a. Edison Invented the Electric-Light Bulb
b. Teachers Should Explain Things Clearly
c. Science Has Influenced Modern Life
d. Safe Driving Should Be Encouraged
e. The Responsibilities of Students
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In addition to the beneficial information already provided, it should mentioned that these topics seem a bit too broad for a single essay of only five or so paragraphs. The one about teachers explaining "things" (b) is not only broad, but it is vague. For instance, an essay topic should be confined to one discipline such as math or history. Thus, if a student is frustrated in his/her Calculus class, he/she could write that teachers should carefully explain some specific concept. Another topic, (e) Responsibilities of Students is very nebulous. Which students? Where are they? In what areas are these responsibilities? This topic definitely needs narrowing down. And, certainly, a consideration of what best will interest the audience for whom the student writes is also important.
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The previous thoughts were well articulated. Some of the essay topics are weaker than others. When we define "weak," I think it means that the essay is not going to be very inspired to write nor inspired to read. The first essay topic about Edison might be one such example. How one can generate a writing sample on Edison having invented the light bulb is going to be more fascinating than the actual composition. Some of the topics can be interesting with some slight modification. For example, in the second essay topic, I think discussing how this should happen in the classroom setting would be fascinating. What does "clearly" teaching involve? Along these lines, what exactly are "the responsibilities of students?" I think these might be very interesting if they are approached in a unique way and written as such. I even think the Edison topic could be interesting if it were broadened to discuss the conditions that allowed him to invent the light bulb. Modification of essay topics to bring out student voice and unique scholarship is a rather painless process once it has been made clear what one wants in student work.
The above essay topics may be considered weak because they are vague and nonargumentative. Topic A is accepted by our community as fact, Topics B, C, and D--although based on opinion--have assumed answers (it is hard to believe that someone would really argue that teachers should not explain things clearly), and Topic E is too broad to state a definitive point.
To generate better topics, first consider the type of essay that you are supposed to write. For example, if you are writing a persuasive essay, you will want to choose a topic that will allow you to take a firm position that you will try to convince others to adopt. Topic D might be revised for a persuasive essay to read: "Safe Driving Should Be Encouraged by the Development of a Merit System." This would allow the writer to either agree or disagree with the statement and use persuasive techniques to convince the audience to adopt his/her position.
After choosing the type of essay that you have to write, consider the audience for that essay. You should appeal to that audience in the writing.
Finally, focus on the content that is available to you. Topic A as it stands would require research (unless you are an expert on Thomas Edison) while other topics might contain content more readily available.
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