English for Academic Studies (Workshop) Semester 1, 2009/10

Session 1: Paragraph Writing © PolyU HKCC

Session 1: Paragraph Writing
Part A: Diagnostic Test The following sentences are originally written in a paragraph and are now listed in a random order. Pay attention to the transitional words (e.g. “also”, “then”, “therefore”, “thus”, “as a result”, etc.) and try your best to follow the ideas expressed in the sentences. Then complete the two questions in this part. A. Reducing the size of a class will be beneficial to both teachers and students. B. More time can then be used to develop learning activities and teaching materials. C. Teachers’ workload can also be reduced, as there will be fewer assignments to mark. D. In Hong Kong, the average class size in primary schools is 40 to 45 students. E. With fewer students in a class, teachers can pay more attention to weaker students and spend more time on them. F. Therefore, it is suggested that the government should introduce small-class teaching, which is very successful in many countries, for example, the US and Canada. G. The overall teaching and learning quality can thus be improved. H. Many people think that it is too crowded for children to learn in such an environment. I. As a result, students can learn more effectively in class. Question A1. Write the letter of each sentence in the sequence that makes sense as a paragraph:

Question A2 Which sentence should be the topic sentence of the paragraph?

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English for Academic Studies (Workshop) Semester 1, 2009/10

Session 1: Paragraph Writing © PolyU HKCC

Part B: Key Points Review Paragraph Writing: Paragraphs consist of two basic parts: (1) a point (main idea) is made, and (2) specific reasons, details and facts are provided to support that point. Topic Sentence: The main idea of a paragraph. Often presented in the first sentence of a paragraph, but may also be at the end, in the middle, or any other place in the paragraph. Transitional words: Provide logical organization and improve connections and transitions between thoughts. Help a paragraph read more smoothly.

Part C: Concept Boosting Exercise Question C1 (Identifying the Topic Sentence) Read the following paragraph and try to identify and underline the topic sentence: The policy of banning smoking for indoor venues has become a hot topic now. It seems that the government has decided to introduce this policy. The only remaining issue is the implementation schedule. However, the catering industry strongly oppose to this idea as it will affect their business. In my opinion, it is necessary to implement the policy. In fact, smokers force others to take second-hand smoke in a closed environment. According to some experts, second-hand smoke causes more damaging effects on non-smokers, with a higher probability of heart disease and cancer. It’s even worse for pregnant women. Although banning indoor smoking may lead to a decline in revenue for restaurants, it is worthwhile to do so. A clean air environment can help us enjoy a healthy life.

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English for Academic Studies (Workshop) Semester 1, 2009/10

Session 1: Paragraph Writing © PolyU HKCC

Question C2 (Using Transitional Words) Fill in the blanks with appropriate transitional words to connect the ideas between sentences. Hong Kong is facing a problem – the outbreak of H5N1 bird flu. It will bring adverse impacts on our society and we need to take some preventive measures immediately. ________, Hong Kong’s economy will be affected. Tourists may not want to come to visit Hong Kong because of the outbreak of H5N1 bird flu. As tourism contributes a large portion of our GDP, the decline of number of tourists will have unfavourable effects on our economy. Another problem is that H5N1 bird flu will make the society panic. Since Hong Kong people had experienced an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu before, they know how bad it can be. __________, they will be very concerned about the spread of the disease. The worst problem is that H5N1 bird flu is hazardous to our health. If we are unfortunately infected, we may die in the worst case. __________, H5N1 bird flu is a serious problem that we need to find ways to solve it as soon as possible.

Part D: Writing Challenge (Homework Practice I; Due in Week 3) Question D1 Based on the topic sentence and outlines given below, write a short paragraph of about 100-150 words about the school-based drug-testing scheme. For your information, the school-based drug-testing scheme was proposed by Hong Kong Government in June 2009 to identify if students are drug addicts through tests. A trial programme of the scheme has been planned to roll out in September 2009. Topic sentence: The school-based drug-testing scheme should be revised before its implementation Outlines: - Concerns about inadequate resources to support the scheme, e,g, social workers in schools and rehabilitation services - Possible damage on the relationship and mutual trust between teachers, students and parents - Breaching the privacy law - (Your point)
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