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What is T.E.E.L.?

What is T.E.E.L.?

What is a TEEL paragraph?

You may notice that your child refers to TEEL paragraphs when discussing their writing, or you may see a reference to them in your child's report.

One of our key focus areas in improving student outcomes is the development of your child's writing skills, particularly their ability to write at length and in depth. TEEL is a process that helps them to develop this skill by writing structured paragraphs that link to form an argument.

TEEL is an acronym for the following:

Topic sentence – introduces the paragraph

  • States the main idea of the paragraph
  • Uses key words from the topic

Explanation – what do you mean by that?

  • Explains what you mean by the topic sentence
  • Gives more detail about the idea

Example/Evidence – what makes you say that?

  • Proof/evidence from the text(quotes) and/or facts, statistics
  • Supports the argument you have made

Link – Why is all that important?

  • Explains how the example links to the main idea
  • Closes the argument
  • May link to the next paragraph

Here are two examples of TEEL paragraphs:

Imagine the question was ‘How did events at Gallipoli create the ANZAC legend?' One of the TEEL paragraphs in an extended response to this question could be:

The legend is based on the reporting of the courage and bravery shown by the ANZACs. This is most clearly seen on the day of the landing at ANZAC Cove on 25th April, 1915. When the soldiers landed on the beach, they were faced with a steep cliff that contained the Turkish troops waiting with machine guns. Despite the obvious risk, they stormed the cliff. As Ashmead Bartlett stated at the time, "… this race of athletes proceeded to scale the cliffs …there has been no finer feat in this war than this sudden landing in the dark and storming the heights". The events on this day were instrumental in developing the ANZAC legend, but they weren't the only ones.

Following is a TEEL paragraph focusing on the question ‘Explain the concept that conformity is good for society'.

Conformity is not good for society because it suppresses individuality. In ‘the community' of The Giver people are expected to conform to an enormous number of rules. Citizens are controlled in every aspect of their lives. For example, one of the rules is that children receive their bikes at nine years of age and they "were not allowed to ride bicycles before then". As a result of these requirements of conformity, the community suffers constant surveillance to make sure people are following the rules. The day that Jonas fails to conform to the rules and takes an apple home, he is chastised by public announcement "that objects are not to be removed from the recreation area and that snacks are to be eaten, not hoarded". Jonas feels "humiliated" by the announcement. The community's expectations of conformity, which are supported by surveillance and punishment, mean that people are unlikely to show individuality by behaving unusually, making it a boring place to live. The novel The Giver therefore shows us that in order to make people conform they must be subjected to strict rules that do not allow individuals to develop into interesting and complex human beings.

To help your child improve their writing, you could ask them to verbally explain, or write, relevant paragraphs e.g. From the movie we just watched, explain which character was your favourite, or explain why the mobile phone plan you have is the best plan for you, or choose one reason why you like Galston High School and write a TEEL paragraph on it.

The possibilities are endless!