Teaching writing skills

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The most important factor in writing exercises is that students need to be personally involved in order to make the learning experience of lasting value. Encouraging student participation in the exercise, while at the same time refining and expanding writing skills, requires a certain pragmatic approach. The teacher should be clear on what skills he/she is trying to develop. Next,the teacher needs to decide on which means (or type of exercise) can facilitate learning of the target area. Once the target skill areas and means of implementation are defined, the teacher can then proceed to focus on what topic can be employed to ensure student participation. By pragmatically combing these objectives, the teacher can expect both enthusiasm and effective learning.


The first day of any class is critical as teachers establish the groundwork for the rest of the term. In addition to discussing classroom procedures, rules, and other classroom management details, ESL teachers must assess students’ widely varying language abilities. Assessment can be accomplished through a basic English proficiency test, one-on-one conversations, and reviewingstudents’ files from prior ESL instruction.
Not only do teachers need to assess students’ language proficiency, but they also need background information that will indicate students’ willingness to learn English. Teachers should ask about the students’ native languages and learn if there are other English speakers in their home. Understanding the support network students have for learningEnglish can help teachers tailor instruction to meet students’ needs.
In as much the same way as we write e-mails, shopping lists or personal memos, children use their writing skills not only during English lessons, but also during their other classes.
Learning how to write involves more than putting pen to paper. Writers - whatever the age - need practice and encouragement, as well asroom where to test ideas, make mistakes and write badly.
One of the methodologies is to encourage children to express themselves through writing, and emphasising the funding of knowledge rather than spelling mistakes.
Spelling mistakes occur in a pattern, and therefore teachers are encouraged to correct that pattern rather than mark every single mistake. While an essay covered in red circlesdiscourages a child, the circling of good ideas encourages the child to bring out better ideas.
Writing helps students learn the subject matter: they understand and retain course material much better when they write about it.

❖ General Strategies when teaching writing.
1. View the improvement of students' writing as your responsibility.
Many faculty erroneously believe thatteaching writing is the job of the English department or composition program alone. Not true! Writing is an essential tool for learning a discipline. Helping students improve their writing skills is therefore the responsibility of all faculty.
2. Let students know that you value good writing.
Stress the importance of clear, thoughtful writing. As Elbow (1987) has noted, you can require competentwriting without knowing how to teach composition. In general, faculty who tell students that good writing will be rewarded and poor writing will be penalized receive better essays than instructors who don't make such demands. In the syllabus, on the first day of class, and throughout the term, remind students that they must make their best efforts in expressing themselves on paper. Back up yourstatements with comments on early assignments that show you really mean it, and students will respond.
3. Regularly assign brief writing exercises in your classes.
Writing is a complex set of skills that requires continuous practice. You need not assign weekly papers to give students experience in writing. To vary the pace of a lecture course, ask students to write for a few minutes during...
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