Skills and Best Practices
Cause and Effect
Given a set of data or other information, student must be able to establish a convincing relationship in writing of the cause and effect. For example: When writing your essay, keep the following suggestions in mind:
- Remember your purpose. Decide if you are writing to inform or persuade.
- Focus on immediate and direct causes (or effects.) Limit yourself to causes that are close in time and related, as opposed to remote and indirect causes, which occur later and are related indirectly.
- Strengthen your essay by using supporting evidence. Define terms, offer facts and statistics, or provide examples, anecdotes, or personal observations that support your ideas.
- Qualify or limit your statements about cause and effect. Unless there is clear evidence that one event is related to another, qualify your statements with phrases such as “It appears that the cause was” or “It seems likely” or “The evidence may indicate” or “Available evidence suggests.”
To evaluate the effectiveness of a cause and effect essay, ask the following questions: What are the causes? What are the effects? Which should be emphasized? Are there single or multiple causes? Single or multiple effects? Is a chain reaction involved?
This site, www.delmar.edu/engl/wrtctr/handouts, reminds us that simply seeing cause and effect is not sufficient and suggests the following steps when writing a cause and effect essay:
- Clearly distinguish between cause and effect
- Develop your thesis statement
- Find and organize supporting details
- Use appropriate transitions
The teaching process is never complete until students can see the relevancy of what they are learning. Students learn new information by connecting it to prior knowledge, extending and refining their understanding of this new information, and then applying the information to a new setting.
Tips from Teaching Today, www.glencoe.com/ps/teachingtoday, suggest some ideas for:
- Teaching in a Global World
- Teaching Cross Curriculum
- Using Your Own Experience in the Classroom