If you are a parent new to the wonderful world of secondary school acronyms, you may have come across the term PEE, possibly PEEL, or even PETAL. These terms are used to describe a useful technique that helps students write clearly and in depth. They are not the be-all and end-all of good writing but they are an excellent starting point particularly when planning and can be used to support writing in any subject.
PEE stands for Point, Evidence, Explain. The Point is the answer to the question. The Evidence is information that supports that answer and the Explanation tells the reader how. This is the most basic way to ensure a reasonably well constructed paragraph.
Here's an example of how a student might use it in History.
Explain why Hitler was able to become dictator by 1934.
Obviously there are many strands to the answer to this question; we can look at long and short term causes and the combination of luck and skill that got him to this point. Each of these strands should be discussed in its own unique PEE paragraph. For example:
POINT: Hitler was able to become dictator by 1934 because he had an enormous amount of public support.
EVIDENCE: The Nazis were the biggest party in the Reichstag after the 1933 elections.
EXPLAIN: This was because his policies sounded attractive to people who were suffering the effects of the depression.
This answer contains all the elements of PEE: it has a focus, evidence in the form of facts and an explanation. It is very basic though and would require more to push it into the top grades. Take a look at this one:
POINT: Hitler was able to to become dictator by 1934 partly because by 1933 he had a large amount of public support.
EVIDENCE: The election of November 1932 confirmed the Nazis as the largest party in the Reichstag although they did not have enough to achieve a majority.
EXPLAIN: They achieved this result partly because of the hostility felt by many Germans towards the Communists who were also increasing in popularity but also because their aggressive propaganda campaign built an image of a party who were active and forward thinking; a huge change from the failures of the coalition governments of the early part of the decade.
To really make this paragraph stand out, you can LINK it back to the question as below
LINK: But while there was unquestionably a lot of support for the Nazis, it was not enough by itself to allow Hitler to become a dictator. There remained a distrust of Hitler and his Brown Shirts which would not be overcome until the Reichstag Fire allowed Hitler to paint the Communists as the greatest threat faced by Germany.
Notice how this links not only back to the question but also to the next paragraph (assuming that is on the Reichstag Fire). This gives the essay a flow; it allows you to tell the story of what happened while analysing each moment.
PEE(L) works for most long answers regardless of the subject. If you want to see how effectively you (or your child) have answered the question, try highlighting each part of their writing with a different colour for the POINT, EVIDENCE and EXPLANATION. In doing so, you will hopefully be able to see how to improve.