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Death by TEEL: Are formulas for writing harmful?
mediaposted on 2020-03-16, 00:00 authored by Lucinda McKnight, Narelle Wood, Lucinda McKnightLucinda McKnight
In an era of templates and tickboxes, when the educational focus is very much on basic skills and imitation of standardised practices, the question of whether these really help students may be forgotten. Do formulas for writing actually improve writing? In this post we concentrate specifically on the formula for writing paragraphs known as “TEEL” (topic, evidence, elaborate, link back to topic) used widely in Australian schools. Our discussion follows the suggestion that students in England are experiencing “Death by PEEL”, with PEEL (point, evidence, elaborate, link) being the preferred acronym there. We are two teacher educators and education researchers who have recently conducted researching into secondary English teaching in Australian schools. We have a broad range of anecdotal evidence from years spent de-briefing with pre-service teachers about their placements, and we have an overview of practice, at least in Victoria. This article provides a series of points for consideration in relation to the use of TEEL, to help others evaluate its worth.