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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Super. OK, so at the top there, the first thing you can see is paragraph development. And I’ve written a short paragraph there. And there are five spaces. Could you please have a look at the words underneath, a to e and try and pop them into the right place? Right. Yeah. So specific examples, topic sentence, linking words, reasons and general statements. First states the main idea. And 3, number 3. There in number one. Sorry, it says “A well written paragraph usually begins with a clear topic sentence. B, it states your main idea.” OK. Yes. Yes. “The paragraph then develops with a series of one or more general statements, each of which is supported by reasons or specific examples.” There we go.

Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds You’ve made the change. –linking words are used. Linking words, yes. Great. OK. So we’re going to have a look at this paragraph structure, just like this. And we’ll go to, later on, use some of the words that we looked at a moment ago, some of those nouns and adjectives. If you scroll down the page a little bit, you’ll see the title, It Takes All Sorts. Yeah? Mm-hm. And I’ve got a box there with six different linking words and phrases in. Mm-hm. OK. So below that, as you can see, I’ve got a paragraph there all about Raphaele Mm-hm. And it’s a description of him.

Skip to 2 minutes and 8 seconds And I’m following the paragraph structure that you’ve just looked at, so the topic sentence, general statement, specific examples. And I should have these linking words in there. But I’ve left them out. So in the gaps you can see, 1 to 6, could you try and pop those linking words and statements into the right place? Yes. OK.

Skip to 2 minutes and 41 seconds Needless to say

Skip to 2 minutes and 49 seconds Well, again, you’re on form today. Not a single mistake. Well, thank you. OK. Are you happy with all of those phrases? Nothing you’re unfamiliar with? No. I think you’ve seen them all before. Yeah. Yeah. I use them quite a lot. Apart from the last one, like needless to say, again, it’s not something I use often But I know the meaning. It just doesn’t come natural, probably. Sure. OK. Not a problem. You’re going to practise that for homework. But first of all, so scrolling back up, OK, so we’ve got our paragraph developments. Yeah? Could you show me, in the paragraph that I’ve written, where each of these features are?

Skip to 3 minutes and 46 seconds So the first one, the topic sentence, where is that in my paragraph?

Skip to 3 minutes and 56 seconds OK. It should be the first one. It is. OK. It’s not a trick question. It’s not a trick question. OK. OK. So that first sentence there, that’s my topic sentence. And it introduces the main idea. Raffaele, 15 years old, and he’s lazy. Mm-hm. OK. So following it up, then, we’ve got the general statement, which is?

Skip to 4 minutes and 25 seconds Which is my general statement?

Skip to 4 minutes and 29 seconds Your general state–

Skip to 4 minutes and 33 seconds “I say this because he’s one of the laziest, least motivated people I know Great. OK. So after that, what are we looking for?

Skip to 4 minutes and 46 seconds We would be looking for D and A. For reasons and examples For reasons and examples which are here So, let’s tie everything together. At the top, you’ve got the structure of the paragraph. Down here, you’ve got the example with six different linkers that I’ve used. Previously, we looked at these eight different nouns and adjectives of personality. Yes. And you told me that candid, resolute, and valour were three that you were not so familiar with. Yeah? Yeah. OK. For homework, what I’d like you to do is choose one of those words– I don’t mind which one– where you’ve written a little sentence for me. Choose one of them.

Skip to 5 minutes and 58 seconds And could you expand that out into a full paragraph like that, following that format of topic sentence through on down to reasons and specific examples. Mm-hm. OK? Yes.

An online writing lesson

As we’ve discussed, a student may write sentences or a short text in a writing lesson, or they might write a text for homework. In this step, you’re going to watch Ollie teach a writing lesson to Antonella where she examines a model text in the lesson and then writes her own text at home.


Watch the lesson and answer the questions.

  1. What do you think the objective of the lesson is? (i.e. what writing sub-skill is being taught?)

  2. What features of the platform do Ollie and Antonella use to help Antonella achieve the lesson objective? How do they use them?

Check your answers.

Reflect and share

How might an online teacher deliver feedback on a learner’s writing in an online context? Share your ideas in the comments.

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This video is from the free online course:

Teaching English Online: China and Beyond

Cambridge Assessment English