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Letter to KiasuParents on Writing Purposeful Compositions

Dear KiasuParents,

Many of you are active contributors on the KSP forum. You communicate through writing to other parents like you. You understand and are understood. Your writing skills serve you well, to inform, clarify and persuade. We want our children to, like us, be able to write well to achieve their purpose.

Brain Dojo

Indeed, all writing is done for a purpose. Educators would refer to the 4 areas which need to be considered when writing, as Purpose, Audience, Context and Culture (PACC). At the PSLE, while the Situational Writing component requires the student to inform, clarify and persuade, the Continuous Writing task has an entirely different context and purpose. It requires imagination and its purpose is for a reader to derive pleasure through a work of fiction.

We all know that no author of a work of fiction sits down, starts writing and submits what he has written in the first sitting to a publisher. It just does not work that way. As Ernest Hemingway puts it, “All writing is rewriting”. In fact, students in school, write and rewrite their compositions till their final version is their best possible. This is known as the process writing approach. However, the PSLE is a one-time final writing task which requires students to hit bull’s eye with just one arrow! Understandably, this may cause some anxiety.

Most current approaches to teaching composition writing focus on plot, through some version of the Story Mountain or on good phrases to score in the vocabulary component worth 20 out of the total 40 marks. I submit to you that using stock phrases such as “azure blue sky” and “magnolia white clouds” will not do the trick. Teachers who are the primary audience for your child’s composition could read at least 20 compositions in one sitting. How does one stand out among a pile of so many compositions? Plot based approaches though useful to create structure also miss the mark in a crucial way. There is a key element in the Continuous Writing task which must be sufficiently addressed to get scores above 30.

If this element is addressed comprehensively, a score above 30 is possible even when the words used are not bombastic. This is where, pardon me, I make my pitch. At The Brain Dojo, students will learn a novel approach to plan their compositions so they become clearer on where the bull’s eye lies and how to hit it, each and every time they write a composition. The tutor has written a book on this approach which will be released later this year. While this is not a silver bullet, it is definitely an effective approach with proven results. 

I promise there will be no more suspense when your Primary 5 or 6 child attends classes at The Brain Dojo.

To demonstrate confidence in this novel approach and the overall teaching methodology which applies also to the oral and language use components of the PSLE, the first twenty sign-ups will receive a special one-month money back guarantee. This is to say, if your child does not improve his or her overall score at the mid-year exams, compared to the score of the previous year, you will receive one month’s worth of fees back.

Hoping to serve you and your child soon.

The Brain Dojo

The Brain Dojo

Address: Bishan Street 24

Telephone: 92382575

Email: sensei@thebraindojo.sg

Website: http://www.thebraindojo.sg

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