Situational Writing

In O’levels English Language Paper 1 (Singapore, Syllabus 1128), you will encounter The Situational Writing in Section B.

Section B:

You will need to write 250–350 words on a given situation which will involve viewing a visual text. The weightage (30 marks) is the same as Section C: Essay. Candidates will need to write a text of 250–350 words based on a given situation which will involve viewing a visual text (e.g. an email, a letter, an article, a report or a speech) to suit the purpose, audience and context.

How to score?

You will be graded according to your content and language. To get the top band for Task Fulfilment, you must show a very good understanding and clear awareness of the PAC (Purpose, Audience and Context).  

To get the top band for Language and Organization, your language must be accurate with hardly any errors in grammar, expression, spelling and punctuation. You must use a variety of vocabulary and sentence structures. 

To really, really shine, stand head and shoulders above your peers, your script must demonstrate a high level of personal engagement and inject your personal voice. Most students are caught in the Average-Marks-Belt because they are unable to differentiate themselves due to a lack of character in their writing or they merely copy or re-hash the points given in the stimulus.

Remember, your ideas and facts must also be well-linked and sequenced, such that the information presented is very clear.

Format:

What are the types of situational writing? 

  1. Formal Letter
  2. Informal Letter 
  3. Proposal
  4. Report
  5. Article / Newsletter
  6. Speech 

1. Understand what are the requirements of the question. 

The first thing you should do for situational writing is to analyse the prompt. A prompt is the brief passage of text (first few paragraphs) in the question paper and the visual stimulus that paints the scenario. Within the prompt, you should identify the PAC and apply the 5Ws brainstorm principle. Ask yourself, who am I writing as? This will help you to get into character (who are your writing as, are you a student leader giving a speech? You need to be mindful of your tone while elaborating on the important points in the prompt. 

Planning:

Identify the writer’s role – What is your role/character?

Format (e.g. formal letter, newsletter, article, proposal, speech, complaint letter, report)

P (What do you hope to accomplish through this speech/article/formal letter/proposal)? 

A (Who are you writing to?)

C (What prompted you to write this letter?)

2) Always refer to the visual stimulus / text given

Pay attention to the details provided, annotate by applying the 5Ws and 1H principle.

3) Structure your proposal

A general rule of thumb, the situational writing (except speech and article) should be divided into 6 body paragraphs in the order of :

Para 1 : Intro:

You should explain what is your objective of writing this and why they are writing it. This will show that they understand the objective and purpose behind the situational writing question.

Para 2 : Point One 

Para 3 : Point Two 

Para 4 : Point Three 

Para 5 : Counterargument + Rebuttal (if necessary) 

Para 6 : Conclusion

-summary of the whole proposal 

-a polite thank you for favourable consideration of your ideas

3) Language

Keep in mind these language tips you write, for a well-rounded and watertight proposal. 

> Write in present tense (predominantly) unless you are citing a past event 

> Be persuasive, respectful and polite. 

> Be clear and precise (describe with details your activity e.g. how you will be conducting the event)

>Each paragraph should have a clear topic sentence and connectors to make your writing more fluent and coherent.

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home based learning

Since the coronavirus pandemic struck, my household has become overwhelmingly crowded with my befuddled family members tearing their hair out, having been displaced from our school, work and our normal routines.

As part of the safe-distancing measure, MOE has made home-based learning mandatory from April 8 to May 4. Even at the end of the Circuit Breaker, students of non-graduating cohort will still alternate between HBL and school.

The sudden announcement by MOE on the implementation of Remote Learning, also known as Home-based Learning, HBL has turned our homes into virtual learning environments almost overnight. On one hand, the limitless reach of home-based learning allows students to have a more flexible schedule for their learning, but the variability of the learning environment has laid bare many issues such as the lack of interaction between students and teachers as well as the distraction students face at home, hence it does seem that classroom learning is more beneficial than home-based learning.

What are the benefits of classroom learning?

A recent study by Harvard University reaffirms the benefits of classroom learning, mainly because it produces better educational outcomes as students learn more in classrooms that employ active-learning strategies. Home based learning, compared to classroom learning primarily lacks the physical interaction and spontaneity.

Source: MOE

Communication plays a vital role in education. It allows the sharing of information, ideas and thoughts which contribute to the students learning. It also allows teachers to clarify information immediately, build positive relationships with students and make lessons more fun and engaging as compared to the perfectly lined up facts on computer screens. Not all schools have ‘live’ lessons, some schools direct students to courses or assignments uploaded at the Student Learning Space, otherwise known as SSL. For this form of home-based learning, students who need any clarification on certain subjects would have to wait for teachers to reply via emails or text which not only takes time, students may not understand when there is a lack of verbal explanation. In such scenarios, students who have access to online tuition will clearly stand advantage over their peers. Many tutors have given feedback that they been roped in by parents to facilitate their children’s learning because of the absence of ‘live’ lessons.

