Sunday, 31 October 2010

Prayer begins when it ends...

Dear Friends
Quaker meetings for worship are conducted in silence for 30 minutes, all are welcome and crucially anyone who is moved by the spirit can give a ministry.  I used to attend Quaker meetings very regularly in down town Manchester and some of my finest epiphanies were experienced with them. It was during one memorable session that an elderly Quaker got up and stated that meetings for worship begin when they end. I was stunned.
It was the first time that I appreciated what my current Sufi Teacher had taught me namely that prayer should transcend the prayer mat into our day to day lives otherwise it has become inverted if not a subtle show of ego / nafs. She later concluded that this is the Quranic ‘establishment of Prayer’. Also that orthopraxy / right conduct is superior to orthodoxy / right thought.
Prayer is a deeply private matter and its zenith is when it becomes a dialogue between wo(man) and God  just as Martin Buber brilliantly augured. Sometimes it appears and feels that God is not listening but unexpectedly something happens that knocks you for 6, in the cricketing sense! Other times the dialogue can be informal such as walking or whilst day dreaming but just as powerful and valid rather than in any ritualised form such as facing Mecca 5 times a day or in a Saturday night evening gathering in a Synagogue. Since God is closer than the jugular vein emphatically claims the Quran.
Prayer is petrol for the soul especially when it is hurting or broken and allows it to soar beyond the heavens into the loving and sweet embrace of the source...the soul emerges strengthened if not emboldened and above all revitalised...
Call out if not pine for Brahman / God and watch the magic unfold...
Alone to Alone...
Rishi Faisal

Saturday, 30 October 2010


Dear Friends
I have long viewed ‘my’ classroom at the micro level as the Greek ‘temenos’ that is a space ‘cut-off’ and assigned a ‘special domain’ with the purpose of imparting knowledge and where the student emerges changed.
However, I am also beginning to appreciate the whole University if not society as ‘temenos’ and beginning to have an inkling of why Muhammed (pbuh) stated 14 centuries ago that the whole world is a ‘Mosque’. Consequently everything especially the environment and human relationships become sacred and reverential, thus exploitation of any type whether human or socio-economic becomes problematic if not sinful.
Has the continuous secularisation if not devaluation of the sacred caused more harm than good? Why do we find social networking pleasurable and communication with our neighbour or siblings / family / relatives so difficult? What is the solution to the post-modern malaise, namely that we have the power to obliterate the whole of life in a matter of hours?

Yes the return to the innocence...

‘’There is nothing higher than the truth’’...Plotinus

Rishi Faisal

Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Journey...

Dear Friends
Several days ago I called a very close friend in the USA as I was waiting for my late evening train. He sounded rather bemused and enquired why I had called. I was a little taken aback.
Then he proceeded to inform me that his father had passed away in the early hours. I was shocked and became silent.
After what seemed a very long time I asked how he was doing and offered the traditional Universalist Muslim prayer:
Inna Lillaahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raaji'oon
'To God we belong and to Him is our return'.
We spoke briefly and I counselled as best as I could.
Its moments like these when one is forced to see the bigger picture.  I try to remind myself (and my students) that they should never confuse the trees for the forest…

"The unexamined life is not worth living."  Socrates

Rishi Faisal

Honey for the soul...

Dear Friends

“You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket,” John Adams wrote to his son, John Quincy, in May of 1781.

So let Rumi sing...

Moving Water

When  you do things from your soul, you feel a river
moving in you, a joy.

When actions come from another section, the feeling
disappears.  Don't let

others lead you.  They may be blind or, worse, vultures.
Reach for the rope

of God.  And what is that?  Putting aside self-will.
Because of willfulness

people sit in jail, the trapped bird's wings are tied,
fish sizzle in the skillet.

The anger of police is willfulness.  You've seen a magistrate
inflict visible punishment.  Now

see the invisible.  If you could leave your selfishness, you
would see how you've

been torturing your soul.  We are born and live inside black water in a well.

How could we know what an open field of sunlight is? Don't
insist on going where

you think you want to go.  Ask the way to the spring.  Your
living pieces will form

a harmony.  There is a moving palace that floats in the air
with balconies and clear

water flowing through, infinity everywhere, yet contained
under a single tent.

