“But, Because, So” – Expanding writing and thinking

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A great technique for helping all students regardless of ability to expand on their writing and also to develop their thinking on ideas is to use the technique of ‘But, Because, So.’ 

The idea is to give students a statement from which they expand using ‘but’, ‘because’ and ‘so’ In doing so they explore the statement from three perspectives: contrast (but) cause (because) and effect (so). 

For instance

  • Across the country, schools, teachers students and parents have been adjusting to virtual teaching  BUT…… (contrast)
  • Across the country, schools, teachers, students and parents have been adjusting to virtual teaching BECAUSE…… (cause)
  • Across the country, schools, teachers, students and parents have been adjusting to virtual teaching SO…… (effect)

It’s really useful for giving students the confidence to expand and develop an idea orally, in writing or cognitively. As a teacher, it’s a useful way of testing how thoroughly students have understood a concept as rather than just presenting one, singular perspective, students would have presented three understandings of an idea. 

Further examples

  • A solid melts to form a liquid….
  • In the prologue to Romeo and Juliet, the audience are informed that the couple die before the play has even started…
  • Climate change activists are concerned about the health of the planet…

Naturally as skills develop, students may wish to replace the words but, because and so with other synonyms. Also, once students have written the three statements they can be encouraged to synthesise all three into one sentence or paragraph and even vary the order in which the three ideas are presented.