Why are explanation skills important?
Explanation skills allows you to explain why many things have occurred. For example why a certain event has occurred in History, why a particular character feels that way in English or why your practical results have that pattern in Science.
PEE, PEEL and PEEEL
The PEE, PEEL and PEEEL structures can be used to help you to write a detailed, but also concise explanation.
These tend to be some of the more complex questions on exams and therefore worth many marks.
Also, being able to explain things well will help you to improve your communication and reasoning skills, which will help you both in school and afterwards.
A Simpson’s Example of Using PEEEL to explain
An example of a mark scheme based on PEEEL
- Describes what happened
- Identifies one cause but doesn’t explain it
- Identifies a number of causes but doesn’t explain them
- Explains one cause
- Explains one cause and identifies others
- Explains a number of causes
- Explains a number of causes in a structured way
Why did Marge leave Homer?
Read each of the following paragraphs and see which point of the mark scheme it matches up to.
Marge and Homer have been married for a long time. They have three children – Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Homer works at the nuclear plant in Springfield where they live. Their neighbours are the Flanders family who are all strong Christians. The Simpson’s children all go to Springfield High School where Mr Skinner is the principal.
No relevant points on the mark scheme
The Simpson’s are very popular American cartoon characters. Marge is the Mum and Homer is the Dad. Marge walked out on Homer because he spent so much time at Mo’s bar with people like Barney.
Identifies one cause, but doesn’t explain it
Marge Simpson is married to Homer and they live in Springfield. Marge dumped Homer because she did not feel he was a very good role model to their children. For example, he spent a lot of his time just sitting in front of the television drinking beer and eating huge piles of doughnuts. Consequently, Marge worried that this would be copied by the children, especially Bart, and they would turn into slobs.
Explains one cause
Marge left Homer because she felt she could no longer rely on him. For example, he lost his job at the nuclear plant for showing off and causing a dangerous leak. This meant they had very little money coming in and they were struggling to clothe and feed their children. It wasn’t the first time he has lost his job and Marge knew it wouldn’t be the last. She also left because of his attitude towards her sisters.
Explains one cause and identifies others
Marge left Homer for several reasons. Firstly, she was pushed out by his terrible habits. For example, he spent lots of his time drinking beer at home or in Mo’s bar. This annoyed her because he was spending money that could be used for the children and it resulted in him belching and breaking wind in front of her friends and family which was embarrassing.
She also left because she was drawn towards another man. Artie Ziff, her college boyfriend, turned up and he was rich, polite and sophisticated. Marge went with him because he treated her with respect and made her feel special.
In addition, she felt she could no longer rely on him. For example, he lost his job at the nuclear plant for showing off and causing a dangerous leak. This made their financial situation precarious and caused her terrible worry.
All of these reasons together meant that Marge felt she could no longer stay with Homer.
Explains a number of causes in a structured way
Examples of Using PEEE
GCSE Science Example
Describe and explain the trend in the graph
As the light intensity increases, the rate of photosynthesis also increases, but then stays constant.
For example at 2 units of light intensity the rate of photosynthesis is 3.2 bubbles of oxygen per minute and then between the light intensities of 14 and 16 units the number of bubbles of oxygen stays constant at 8.
This is because between the intensities of 0 and 12 units the light intensity is the limiting factor.
After 12 units a different factor is the limiting factor, for example temperature or carbon dioxide concentration.
See the links below for other examples of using PEEEL in lessons.
- PETER – An Alternative to PEEEL used in English Lessons
PETER – An Alternative to PEEEL used in English Lessons
In English lessons it is important to discuss the technique or the terminology that the author has used. Therefore, you will use PETER, rather than PEEEL.
For example – How does Shakespeare present the theme of conflict in the opening to Romeo and Juliet?
P – Point – In the extract Shakespeare presents the theme of conflict…
E – Evidence – This is shown..
T – Technique or terminology – The use of… metaphor, adjective, verb, rhyme
E – Effect – This suggests that the conflict is…because…
R – Refer or relate – This will make the audience think / feel / respond…because…
Model answer paragraph
In the extract Shakespeare presents the families’ conflict with each other as old and bitter. For example “from ancient grudge break new mutiny.” The use of the adjective ‘ancient’ emphasises the fact that the conflict has been going on for a very long time and the verb ‘mutiny’ shows that fighting and rioting between the families is still happening and causing problems for those trying to keep the peace. This may shock an Elizabethan audience as the conflict between the families has been going on for so long, it seems unlikely they can remember why they hate each other so much which makes their aggressive behaviour pointless and childish.