Question and Answer Technique

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Controlled writing


6.30a.m                       -           get up

6.35a.m                       -           wash up

6.45a.m                       -           put on uniform

7.00a.m                       -           eat breakfast

7.15a.m                       -           go to school    

7.30a.m                       -           school starts

10.00a.m                     -           go to the canteen

10.20a.m                     -           go back to the class

12.45p.m                     -           return home by bus


Write the answers to these questions in a paragraph.

1.         When do you get up?   (I usually ...............)

2.         What do you do first?  (First,I...................)

3.         What do you do next? (Next,I..................)

4.         What do you do then? (Then,I..................)

5.         When do you go to school?   (I...................)

6.         When do you come home?    (I...................)

7.         How do you come home?      (I..................)

Narrative writing (Chronological organization) - Picnic

1.        Where did you go last Sunday?

2.        Why did you go there?

3.        What did you take with you?

4.        How long did the journey take?

5.        What was the first thing you did when you reached there?

6.        Where did you park your car?

7.        What did you do after parking the car?

8.        What did you see?

9.        What did you do after that?

10.      Was it a hot day?

11.      How was the water?

12.      How did the swimming make you feel?

13.      Where did you have your lunch ?

14.      What did your parents do after lunch? What did you do?

15.      When did you return home?

16.      Did you enjoy yourself?


Last Sunday my family and I went to the Waterfall Garden for a picnic.  My mother made some sandwiches and tea to take with us.  We took some lemonade as well.

The journey to the Waterfall Garden took two hours.  We found a shady place beside a stream.  We parked the car and went for a walk.  We saw some wild orchids and many beautiful butterflies.  After the walk, we went for a swim.  It was a very hot day and the water was cool and refreshing.  Soon we were hungry.  So we had lunch under the trees.  After lunch, my parents read newspapers while my brother, sister and I went back to swim.

At 3 o’clock, we got out of the water and had some lemonade.  An hour later, we returned to the car and left for home.

Building Blocks of Composition

1.         Focus on sentence building

            a.         The grammar of the sentence (word order, grammatical rules e.g.subject-verb

                        agreement) (Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Preposition,

                        Articles, Exclamatory)

            b.         Ability to choose a sentence patern that is most appropriate for his purpose in the

                        context of a specific piece of writing.

             c.         There are situations where one or two sentences is all that is required for an act of communication.

2.         Focus on paragraph writing

            *          Writing involves organizing ideas, constructing sentences and arranging them

                        Into paragraphs.

            *          A paragraph is a distinct unit of thought.

                        -          It may contain a topic sentence – a sentence that states the main idea of

                                    the paragraph.

            *          In a well-written paragraph, each sentence has words or phrases that link it to the

                        previous sentence. This is to ensure cohesion in the paragraph.

                        Connecting words may be

a.       Pronouns (he,she,it,they,this etc) that refer back to a noun or pronoun in

           the previous sentence.

b.        Logical connectors (however, instead, yet etc)           

c.        Sequence connectors (next,then,after that,finally etc)

d.        Linkers (but, so, and, although,though, thus, so, because, as a result, if, therefore, unless)

3.         Using specific words instead of general words

            A composition is more interesting if you make use of specific words instead of general



a.   General  :  One day, a boy and his friend went to the lake to fish.

Specific  :  Last Saturday, Hanizan and Badrul went to Tasek Perdana to fish.

b.   General  :  They took their things, some food and drink.

Specific  :  Badrul carried their fishing rods and a bottle of worms.

                 Hanizan brought some sardine sandwiches and a few bottles of orange


·     Saw  :  looked, stared,noticed

·     Went :  ran, walked, cycled

·     Cooked : boiled, roasted, fried

·     Said : answered,replied, announced

·      Meat : chicken,beef,mutton

·      Cars : Proton Saga, Toyota

·      Building : clinec, bank

·      Tree : coconut, rubber, angsana

·       Noise : bang, crash, bark

·       Music : pop, rock, tradisional

·       Vehicle : scooter, bus, jeep

4.         Using details to make a story interesting

When we read a story we want to know ‘and then’ what happened.  We want to know what happened first, what happened next and what happened finally.  But this is not all we want in a story. We want the story to be real for us. We want to be part of the story.  We want to be able to see the people, things and places in the story. We want to understand how the people in the story feel and think.  One way a writer helps us to do this is by giving plenty of details.

Example (a)

One day a boy was walking on the road.  There was a lot of traffic on the road.  He saw a cat running on to the road.  He stopped the cat.  The cat’s owner thanked him

Example (b)

It was a fine day.  The sun was shining.  The birds were singing and Mohan felt really happy.  He sang as he walked to school.  When he came to the main road there was a lot of traffic.  The road was crowded. There were buses, lorries, cars, vans and motor-cycles.  It was noisy.

Suddenly Mohan saw a cat.  It was beautiful.  It had thick, white fur and a long tail.  It was trying to cross the road!  Mohan knew the cat would get killed.  So he ran and caught the cat.  He gave the cat to its owner.  The owner was very happy.  She thanked Mohan and said he was very kind.

***  Always write with questions in mind :  5W 1H  (What, Where, Who, When,Why, How)

*** An Interesting piece of writing always appeal to the senses (sight, sound, taste, touch,   smell)


English Teacher Website

About Girija Nair And Meena Mohan Das

Ms. Girija Nair is an experienced teacher of English Language in primary and secondary level since 1980. She secured her teaching certificate from Raja Melewar Teacher’s Training College, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia (1980). She also has a  Diploma in ESL from University of Malaya, Malaysia (1987), a degree in TESL from University Pertanian Malaysia (1996) and a Masters degree in Speech and Language Pathology from University of Malaya, Malaysia (2002). Apart from everyday teaching, She also works as a  Teacher-trainer in various academic programmes organised at the Ministry, State and District levels.She is also well-known as an Examiner in oral and written forms. Sheis also actively involved in various co-academic programmes involving teachers and students. In recognition of her contributions, she has been awarded the Excellent Service Award in 2005 and 2008 by the department of Education in Malaysia.She has been appointed as a Master Teacher in 2010 and is currently teaching in Palong Timur Secondary School. She is also involved in preparing modules and exam questions at the state and district levels.

Mrs. Meena Mohan Das is an elementary school teacher in Malaysia since July1988. She was born in Kluang, a district in the state of Johor. She obtained her certificate in Teacher Training from Mohd Khalid Teacher’s Training College in Johor Bahru, Johor. Her first posting was in Kupang Primary School in Kedah where she taught for six months. Thereafter, she moved to LKTP Felda Kemelah Primary school from 1989 to 1990 and subsequently to Sri Skudai Primary School in December 1990 till present. She has been the Head of the English Language Panel since 1995 in the present school. She has also been a recipient for a Merit Award in 2006 for excellent performance in school.  She obtained her Bachelor of Education in TESL in University Putra Malaysia in 2002. In 2014 she graduated from University Teknologi Malaysia with Masters in Teaching of English as a Second Language.  The research topics done are “Use Of Mind-Mapping and Flashcards in Vocabulary Development among Year 5 Students” and “Process Writing to Enhance Writing Abilities among Year 5 Students”. She has co-authored a journal with Dr Shanthi Sandaran on “The Importance of Vocabulary Development for English Language Teaching and Learning: The Malaysian ESL Context”. 

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