Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Describe versus explain


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 Wills

Wills

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 202 posts

Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:54 AM

Hi everyone,
does anyone have a useful ppt or other method for teaching and explaining the differences between describe and explain?
This could be history topic related or more generally to do with every day stuff.

#2 David Bryant

David Bryant

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • 290 posts

Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:00 AM

Hi everyone,
does anyone have a useful ppt or other method for teaching and explaining the differences between describe and explain?
This could be history topic related or more generally to do with every day stuff.


Tricky isn't it. As an examiner you can recognise it, but it's much harder to show the difference. One thing I have tried was to give them three 'model answers' (which I wrote) with a simplified mark scheme. One was a good example of a description, another was a dull but high-level answer with good explanation and the third was beautifully written and consisted entirely of generalisations. Although some spotted the 'red herring' quite a few were taken in and gave it high marks.

#3 j hewson

j hewson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 191 posts

Posted 30 April 2012 - 12:20 PM

I always tend to ask the pupils to provide an example as part of an explanation thus taking their answer one step on from a simple identification of a factor.

#4 rharris

rharris

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 157 posts

Posted 30 April 2012 - 01:56 PM

Funnily enough I've been talking to my AS students today about this, in relation to the 12 mark questions on the AQA paper. I did a card sort with three 'causal factors', three bits of 'evidence' and three 'explantions' with linkages throughout. I also gave them a silly story about why Donna and Dave split up...one was entirely narrative, and I asked them to come up with three causal factors as to why they split up. These were: Dave had a wandering eye, the breakdown in communication due to a misunderstood status update on a social networking website, and Dave's resultant infidelity. The uderlying cause was that they were incompatible. Put it this way, they responded to the silly story more than the card sort!

#5 Malarvilie

Malarvilie

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 232 posts

Posted 30 April 2012 - 06:23 PM

I made this a few years ago. Seems to work with the students.

First lesson I ask the students to state, describe, explain what I am wearing. Then I put this at the back of their books so they can refer to it. They do remember it this way.

Attached File  Command words.ppt   58K   1067 downloads
......I have the body of a weak and feeble woman
but I have the heart and stomach of a King!

#6 JohnDClare

JohnDClare

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,188 posts

Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:49 PM

With the Special Needs pupils I ended up teaching in the latter years of my career, I eventually came round to the belief that it was much more productive asking them to 'develop' the point rather than 'explain it'.

So it became PDF (point-develop-facts) rather than PEE (point-evidence-explain).

'Explain' has a terrible tendency to resolve into 'why', and pupils get dreadfully confused about what they are meant to be 'why'-ing (thus thus they often end up explaining the cause, rather than using/developing the cause to explain/answer the question).

#7 Wills

Wills

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 202 posts

Posted 30 April 2012 - 10:56 PM

thanks all - some excellent pointers here - much obliged

#8 vmo24

vmo24

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 17 posts

Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:14 AM

Hello,

I make pupils take two clean pages in their book and draw out their left and right hand. In the middle of their left hand palm they write "describe" and label the fingers with "who, what, where, when" They add key details on that page such as "WHO was involved, WHERE did it take place, when did it take place and What happened"

On the right hand, they X the fingers and put 'Why' and they are aware this is to give reasons. In the middle of the right palm they write explain.
They add key sentence structure on that page like "Another reason for this event taking place was...." or this "happened because..."


Its very funny to see Y11 pupils in an exam using their hands to help them. This has worked particularly well with my low ability boys in the class.

#9 JohnDClare

JohnDClare

    Six Star General

  • Admin
  • 3,188 posts

Posted 02 May 2012 - 08:38 AM

Here's an amusing tweet to further confuse your little dears:
James Doran ‏ @oranjd "The problem is that what constitutes evidence is also a matter of opinion."

#10 Juana La Loca

Juana La Loca

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 68 posts

Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:25 PM

'Explain' answers have the word 'because' in them.
vmo24 - love the hands idea - definitely going to try that one.

Catherine

#11 Russel Tarr

Russel Tarr

    Russel Tarr

  • Admin
  • 1,369 posts

Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

From my experience even the chief examiners don't know the difference between 'describe' and 'explain' - e.g. "Explain why the Big Three's aims differed" will have a markscheme that rewards students for merely describing what the aims of the Big Three were. Drives me up the wall.

For "Explain" I always encourage students to write short paras, each one starting "One reason was...a second reason was...". If they use this formula they will by necessity avoid a descriptive response.

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users