From The Glance
by Coleman Barks

Rishi Faisal


Dear Friends
When I began teaching I always put knowledge first, then the student and finally the institution.
HOWEVER, there has been a major change if not paradigm shift in my thinking now it is STUDENT FIRST…
Challenge, empower, and judiciously guide the student then the rest will follow…The knowledge will flow and the institution will grow and so will the educator i.e. a virtuous circle.
I now appreciate why the founder of Bose, Dr. Amar G. Bose, who was also a Professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used to mix his classes with all abilities and push them hard. Consequently all the class dramatically improved even the students who were perceived to be 'mediocre'. BOSE continue to give back…

Enjoy! : )
Rishi Faisal

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


Dear Friends
I just emerged from a class of first years shell shocked! Seriously! : )~
The students were expected to read some research papers and critically present their findings. And all four groups gave top notch Power Point presentations! This was above and beyond the call of duty…
Lazy students! Humbug!!!
This one is for them:

The road to success is always under construction…
Party On!
Rishi Faisal

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Life Choices!

Dear Friends
Sometimes I wish my life was a neat equation like E=MC2 where I know all the inputs and can successfully predict all the outputs.
I vividly remember the day when I graduated, 15th July 1997, I was suited and gowned and my beaming mum watched me collect my degree. I had my whole life planned out. 16th July onwards my life has been one big roller coaster. Or has it? Am I not the master of my destiny? And what about that wonderful Universal law entitled Karma i.e. what you sow is what you reap.
I have had a rather unorthodox career, managed to pack in some serious air miles and met many weird and wonderful people. Ultimately everyone has to take responsibility for their life choices and I really impinge this upon my students especially the first years.
I would not change anything to date.
A toast to the next 50 years!!!
Rishi Faisal

Sufi Bollywood!

Dear Friends
This is an example of what I call pure Sufi Bolllywood namely drama, hope, pain, a dream and finally a victory…and so much wisdom! Not forgetting the tears…

Apologies the songs are in Hindi but any one with a heart will get them!  : )

Keep jamming & dreaming!

Rishi Faisal

Getting Drunk - the Sufi Way!

Dear Friends
A Sufi once remarked that not until you become drunk over a glass of water you have 'tasted' / actualised nothing and should re-consider your spiritual modus-operandi…
Rather harsh. However there is much merit in the above. Take a glass of water. Ponder over the literally billions of processes to get the water to you. The river, the ocean, the rain clouds, the droplets, the rain showers, the complex chemical processes, the water company…It is humbling to say the least!
No water. No life.
My hearing, sight, my tongue and hand: all He.
Then I am not, for all that is, is He.
I think I am, and thought is but a dream.
When I awake, all that remains is He.

- Baba Afzal Kashini

For me the glass in always half full…

Rishi Faisal

Sunday, 24 October 2010


Dear Friends
I feel the crown of the educator / teacher is humility. This is best demonstrated by the timeless Sufi / Vedantic symbol of the heavily laden fruit tree in contradistinction to the proud pine tree. The former is malleable and flexible if not worshipful and during times of crisis will go with the flow.
What ensures humility is constructive feedback especially complaints which can be demoralising but are excellent manure for the soul yielding much insight and self-knowledge.
Discere Docendo...To learn through teaching!

Rishi Faisal

Saturday, 23 October 2010

''Student as CUSTOMER''...

Dear Friends
Since the introduction of tuition fees in English Higher Education the concept of ‘student as customer’ has become very popular.
Personally I absolutely detest this concept as it implies the customer namely the student is always right. How can that be? Education is not some commodity that can be bought and sold. Students cannot expect a certain grade after investing x amount of pounds! Surely educators should not pander to their students egos? Educators are not customer service agents.
I currently have 2 student constituencies namely undergraduate and professional. I feel my relationship with both should be one of mutually earned respect and admiration. Thus I see my undergraduate students as ‘partners’ where we are both on a journey of collective and individual discovery. I will endeavour to challenge them and guide them to make good choices.
I view my professional students as ‘colleagues’ as they are preparing for tough exams which I too have obtained. I will do my utmost to ‘sweat’ with them and hold their hands and assure them that they can and will pass.

"Meliora Cogito"... (I strive for the best)

Rishi Faisal

Friday, 22 October 2010

German Inspiration!

