice.

  1. Be Attentive 

Teaching essay writing can be pretty formulaic, but every student has his or her own issues with the subject. Thus, you should adjust your approach accordingly. Be as attentive to every person’s unique needs as possible, and you’ll be able to help to write an essay that will really stand out. 

  1. Never Stop Learning 

While it’s vital to stimulate students to develop, you shouldn’t forget about your own professional growth. There are many books on how to teach writing skills, and your job is to find and read them attentively. There are also courses aimed at helping teachers hone their own essay writing skills, and it’s a good idea to take them too.

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