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【英検 2級】英作文の意識改革ー背景知識でスキルアップ

英検の勉強

英検2級を受検される皆様、検定日まで間もないですが、ご準備のほどはいかがですか。
私、福岡市西区今宿駅前の藍洋塾で英語を担当している長澤陽子と申します。

今回は皆様に、英作文にて問れているトピックに関する背景知識を使い、英作文のスキルをアップする方法をご紹介します。

当塾の受講生の多くは、英作文の演習で「何を書いていいか浮かばない。」と言います。

私は、トピックに関して背景の知識があれば、考えてはいるものの何も書かずに流れる時間の短縮、また勢いよく書き出してはみたものの途中でペンが止まったりすることなく、英作文を書けるようになると思っています。

そこでこのブログでは、

①背景知識を用いて作文を書いた場合とそうでない場合の違い
②書式や二つのパラグラフの間でどう話を展開させるべきか

をご説明してまいります。

このブログを読めば、英作文に対しての意識が変わり、今ある力は飛躍的に向上することでしょう。

またネイティブの先生や日本語を学ぶ外国人の方向けに、英語バージョンも付録しております(Please note that this blog contains the English version.)

どうぞ宜しくお願いします。

背景知識ない場合

ではまず、高校2年生の男子が背景知識なしで書いた英作文を紹介します。

[Topic] Today, many junior high schools give students chances to experience working in places like shops or restaurants.
Do you think this is a good idea?

   〔生徒答案〕
I think it’s a good idea. I have two reasons.

First, working experience is useful. It’s popular to work in restaurants. Students can learn how to contact people.

Second, girls love to go to cafes. I see a lot of girls who go to Starbucks, Komeda, etc. There are many people who want to work there. I really want to work in a cafe, because it’s stylish.

So, I think it is a good idea.

ご覧の通りこの生徒は考えがまとまっていませんね。

というのは、生徒(筆者)は「中学生が店やレストランで職場体験をした方がいいか?」という本トピックを冒頭で肯定し(YES と答え)、
第二パラグラフにてその論拠を「自分がカフェで働きたい。」としているからです。

このように論点がずれてしまうと、トッピクで問われれていることに答えていないことになり、大きく減点されてしまいます。

そこで次に、この生徒に短いニュース記事を読んでもらいました。

(背景知識となる)ニュース1

Junior Highschool Student Cut His Finger Under Work Experience Program

A junior highschool second-grader cut his own left -hand middle finger accidentally by an oil pressure cutter.
The student was cutting a metal sheet under a Work Experience Program in a factory of Kobayashi Stainless Sheet Metal Co. in Miyagi Prefecture.
He was sent to a hospital, however, his lost finger at the first joint will never be recovered.
( Asahi online news, November the 16th, 2018)

職業体験の中学生、油圧カッターで指切断
宮城県の金属加工会社、「小林ステンレス板金」の工場で職場体験をしていた中学2年の男子が誤って自分の左手中指を切断した。男子は、病院に輸送されたが、切断された指の接合はできなかった。(2018年11月16日 朝日オンラインニュース)

この記事を読んでもらった後、リライトする作文の内容を考えてもらい、二つのパラグラフに書く内容を箇条書きにしてもらいました。

作文構成

*答えをNoにする。
■第一パラグラフ
・指を切った学生の記事を読んだ。
・事故はいつでも起きる。
・レストランで調理したり、熱湯を扱う時に怪我をするかもしれない。
■第二パラグラフ
・社員は学生に教えるのに時間をとる。
・社員は働くために職場に来ていて、学生に教えるために来ているわけではない

(リライト、その前に)注意事項

今回は、この生徒に作文に書く内容を紙に箇条書きしてもらいましたが、皆さんは、トピックを読んだ後2〜3分で内容をまとめなければなりません。

作文を書き出す前にすでに頭の中で作文が出来上がっている状態になるまで練習してください。試験中、作文全体に割り当てれる時間は15分ですよ。

また、作文の書式は必ず守ってください。減点の対象になります。これは、次にお見せする作文を参考にしてください。

では、リライトした学生の作文を見てみましょう。

□ No, I don’t think it is a good idea.

□First, I read a news article about a junior high school student who cut his finger when he was cutting a metal sheet at a factory. Accidents happen anytime and anywhere. For example, if a junior high school students work at a restaurant, he might have to cook or handle boiling water, he may be injured.

□Second, some employees at a restaurant have to teach students how to work, however, those employees must work there and have no time to teach students.

□So, junior highschool students are too young to work.