Dear Friends
This morning whilst on the train I read the obituary of the pioneering German mountaineer - Kurt Albert. The late Kurt Albert dispensed with protection to free-climb the world's most difficult routes.
I was deeply impressed and inspired. It is these unsung heroes that make this life so interesting and rewarding. These inspirational folks prove what focus, determination, guts and sheer 'bloody mindedness' can actualise.
Kurt died doing what he loved…God Bless Him!
Rishi Faisal

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Confucius says...

Dear Friends
I adore the following adage by Confucius:
"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."
This is true empathy and compassion without jeopardising individuality or self worth. It is also great for team building and cross-departmental working as everyone is viewed as a HUMAN BEING not human doing.

"Where so ever you go, go with all your heart."
Rishi Faisal

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

'Un Learning'...

Dear Friends
The key to any authentic spiritual path such as Buddhism is the wonderful concept of 'Un Learning' which is deeply paradoxical in nature. The following Zen story illustrates the latter and this is part of the reason why I love working with freshers / freshman's and undergraduates / seniors:
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

I have already identified some future stars and pray that these students and the others cut the mustard!
A toast to Beginners Mind!
Rishi Faisal

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

COST REDUCTION v cost cutting...

Dear Friends
Tomorrow the coalition government will announce sweeping cuts to the Public Sector and Higher Education is set to experience savage cut backs.
I wish the politicians would emphasise cost reduction rather than cost cuts. Since in the former costs are reduced while attempting to protect if not enhance quality. This is a continuous process and should be part of the fabric of any organisation especially in the public sector regardless of whether there is an economic downturn or not. Cost reduction has its roots in my favourite Japanese business philosophy namely KAIZEN.
The following joke illustrates the aforementioned concepts.
''President Clinton ordered a cost saving program to the U.S. Army commander. "Cut anywhere, but you must cut in any way possible."

OK said the commander and looked around at some way to cut spending. Perhaps if he could get rid of some old records, that may please the President. So he went to the storage depot and discovered that the Army still had menus and supply orders of food from the Civil War. Very pleased showed the President, and asked if he might destroy all the documents.
 "Why, yes," said Clinton.  "But be sure to make two copies of each before you do."

Rishi Faisal

Friday, 15 October 2010

'A Clear Midnight'...

Dear Friends
As i am winding down for the week...The following poem sprang from my heart by the great Walt Whitman:
''This is thy hour O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from the books, away from the art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thy full forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best.
Night, sleep, and the stars''.

Rishi Faisal

'Teacher as Leader'...

Dear Friends
Since I entered the teaching profession I have been searching for models and tried my own approaches. This is a very important exercise as 'teaching is the mother of all professions'. 'Teacher as counsellor and motivator' has accrued some success and now I am also incorporating 'teacher as expert' into my teaching practice.
However the key is using the approaches and theories judiciously and wisely. Reality is so complex that there can be no single 'grand theory of everything'.  Theories, models are nets that capture some fabric of this reality and give direction rather than concrete answers.
I am also exploring 'Teacher as leader' especially the 'servant-leader' model which has stolen my imagination. The phrase “Servant Leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, he said:
"The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature."


Rishi Faisal

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Free Speech

Dear Friends
Salman Rushdie is perceived as one of the most divisive individuals on the planet. For some he is a champion of Free Speech for others he is a pariah. I was a teenager when the Satanic Verses crisis broke. Initially I was perplexed how any one could 'trash their Prophet', since Salman was a born Muslim.
With the benefit of hindsight he was used by Islamists to distract their fellow brethrens attention from the real issues plaguing Muslim societies across the globe such as under-development, corruption, female exploitation and intra communal violence. Salman managed to unite a lot of extremists who would probably have been at each others throats.  
I recently read an interview in which he was asked
'You previously wrote 'religion is coming after us all'. What did you mean?
'We're living in a period when religion is politicised. Religion is, to my mind, unexceptional when it's in the private sphere - that’s their business. But when it becomes a public force, it becomes everybody's business. It's just not Islam. If you're in the US, you understand the force of conservative Christianity in that country. In India, you see how violently radical aspects of certain sections of the Hindu religion are becoming. This is trans-cultural and not unique to any religion. What does seem to be of our time is the militancy of religious groups and their groups and their willingness to be violent in defence of what they see as their ideology'.
The above is a deeply penetrating and timely assessment which I totally endorse. Sure Salman is not every Muslims cup of tea however he has no body's blood on his hands.
Today when the reformation of Islam is being hotly debated in London, Washington, Paris and influential think tanks we could have done with Salmans intellectual pedigree and ferocious intellect. Thus after extensive travel, a cosmopolitan education and extensive reading I wish Salman were still in the fold and allowed to keep his views albeit offensive and unabashed atheism.