Mrs Helena Wong, mother of two children age 13 and 16, shares that only her elder daughter has ‘live’ lessons during this period of HBL. Her younger daughter who just entered Sec One, does not have ‘live’ lessons for all her subjects, instead her teachers gives her online assignments and communicates with her via email. Mrs Wong recognises the resource challenges that the schools may face in this unexpected times, however, she is worried that this lack of “FaceTime” will be detrimental for her youngest child (whom she describes as incredibly social and easily distracted). She points out that she has decided to engage tutors online so as to help her daughter stay on track with learning.

“With online private tuition, you get 100% of the tutor’s time. My daughter’s tutor has stepped up and guides her through the chapters, helping her with the weighted assignments whenever she needs the assistance.”

Student having online tuition

Classroom teaching allows teachers to sense if any students do not understand the subjects through “body cues” such as body language or expression. This is unable to be achieved when you have a classroom of thirty to forty altogether behind screens, teachers would not be able to observe the student’s body language individually as lessons are carried out through video recording. Even when there is communication through online meetings such as Google Meet, some students may feel shy and afraid to speak up in front of their classmates, hence this may impede the students learning and result in students not being able to truly understand concepts, eventually affecting their grades.

Some students may be kinesthetic learners, who strive on hand-on activities, which is something that home-based learning does not offer. In this digital age, where information can easily be found online, schools are no longer the gatekeeper of information. Education has become a social experience as the vibrancy of classrooms, the active learning is truly the reason why classroom teaching is the best medium for students. Students are intellectual beings that need to be engaged in an authentic learning environment and not just stare at their screen passively, spending the whole day communicating with their screens. No online learning platform can replace the vibrancy of classrooms and simulate it on a computer screen.

Some may argue that home-based learning is more beneficial than classroom learning as it offers flexibility to our learning. With online classes, most students can learn at their own pace. Classroom learning is not able to accommodate everyone’s learning pace due to the need to complete the curriculum with a fixed period of time. This results in the slow learners to face difficulty catching up with other students and may end up losing out to other students. However, with home-based learning, students are able to plan out their own schedule and study at their own convenience. Online learning can sometimes be more flexible as the materials are found online where students have the freedom to access it anytime. Lecture videos online also allow students to replay or fast forward the video as many times as they want according to their own learning pace, which gives students plenty of time to digest the information, practice and do their own research, which may hence improve their grades. For example, in Student Learning Space, students are given the freedom to complete their work posted on that platform anytime they want before the due date. It also allows students as well as teachers to monitor the students progress bar and be able to track their work. 

In this time of Covid-19 crisis (or haze may return again) and as we move towards being a Smart Nation, Home-based learning may become the ‘new normal’. Students, Parents and Teachers must learn to work together and fine tune the process of remote learning. In this VUCA world, online learning and HBL is definitely going to be a part of the future in education and it will complement to classroom learning. Although, on some levels, it cannot replicate the same level of interaction that a classroom setting provides, it can definitely complement a student’s learning, especially in our highly connected and globalised world.

GP Sample Essay Paper

GP Sample Essay Paper 1 : Technology save lives every day. From seat belts and airbags to medical instruments like MRI and medical lasers. More often than not, people tend to take beneficial technology for granted and prefer to pontificate on issues like invasive technology, loss of privacy that comes with the prevalence of surveillance cameras and such. It is an undeniable fact that we as a society is increasingly dependent on technology. Gadgets like mobile phones, tablets have become omnipresent. Technology has come a long way in helping mankind. It has enabled mankind to be more efficient and more recently, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, technology ranging from digital payments, telehealth to robotics. has played a pivotal role in reducing the spread of the coronavirus while helping businesses stay open. It has helped make our society more resilient in the face of pandemic and other threats. On the flip side, just as technology has been a boon for us. It has made us more vulnerable and in particular, reduced our privacy. Our over-reliance on technology could potentially have huge consequences if the very machines we rely on were to fail. Indeed, just as technology empowers us, it has also made us more at risk.

Source: CNET

Technology, particularly Artificial Intelligence has helped us greatly in our current fight to quell the Covid-19 pandemic. Healthcare facilities and technology companies here are tapping AI technology in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak. Hospitals such as the National University Hospital (NUH) are using a clinical chat assistant smartphone app by Singapore AI startup Bot MD, which helps doctors and front-line healthcare workers stay abreast with the fast-changing information around Covid-19. The app uses AI to power its natural language interface and to extract clinical information from large swathes of content from different data sources. In doing so, whenever clinical staff requires an answer to questions like who’s on-call or guidelines on hospital-specific protocols, they can simply type a query (and the app) will instantly respond with the right answer. In addition to this, AI is also used in temperature screening here. The IHiS and local medical tech start-up KroniKare have developed a solution called iThermo that uses AI to spot febrile people in a crowd, reducing the need for a manual process. Evidently, AI is a highly effective technology to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Another aspect in which technology has greatly empowered man is in the area of the military. With the advancement of technology, militaries around the world; from the nuclear technology of the Cold War between this US and the Soviet Union to unmanned drones today. Militaries are quick to embrace those as not only do they help in reducing casualties, but they can also help commanders make better choices. One such case would be the usage of unmanned aerial drones in battlefields such as in Afghanistan by the US military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for surveillance and battle purposes. These drones provide real-time footages of the battlefield and can be used to launch missiles to aid soldiers. Attacks by drones have led to success in killing key extremist leaders in Pakistan as well as Afghanistan. Even on the groin, guns are more advanced with functions such as ‘corner shot’ where a soldier can bend his weapon so as to look around corners without putting himself In the line of fire. This would most certainly be an impossibility in the past. Technology has greatly enabled the military to carry out tasks easily although ironically their reliance on it could also be their undoing.