さて、いかがでしょうか。
やはり背景知識があれば、様々な視点から作文のテーマに対して論じることが出来ると思います。第一パラグラフと第二パラグラフの違いもはっきりしますね。

また敢えて□を記しましたが、□は1マス分空白にし、パラグラフ分けをしてください。
パラグラフは、(1)結➔(2)承➔(3)承➔ (4)結 という流れが一般的です。具体的には、

(1)結(トピックの答を述べる。)
例:[A] Yes, I do. [B] It’s good for students to work in cafes.)
(2)承1(答に対する一つ目の理由、論拠、例を述べる。)
(3)承2(答に対する二つの目の理由、論拠、例を述べる。)
(4)結((1)のBを再度述べる。)

パラグラフの意識

では次に、この承1と承2の違いをはっきりさせるという点を踏まえ、高校三年生女子の作文を見てみましょう。

[Topic]Today many people use electronic dictionaries. Do you think people will stop buying paper dictionaries?

   〔生徒答案〕
First, paper dictionaries are too *heavy to carry. I don’t think many students bring thick *heavy dictionaries to school.

Second, many students use electronic English dictionaries, because they are portable, very *light and convenient for people to look up unknown words anytime.

I think people will buy only electronic dictionaries in the future.

*のついた単語を見てください。全て「重さ」についてのものです。
第一パラグラフで重さについて述べたのなら、第二パラグラフでは視点を変るべきです。

そこで、この生徒に視野を広げてもらうため、次のニュース記事を読んでもらいました。

(背景知識となる)ニュース2

Tide Is Running In Favor Of Electronic Dictionaries

Recently elementary school students have started learning English at school. Sales of electronic dictionaries which are easy to use for elementary school students have increased.

Casio Ex-word XD-SK 2800 has not only a word research engine but also a reproducing function for users to listen to native speakers’ excellent English pronunciation.

Other contents such as elementary school textbooks currently used in United Kingdom, science and social study textbooks are in this gadget.
(Asahi newspaper , October the 15th, 2018)

電子辞書に追い風
小学校で最近英語を教えるようになり、小学生が使いやすい電子辞書の売行きが好調だ。カシオEX-WORD XD-SK 2800 は、発音再生機能によりネイティブの正確な発音を聞けるし、英国で現在形使用されている小学校の教科書、その他にも理科社会の参考書も入っている。
(2018年10月15日 朝日新聞)

リライト

それではこの記事を読んだ後での生徒がリライトした作文を見てみましょう。

 Yes, I think so. I have two reasons.

 First, paper dictionaries are too heavy to carry around. I think most students bring their electronic dictionaries to school, because they are very light.

 Second, it’s very easy and fast to find words with electronic dictionaries. They are very useful, because users can listen to perfect English pronunciation. Students can study not only English but also other subjects with electronic dictionaries which have many contents such as science and social studies.

 In conclusion, people are unlikely to buy paper dictionaries which have fewer functions.

まとめ

さて、いかがでしたか?
皆様が作文の試験を受けられるときにニュース記事を読むことはできませんが、作文の練習をされる際には、各トピックに関するニュース記事を読むことはとても有益なのです。

ただニュース記事を探してから実際に作文を書くという学習時間の確保は現実的に難しいでしょう。

でしたら皆さんの周りで起こる事に興味をもってください。

背景知識は、友達とのおしゃべり、学校の授業で勉強したこと、何よりも皆さんの日常体験から得ることができるのです。自分の考えを持ち、恥ずかしがらずに表現することを楽しむようになってくださいね。

皆様の作文力の向上を心から祈りつつこのブログを終えます。

本記事に関連し、Yes, No の答え方と話の筋道の立て方というテーマで、二級受検生向け記事を更新しております。ご参照ください。

最後までご覧いただき、有難うございました。

English Version

How background knowledge takes your writing skills to new heights

How have you been? I, Yoko Nagasawa, am a teacher at Aiyo Juku in Imajyuku-Ekimae, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka.

The Eiken second grade test is just around the corner. Are you studying hard?

Today, I would like to talk about how you can improve your writing skills, acquiring background knowledge. After reading this blog, you might be able to get some hints to write better essays.

Most of my students say that they don’t know what they should write in essays. Have you ever taken too much time or stopped writing your thoughts in your essays when taking essay tests because you are run out of ideas? The more background knowledge you gain, the better you write essays without the above problem.

Here, I would like to explain about how background knowledge would help you when you write essays, the correct format, and different points of views for both paragraphs.

This is an essay written by a male second grade highschool students.

Please Click for Sample essay

[Topic] Today, many junior high schools give students chances to experience working in places like shops or restaurants.
Do you think this is a good idea?

 〔Student wrote〕
I think it’s a good idea. I have two reasons.

First, working experience is useful. It’s popular to work in restaurants. Students can learn how to contact people.

Second, girls love to go to cafes. I see a lot of girls who go to Starbucks, Komeda, etc. There are many people who want to work there. I really want to work in a cafe, because it’s stylish.

So, I think it is a good idea.

As you see, his thoughts are not organized.

My student( the writer) is asked about whether junior high school students should be given chances to work in shops or restaurants, however, my student(the writer) says ‘he’ wants to work in cafes in the second paragraph, meaning my student(the writer) does not answer the question. He only mentions his hope. Please do not be off the topic. If your statements supporting your answer is inconsistent, your point will greatly deducted.