Ghar ajaa pardesi…Come home stranger…

Rishi Faisal

Chilean Magic...

Dear Friends
I watched the Chilean mining rescue into the small hours…It felt as if I was there and participating in the nervous energy and anticipation as each miner successfully emerged.  And the poignancy of what was occurring was not lost on any one especially the Chilean President who personally greeted and embraced all the miners. It was one of those rare moments when class and status disappeared…Above all It is marvellous to see humble people elevated to stars and paragons of hope…
This incident proves that human beings can collectively rise to any challenge / threat and transform potential tragedy into a lasting victory.
The unfolding human story has been enriched and there is some extra light today, tomorrow, forever...
I am sure tinsel town executives will be flying to Chile very soon!
Rishi Faisal

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Higher Tuition Fees...

Dear Friends

Student fees in H.E will probably increase to £7,000 per annum and much higher in the elite schools / Universities. My heart aches for these students however the economy is such a poor state that if drastic measures are not taken the country will suffer even more and absolute poverty is possible such as in the developing world.
From a demand perspective students will expect 'market friendly' courses and a fighting chance for a job. Consequently business engagement from Universities with companies will become the norm not the exception, if not I expect a rationalisation in the HE sector and potential mergers. Work based learning will become more common and students will take longer to graduate as in North America. This is potentially a good thing as students will become more business savvy and motivated. Students will become bona fide consumers and demand higher standards.  
On the other side of the fence, the supply side, the Universities will have to become extremely flexible in course provision and there will undoubtedly be more transferable credits between institutions.  Again the North American experience is a point of reference.
Fears of a two tier H.E system and the lack of accessibility for students from a disadvantaged background are partially correct. However I am sure the mandarins in Whitehall will be hatching a plan as UK PLC has to compete and economically beat the BRIC and other emerging nations. As for a league of Universities this is already present but newer Universities are competing via niche and innovative programmes and are much more Business Engaged then their Red Brick rivals.
I am convinced our H.E system will emerge fitter and stronger…

Rishi Faisal

Friday, 8 October 2010

Trials of teaching...

Dear Friends
I absolutely adore the Biblical parable of the sower that narrates the actions of a farmer at planting time. Some seed he sows falls on rocky ground; some falls by the wayside and is eaten by birds; some falls among the weeds that choke the seedlings; and some falls on good soil where it produces abundantly.
Thus in my current context the seed is teaching. The rocky ground represents the challenging students. The weeds are the stresses and strains of teaching such as workload. HOWEVER, when teaching meets fertile minds the results are astonishing and life transforming.
If anything the rock and weeds are manure for reflection and are a natural feedback for further inner-work. This is important because I know my intention and desire for students to succeed. And my students cannot see inside my skull!!!
Rishi Faisal

Planning Students???

Dear Friends
I have finished my first full week of teaching with a stinking cold!
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Freshers who reminded me of myself. Young, care free and aimless. So I spent the initial part of teaching sessions by encouraging perhaps frightening them into creating a picture of where they want or should be going. I began my sermon with the following student lore:
Degree Classification                                            Nickname
Ist Class - 70%                                                         Michael Jordan
2:1 - 60-69%                                                             Jimmy White
2:2 - 50-59%                                                             Desmond Tutu
3rd - 40-49%                                                             King Louis the 3rd
PASS - LESS THAN 39%                                     1 WAY TICKET TO THE MOON
After 4 years of study most students will be in £30,000 of debt. They will have accrued an additional £40,000 opportunity cost i.e. had they gained an apprenticeship they would have probably made a £10,000 p.a salary. And there is no price for the apprentices experience but for arguments sake let us assume over 4 years of work an apprentice accumulates £30,000 worth of experience.
Hence a first year student invests a cool £100,000 to obtain ideally a Michael Jordan university education and minimum Jimmy White! SORRY DESMONDS AND KING LOUIS's need not apply!
Upon graduation British Students will be completing with the BRIC nations not globally but for LOCAL JOBS. Are employers impressed by the current stock of graduates even our first class students?
Sandra Smith IS Director for Toshiba UK says:
''It's more important that graduates are aware of the possibilities of technology and know how to research and present their findings. I'm not sure it's an IT skill - problem-solving, mental energy, planning and lateral thinking always seem to be in short supply. You can't put good systems in without them, that's for sure''.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail...springs to mind!
Planning is essential for a student to focus his / her future direction. A strategic plan serves as a roadmap to the future, providing direction and focus. Student's need USP's such as languages, emotional intelligence, inter-personal and business skills and voluntary service on their CV's to even make the interview stage let alone a nice cushy £30k job. And they will still be in debt!

