Writing a short book is a great way for students – especially young students – to use their written language in a meaningful and creative way. This is an activity that lends itself to mixed-level classes. In addition, if these books are kept, displayed, and referred to, they also offer a method of passive review – either as a class or by individual students. Finally, in teaching a book lesson, it is important to read a completed book to the class before starting the activity, so that students can see the goal and understand the target of the story. Here are some examples of simple books that can be made by young ESL/EFL learners:
For many Korean students, essay writing is a daunting task that requires attention to details and understanding of essay structure.
Essays can be broken down into the following structure: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. Simply explaining this foundation, however, doesn’t make the writing process any easier. It is important to break down each and every component for students to realize that an essay practically writes itself.
About the author: Melissa Alvia is a graduate from the 120-Hour Advanced Certificate Course. She has been teaching English for 7 years. Melissa spent one year in Japan as a public school teacher, and she currently teaches English to Korean students in Toronto, Canada.
Brainstorming Strategies – Teaching Writing Skills
In the first stage of the composing process, students must generate vocabulary and ideas on the topic of the activity or lesson. This is not only a writing skills strategy; it is what is called building schema: mental pictures of concepts -the terms we need to be able to think, talk about and write on a subject-. In our native language, we consciously and subconsciously accumulate a huge storage bank of topics which have gone into long-term memory and bring them to use subconsciously when we communicate. When we try to function in a second language, we also need these ‘banks’ of concepts to be able to produce our second language with any degree of fluency.
Exam-focused, academic writing courses usually focus on writing paragraphs, letters, reports and essays. Students are graded on mechanical errors, language used, staying on topic, organization, cohesion, unity, and other stylistic concerns.
Learning how to improve writing skills for exams is just as you would train for any competition, so you need to help students develop tools and techniques for them to write effectively and efficiently when under pressure.
Teaching writing is very different from teaching other skills. When acquiring a new language, we learn to speak like we learn to walk: through trial and error, and as we develop the moves and techniques we are soon toddling around. Writing skills are more analogous to learning to play a musical instrument. There is a language that must be learned to be able to read music and specific strategies that must be learned and practiced in order to become proficient. There must also be motivation to learn, a purpose to practice, and students must go through stages in developing specific competencies before proficiency can be achieved. Read more
Many ESL teachers assume that the students they will be working with, though they may be low-level in English, will be literate in their first language. In many teaching situations this is not always the case.
Teaching writing skills can be boring because writing is traditionally a lonely, isolated pursuit; however, the ESL writing class offers many opportunities for collaboration whereby both students and the instructor can work together at various stages of the writing process.
If you are teaching writing, especially for learners with academic goals, it can be very helpful to explore some of the differences between spoken and written language with your class. Although misunderstandings in spoken communication can be negotiated and overcome, even small inaccuracies in written language can present barriers to effective communication. This need for grammatical and lexical accuracy is one reason why most L2 learners find academic writing to be the most difficult skill to learn.