Then, I let him read the following news articles.

Please Click for News article 1

Junior Highschool Student Cut His Finger Under Work Experience Program

A junior highschool second-grader cut his own left -hand middle finger accidentally by an oil pressure cutter.
The student was cutting a metal sheet under a Work Experience Program in a factory of Kobayashi Stainless Sheet Metal Co. in Miyagi Prefecture.
He was sent to a hospital, however, his lost finger at the first joint will never be recovered.
( Asahi online news, November the 16th, 2018)

After reading the article, I asked him to rewrite the essay, and think about the contents, and let him itemize the contents of each paragraph.

<essay constitution>
*The answer is NO.
■The first paragraph
・ I read an article about a student who cut his finger.
・ Accidents happen.
・ I might be injured in a restaurant when I cook or handle hot water.
■The second paragraph
・Staff need time to teach students.
・ Staff must work, not teach students.

This time, I instructed him to write itemized concepts on paper, however, you have only two or three minutes to organize your thoughts just after reading a topic, so please practice finishing writing an essay in your mind before you actually start writing it.

You have only 15 minutes for writing an essay in the actual Eiken second grade test.

You must follow the correct format of an essay ,if not, your points will be deducted. Please refer to the format in
the following sample essay. Let us take a look at his rewritten essay.

Please Click for rewritten essay

□=blank space

□ No, I don’t think it is a good idea.

□First, I read a news article about a junior high school student who cut his finger when he was cutting a metal sheet at a factory. Accidents happen anytime and anywhere. For example, if a junior high school students work at a restaurant, he might have to cook or handle boiling water, he may be injured.

□Second, some employees at a restaurant have to teach students how to work, however, those employees must work there and have no time to teach students.

□So, junior highschool students are too young to work.

How do you like this essay? With background knowledge, you could discuss many points from different angles. You can also make a clear distinction between concept of the first and the second paragraph.

How you paragraph an essay is as follows .

An essay consists of four parts which are as follows:
(1) Conclusion (Your answer. [a] yes, I do. [b] It’s good for students to work in cafes.)
(2) Body 1 (Your first reasons, rationales, examples to support your answer.)
(3) Body 2 (your second reasons, rationales, examples to support your answer.)
(4) Conclusion(Write the conclusion[b] again.)

Focusing on the difference, let’s look at an essay written by a female third grade highschool student.

Please Click for Sample essay

[Topic]Today many people use electronic dictionaries. Do you think people will stop buying paper dictionaries?

 〔Student wrote〕
First, paper dictionaries are too *heavy to carry. I don’t think many students bring thick *heavy dictionaries to school.

Second, many students use electronic English dictionaries, because they are portable, very *light and convenient for people to look up unknown words anytime.

I think people will buy only electronic dictionaries in the future.

Look at the underlined words, which are all about weight. It could be appropriate for her to talk about weight in the first paragraph. How about changing the viewpoint into a new one in the second paragraph.

I asked her to read a short article to expand her viewpoints.

PleaseClick for News article 2

Tide Is Running In Favor Of Electronic Dictionaries

Recently elementary school students have started learning English at school. Sales of electronic dictionaries which are easy to use for elementary school students have increased.

Casio Ex-word XD-SK 2800 has not only a word research engine but also a reproducing function for users to listen to native speakers’ excellent English pronunciation.

Other contents such as elementary school textbooks currently used in United Kingdom, science and social study textbooks are in this gadget.
(Asahi newspaper , October the 15th, 2018)

After reading the above article, she rewrote her essay.

Please Click for rewritten essay

 
 Yes, I think so. I have two reasons.

 First, paper dictionaries are too heavy to carry around. I think most students bring their electronic dictionaries to school, because they are very light.

 Second, it’s very easy and fast to find words with electronic dictionaries. They are very useful, because users can listen to perfect English pronunciation. Students can study not only English but also other subjects with electronic dictionaries which have many contents such as science and social studies.

 In conclusion, people are unlikely to buy paper dictionaries which have fewer functions.

[Summary]
How do you feel about her rewritten essay?

Of course, you have to write essays without reading news articles when you take actual essay tests, however,
when you study writing essays, I recommend you to read news articles regarding given topics.

I understand you don’t have much time to look for appropriate news articles regarding each topic. Please enjoy knowing what are happening around you. You can acquire background knowledge not only from news articles but from conversations you have with your friends, school lessons, and, most importantly, your everyday lives. Have your own opinions and do not hesitate to deliver them.

I truly hope your writing skills will improved.

Thank you very much.

Thank you.
Yoko Nagasawa
Aiyo Juku, English Teacher

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長澤 陽子

長澤 陽子

私は過去に10年間フィリピン領事館に勤めた経験があり、生徒さんには、自分が習った英語でなく使った英語を教えています。大学入試や英検の指導をしていますが、受講生が将来日本人としての美徳を備えた上で、英語を使い、世界に向けての発言力をもつ人材になって欲しいという願いで教鞭をとっています。

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