This has serious implications for society as surely we do not want to produce incompetent and psychologically damaged young people who suffer from low self esteem? Who may then out of desperation be attracted to extreme far right politics that promises a nightmarish utopia?
I for one will do my bit…and sincerely pray that the students will take advantage of all of the facilities and opportunities on offer.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.
Rishi Faisal

Thursday, 7 October 2010


Dear Friends
The Britsh  Prime Minister, David Cameron, yesterday gave a resounding speech urging the public to stand up and take ownership. It is part of the new Tory mantra called the 'BIG SOCIETY'. So what is this 'BIG SOCIETY and what are the implications for educators / education especially in Higher Education (H.E)?
Cynics have dubbed this as cut backs to the welfare state through the back door, or a privatisation of public services such as education. I am not convinced since 13 years of a Labour administration bloated the public sector beyond imagination so that it accounts for a crazy 40 odd percent of GDP no wonder the BRIC countries are thrashing us economically! Granted the casino bankers took us to the brink but New Labour were not exactly saying no to their mega Tax receipts!!!
At the heart of the BIG SOCIETY, from what I understand, is that the social contract between the citizen and government has failed. Just because we pay our taxes we cannot merely expect public services in return. Since this breeds inefficiency and 'stop-go' policies as it is impossible to fulfil every person's / interest groups demands and crucially expectations.
For example if my neighbour is facing anti-social problems should I intervene or expect the Police to do their jobs? If a student is having personal problems should I help or leave it to the professional counsellor?
I think the BIG SOCIETY is designed to help solve the aforementioned social conundrums. Since if I am a responsible citizen it is in my interest that there I should be participating in a thriving local community that works in partnership with the public sector agencies such as the Police. This is not a new concept as ancient communities worked on theo-centric / communitarian principles. This is a win-win policy as theoretically individual and social needs / expectations / demands are efficiently fulfilled.
For H.E it means the entitlement of a degree for local students is over. Since, after 3-4 years of study the student will be expected to actively participate in society not just at a professional level. As an educator I will probably have to in still a sense of civics. Is that part of my remit? YOU BET!
So what happens to those students who don't make the grade and still want to go to University? I am sure there will other routes such as Further Education colleges who are already offering degree programmes.
Personally I believe this is a grand attempt spearheaded by the Conservatives, in the Lib-Con pact, to get the nation to sing from the same hymn sheet!!!
Rishi Faisal

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

'The War with Muslims has just begun????'

Dear Friends
FAILED Times Square bomber Faisal Shazad was jailed for life yesterday and went down warning 'the war with Muslims has just begun'. Also that 'Muslims don't abide by human laws'.
I wholeheartedly follow and respect the law of England which guarantees religious and socio-economic freedom. THUS AM I A KAFIR???? Along with 99.999% of my fellow co-religionists in Europe if not across the west! BTW it a religious injunction to follow the law of the land as vouchsafed by early Muslims who successfully and peacfully lived in Christian Abyssinia at the time of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) 
Also which WAR WITH MUSLIMS? Internationalisation of regional conflicts such as the Arab-Israeli one has only exacerbated the status quo on the ground and radicalised young people. SORRY NOT MY BUSINESS!!!
The Muslim World suffers from systemic failure not some global conspiracy to annihilate Muslim Land and its suffering peoples. The inputs and processes are riddled with Muslim corruption consequently the output is socio-economic failure, extremism, and stunted human capital.
In the words of the Quran God will not change a people until they change themselves…Also that nations have been made different and are expected to compete with one another in positive endeavours!
Get a Life!
Save a Life!
Celebrate Life!
Rishi Faisal

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Liminal Education?

