Most essay questions are directed at finding out how you would intelligently put forward your opinion on a certain controversial issue that has caught the attention of the media including the Internet. Your teacher is not after the facts or news about the issue. Everyone can go online and find that out for herself. What she is asking you is to evaluate the two sides of the issue and take a stand, giving your personal reasons why you believe that your idea is the better one compared with the opposite belief.
In such a situation, there is no right or wrong answer. You are right whether you take the one or the other side in the controversy. What your teacher will be looking at is how you have formulated your own reasoning or how you have come to the conclusion that your side of the controversy is the better one.
You can very well disregard whatever others are saying and form your personal and subjective take on the issue. This can happen if you have been personally affected by events that have something to do with the topic that you are asked to write an essay on.
It can happen that you are adamant at starting to write because you feel that the information that you have is incomplete or not enough to build a solid defense. Don't worry if you feel that the current information that you have is insufficient. Start writing and go with the flow of your ideas. Try to steer your discussion away from issues that you're not familiar with to those aspects where you have enough data to build your argument.
You are sometimes given a choice of what topic to write about. Choose the one where you have more personal knowledge of. Immediately jot down all the things that you know about the topic you have chosen. If there is time, you can do a research on the Internet and take notes of what you think are important things that other people have said about the topic.
Organize your notes by putting together all items that are related to each other. You only need a minimum of two solid points to be able to make out something meaningful about an issue. Make a sentence outline of the main and secondary points that you want to include in your article. With your sentence outline in mind identify areas that you don't have enough data or information to form a solid thought or idea that you can put forward in your article. Do some more research on those issues if you still have time.
Form a clear idea in your mind of the main point that you want to say. Depending on the complexity of the issue, make one or two paragraphs of introductory note pointing out the reasons why the issue is important and making it clear what your take on the issue is. Proceed on talking about the first point that you want to highlight in your essay. Write one or two paragraphs of text exploring this point further depending on how complex your argument is.
Write another one or two paragraphs that discuss the second point that you want to make. Always relate what you are saying here to the main point that you have stated in the first or the first two paragraphs of your write-up. You should always be relating the ideas that you are discussing here with the main point that you have stated in the introductory paragraphs of your essay.
Having thoroughly explored your two main points, it's now time to wrap up your write-up. Make one or two paragraphs summarizing your main point and the two supporting points that you have discussed earlier. Try to end your essay with something memorable that can linger on the minds of your readers after they finish reading your essay. Now, your essay is done, but there are a few more thing to do.
Go over your essay and check if some sentences can still be improved. Read each sentence aloud and revise it to make it sound more convincing or powerful. Go over your essay again and correct all grammatical mistakes that have crept into your writing. Convert your essay into the format required by your teacher. Submit your work by emailing it to your teacher or by posting it to the class web site.
If you find it difficult to hold several ideas in your head at the same time, you can use a graphical representation of all your ideas by grouping your ideas into the points that you want to make and using arrows to show how your discussion is supposed to flow. There are actually mind mapping tools that you can learn and use but they are more applicable to complex issues where there are several variables and considerations involved. For simple write-ups you can just invent your own way of grouping ideas together and drawing arrows on how your discussion is supposed to proceed.
An outline is the invisible structure that holds your ideas together. Writers have this uncanny ability of holding the outline of the article that they are writing in their head and so they don't need to write a topical or sentence outline to guide them. Written outlines are tools to make it easier for students to effect an orderly flow of ideas in their written work.
To make it easier to have an idea of the final output that you are supposed to submit, you can ask your teacher for sample exemplary essays that have been made by students who have taken the same writing subjects before. It might be helpful to see some good essay samples so that you have something to target in terms of writing quality.
Never copy something that another author has written about on the topic assigned to you. You would only be fooling no one but yourself and you can get into trouble by doing that. Teachers will recognize the effort that you have put in your work as long as they know that the work has been honestly done.
Read my other article on how to write and English essay about taking sides on a issue at: http://hinagapnikaure.blogspot.com/2010/11/how-to-write-english-essay-about-taking.html.
Read my other article on building clear and meaningful English sentences at: http://hinagapnikaure.blogspot.com/2010/11/things-to-know-about-building-clear-and.html.
Read an article on a generalized article writing template for something that you want to write about at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/03/generalized-article-writing-template.html.
Read an article on practical ways to improve your writing skills at: http://laptopwriting.blogspot.com/2010/11/practical-ways-to-improve-your-writing.html.
Read an article about a technique for launching a writing activity at: http://publishtoweb.blogspot.com/2009/12/technique-for-launching-writing.html.