Lesson 11. Choosing a title!

In the next lessons we will work together to write an essay using the same style of organisation as the sample essay on living in Reading. You’ll each choose a unique essay title, so you will need to think about a topic that interests you, and that you know something about already.

You’ll develop an essay title that begins:

Discuss the reasons why…

You will then add your own topic to the end to complete the title. To give you some ideas, here are some titles that students have chosen in the past:

  • “Discuss the reasons why football is a popular sport in Italy” (Giorgio, Italy)
  • “Discuss the reasons why the marshlands in Iraq are popular with tourists” (Majid, Iraq)
  • “Discuss the reasons why more and more young children are learning English early in China” (Chaohua, China)
  • “Discuss the reasons why people choose to live in Beijing” (Li, China)

Although it is important to make use of our personal background knowledge when we write, academic writing is not usually personal. Instead, academic writing should be impersonal or objective. Writing in an academic way involves observing the world as an onlooker. Perhaps the best way to understand this is to imagine that you are inside a house looking out through a window, writing about facts and situations as you see them rather than experiencing them yourself. As you become a more experienced writer, you may learn about other academic genres that require more personal involvement, but when you are beginning to write, it is important to learn how to write objectively.

The choice for your own title is very wide. Just choose a topic that you are interested in, and that you know something about. You should also make sure that the topic is not personal.

For example:

A former student, Ali (from Saudi Arabia), chose this title for his essay:

Discuss the reasons I am interested in studying Plant Sciences

Why did I tell him this was not a good title?

  • Ali’s title was too personal. remember my title was ‘Discuss the reasons why people chose to live in Reading’, not ‘Discuss the reasons why I want to live in Reading’.
  • Ali needs to make his title more impersonal, for example, ‘Discuss the reasons why Plant Sciences is an interesting subject to study’.

You will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas for essay titles in the final step of this week.



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