Dear Friends
Liminality is derived from the Latin limen, 'threshold', thus the term suggests a dramatic change in one's condition.
Thus can education be liminal?
Well a time and space are essential ingredients along with a genuinely motivated teacher. However the student must commit if not intend the 'change' also known as separation consciously if not wholeheartedly, since they are leaving their normality from a constructed time and space from which they will hopefully be enriched.
Probably they are apprehensive and doubtful about the authenticity of the teacher. If they consciously choose to 'change' the latter issues will become easier to deal with and they will have the support of their fellow students and a student-community spirit will ensue.
After the class there is re-aggregation and ideally the student emerges slightly changed.
This is an incremental and two way process and patience and dedication on the part of the educator is vital.
Thus education can and should be liminal, considering the billions of tax receipts that are pumped into the education system.

Rish iFaisal

SYNERGY...and 'The Wine of the Sufi's'...

Dear Friends

'Synergy' originates from the Greek 'to work together'. The attainment of output, when 2 factors work together, that is greater or better than the sum of their products when they work separately.
In my teaching context I the 'educator' and 'pedagogy' produce 'student understanding / experience'. If not then teachers become redundant and students may as well guzzle their favourite poison and read books in the library! (Don't know about the library but fave poison - YES!)
Rishi Faisal

Ps - My fave poison is freshly ground Arabica coffee with cream. They say coffee is the 'wine of the Sufi's!'...and RED BULL! : )

Purpose of Education...

Dear Friends
I feel that the purpose of education especially business education is not only to develop skilled professionals, but to remind these future professionals of the impact of their work on the welfare of people and society in general and to make them socially responsible in fact socially literate.
This ‘reminder’ can be executed via ethics courses or informally through assignments focusing on corporate social responsibility. Either way it is the most important topic dominating business and philosophical thinking as you read.
A case in point is the high flyers and city slickers that dominate the financial centres across the globe. The current global recession and credit crunch if not debacle was caused by professionals who were high on a toxic cocktail of short-termism coupled with personal greed of an astronomical proportion. I am certain had those  Keynesian ‘animal spirits’ been checked earlier through regulation and personal conduct we would not be in the midst of so much international turmoil and personal trauma.
I believe in the free market. A free market dominated by spirit NOT EGO.
Yaa Haq / The Truth!
Rishi Faisal

Friday, 1 October 2010


Dear Friends and Fellow Students
Writing essays can be very challenging but extremely satisfying if not rewarding. It is essential that the question is properly read and understood.   Her are some key terms normally used.

Look for similarities and differences between; perhaps reach a conclusion about which is preferable.

Set in opposition in order to bring out differences

Give your judgment about the merit of theories or opinions or about the truth of facts; back your judgment by discussion of evidence or reason involved.

Set down the precise meaning of a word or phrase. In some cases it may be necessary or desirable to examine different possible or often used definitions

Give a detailed or graphic account of.

Investigate or examine by argument; sift and debate; give reasons for and against. Also examine the implications

Make an appraisal of the worth of something, in the light of its truth or usefulness. Include, to a lesser degree, your personal opinion.

Make plain; interpret and account for; give reasons for.

Use a figure or diagram to explain or clarify, or make clear by the use of concrete examples

Expound the meaning of; make clear and explicit, usually giving your own judgement as well.

Show adequate grounds for the decisions or conclusions; answer the main objections likely to made to them

Give the main features, or general principles, of a subject omitting minor details and emphasising structure and arrangement

(A) Narrate - more usual in examinations
(b) Show how things are connected to each other, and to what extent they are alike, or affect each other

Make a survey of, examining the subject carefully.

Present in a brief, clear form

Give a concise account of the chief points of a matter, omitting details and examples

Follow the development or history of a topic from some point of origin.

When I was an under graduate I would love writing in rough and then type the essay. This can be time consuming but that’s where I learnt the art of argument and articulation.

And practice makes perfect!!!!

Rishi Faisal