On a school outing, the owner of a food stall accused a member of your group of not paying for a drink. You were the most senior student present and you have been asked to give your school principal a clear picture of what happened.
Your report should include the following
Write a report with a title, a date, and your signature.
- When, where and what happened
- Who was involved and what your teacher did
- Who in your opinion was in the wrong.
You may add further details if you wish.
Report on the incident during School Theatre Outing
Last Friday on March 10th 2006, I was with my class travelling on the school bus from Abbottabad to Lahore. We were going to the theatre to see ’Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare, which we are studying for pur exam. It was a very hot day and we had been travelling for more than two hours when the driver stopped by the roadside where there were many stallholders selling snacks and drinks. Mr Rizvi gave us permission to buy what we wanted and return to the bus in five minutes.
Some girls shared their money with those who did not have any, but nobody shared with Rukhsana. I saw her join a crowd of girls around one stall and take one of the bottles of cola and run back to the bus. The stallholder saw that Rukhsana had taken it without paying and when the other girls had bought their drinks, he ran to the bus to demand payment. By that time, Mr Rizvi had told the bus driver to set off, and the stallholder banged on the window, claiming that one girl had not paid him. Mr Rizvi asked us all if we had paid for our drinks and we all, including Rukhsana, swore we had. Mr Rizvi then told the man that his accusation was false because all the girls had paid. Our bus then left the stallholder behind shouting and looking very angry.
Rukhsana brought dishonour on her herself and the school for stealing, and she made her crime even worse by lying to Mr Rizvi. Perhaps, I should have shared my money with her, but I only had enough for one drink.
15 March 2006
- The report is an excellent example of a short formal report.
- It begins with a subject underlined about what the report is actually about. Now, as said earlier(see my post on the format of report writing) even if the candidate begins without writing a subject line, the examiner will not deduct marks. In CIExaminer is more concerned with how the report is addressed to the recipient. What matters most is if appropriate tone is used or whether the candidate uses an accurate register.
- In the above example the first paragraph answers the questions of ‘What’, ‘Where and ‘When’ the incident took place. Students often confuse the beginning of a report with letter writing and begin with ‘Respected Sir, Madam,’ (this is a big error. See the below example as well). Secondly, they also state ‘I was asked to write a report to you on the incident that…’ (this is another wrong way to begin/write a report). In a report you must not directly address the person to whom you are writing.
- In the next paragraph the student tells ‘How’ the incident took place, ‘Who’ was involved and he also very carefully answers the rubric where he is asked about ‘what did the teacher do?’
- Reports are supposed to be unbiased. The candidate is expected to write details keeping aside all his/her emotions. In this example you would see that the student gives her opinion in the last paragraph which goes against the norms of report writing. However, a close reading of the question will show that the last rubric demands an opinion from the observer to write about what went wrong on that day.
- Reports often end with a signature of the writer. Thus, the candidate complies with the format and closes with his signature.
- The ‘I’ pronoun is strictly prohibited in report writing because it gives a subjective/personal touch to what is being reported. This is advised when the reports are to inform about certain topics like corruption, price hike, growth rate, education, inflation etc. On the contrary, if some incident is witnessed by the candidate and he/she is asked to report on it then, the candidate can use the ‘I’ pronoun and in that case it would be appropriate to use it sparingly and avoid adding any personal emotions (as illustrated above in the example). In the above example it is seen that the student, in spite of using the ‘I’ pronoun, keeps her tone completely impersonal and only gives her opinion where she is asked to.
- Try to keep the information simple and precise. Do not plunge in describing unnecessary details because remember this is not a descriptive essay. Do not get carried away in providing extra/irrelevant information. In the above example the student provides all required information in a terse manner.
- Do not confuse the tenses. See that the incident took place in the past so it should be written in a past tense.
- The incident is sketched in an indirect way ‘the stallholder said that, the bus driver asked us…’instead of adding any direct speeches.
- Use simple vocabulary (the purpose here is to inform not to entertain) and use Standard English expressed in simple and compound sentences.
- Structure your information through linking your points coherently in paragraphs.
- Do not exceed the word count.
- Remember! A report is to inform or explain about certain matter(s). Its purpose is not to entertain the reader.
Report on the incident during School Outing
I was asked by the school headmaster to write a report to you about the incident that took place a few days before during a school outing. We were going to visit a factory which was a long way away and we had break on the way. It was very hot and the journey was very long so everyone was very thirsty. There was a stall selling many lovely drinks and there was also a fridge full of bottles of orange and Coke. Everyone crowded round fighting each other to get to the drinks first of all.
Mr Ahmed shouted at us crossly. He told us all to make a line and stop making such a noise. We obeyed him and waited abediantly. The stallholder was quiet an old man and he was cross. I don’t think he liked all us boys and he glared at us. Some of the boys were pushing and they payed money one by one. At the end we were getting on the bus. The old man came and shouted at Mr Ahmed and said,’That boy there didn’t pay me!’ He pointed at Irfan said I did pay you well. The buys who had been next to Irfan in the line said he did pay Sir I saw him pay.
So Mr Ahmed said to the stallholder I think you are mistaken because my boys sware that this boy payed you. There were a lot of boys. To make mistake is easy for you. The stallholder looked very angry and said again Irfan had not pay. Mr Ahmed has told us all to get on the bus and we did and went to the factory for outing.
15 March 2006
- This is another version of a report for the same question given above.
- The sentences are fragmentary,
- there are many spelling errors,
- the beginning is written in an inappropriate manner (as if writer is confused between letter writing and report writing),
- extra irrelevant details are included,
- inappropriate tone and register is used,
- many emotional details complement with an excessive use of the ‘I’ pronoun are noticed in the example,
- there are many direct speeches included which should have been stated in an indirect manner.
- See my post on the difference between Account Writing and Report Writing, ‘Account Writing
Source: Oxford Progressive English, General Certificate English, Cambridge Revision Guide, First Language English.