Our over-reliance on technology has increased our vulnerability. Apps like the SafeEntry digital check-in system, which logs employees’ and visitors’ entry into businesses to facilitate contact tracing, can potentially help trace and prevent new clusters from developing.At the same time, this check-in system logs the names, NRIC/FINs and mobile numbers of individuals visiting hotspots, workplaces of permitted services,in order to facilitate contact tracing efforts. As we all should know, apps on cell phones emit a constant trail of longitude and latitude readings, making it possible for app developers to follow consumers through time and space. Location data are often triangulated with other, seemingly innocuous slivers of personal information.

In conclusion, it is beyond doubt that technology is greatly beneficial and Man should be truly grateful for that. But it is also important to acknowledge that we have become more vulnerable to new threats from cyber-attacks to solar flares.

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O’levels Paper 1

O’levels Paper 1 Student’s Model Essay:

Question: Write about an occasion when an inconsiderate act leads to drastic consequences

“Bang, bang, bang, buzzzzz,” the sound of the relentless pounding of the drill reverberated throughout the walls of my flat. The cacophonous sound had jolted me from my deep slumber. Bleary-eyed, I dragged myself towards the main door, hoping to find out who or what is causing such a din.

I opened my door and was livid to find that the entire common corridor has been filled with tools, wooden planks, stacks of old newspaper and old furniture. A long extension ladder was also placed against the parapet. It turns out that my new neighbour Dashen has been using the common corridor like his own workshop.

“Oh my gosh! Can you please STOP?!” I yelled, my voice shooting up 50 octaves, my eyes flashing angrily.

“Why are you making so much noise so early in the morning? Don’t you know you cannot block the common corridor? You are obstructing everyone. This is very inconsiderate!” I hollered again. Rage gripping me and anger flooding through my veins.

Dashen darted me a baleful look, flicked his cigarette, turned his head, walked back into his flat, ignoring me completely.

At this point, I could feel a vein popped out in my neck, my jaw thrust forward with indignation. I stomped back to my room to put on some proper clothing so that I can confront him.

Suddenly, an acrid smell hit my nostrils. It was smoky campfire-ish smell. I raced to the front door only to find thick gray smoke billowing in. Like a monstrous beast, it wolfed everything in its way. Nothing was spared. Flames ripped across the ceiling as if they had been shot from a flamethrower. At the corner of my eyes, I caught a glimpse of a burning cigarette that landed on the pile of newspaper.

 

Immediately, everything clicked.

Our inconsiderate new neighbour, Dashen, must have flung his cigarette onto the newspapers that he had left outside. The cigarette must have stabbed into a tottering stack of cardboard boxes intermixed with old newspapers and an old cabinet that was missing a leg. The suffocating smoke jolted me to my senses. I quickly reached for my phone and dialled 995. As I put down the phone, a thought struck me like lightning. Oh no! I have to alert Auntie Wong, our recently widowed, octogenarian neighbour who is living alone. I knocked furiously and frantically at her door. Just as I thought, she was home and had just woken up too.

“We have to get out of here! There is a fire!” I bellowed. Mrs Wong was hyperventilating. I took her hand and helped her out of her flat. There was choking smoke, so black and thick that it seemed you could grab it by the handful. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard a lot sound. Crack! Thud! The ladder that Dashen left outside the corridor had fallen, landing on Mrs Wong’s left leg. Gasping for breath, I mustered all my strength and pushed the ladder away, almost tripping over the debris. I picked the frail Mrs Wong up and carried her down the stairs. Just as we were able to go down the stairs, a loud boom echoed behind me and we were hurled forward. At this point, the firemen had arrived and managed to bring the both of us to safety.

After battling with the fire for close to four hours, the fire was finally extinguished. The police had also arrived and told us that there some flammable substances such as cleaning agents and electronic items in the old cabinet that Dashen had left outside the corridor. Dashen was also questioned by the authorities and the police took him away to assist with further investigation.

Dashen’s terribly selfish, horribly reckless act endangered everyone. Lives could have been lost because of such thoughtless act and careless oversights. Dashen’s inconsiderate act has started a disastrous fire which took have taken a heavy toll on innocent lives.

What exactly do examiners look for in a well written narrative or personal recount essay?

Content: Students need a well-organized story will have all three parts, and the ideas will be presented in a clear and logical way. Your story must be credible and not too far-fetched.

Language: To get The paragraphs will be set appropriately, with colons and semicolons used as they should, and the ideas presented should be easy to connect and understand, making it a smooth read for the reader.

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