Writing writing is a process of discovery as well as a process of productivity.In contrast to oral-aural skills, writing can provide students with a chance to work at their own pace, especially if it is done at home or without any limited time assigned by teachers and allows them to think the task over before producing language.
Writing is less stressful since it releases students from the pressure of being anxious when they are called upon to speak facing others; the matter which effectively blocks their ability.
Writing can offer a permanent record; students can look back on what they have achieved in order to refresh their minds, to refine, gradually their linguistic competencies.
Writing is helpful for teachers in many ways:
1.To reinforce what students have learnt; either vocabulary, structures or idioms.
2.To go beyond what students have just learnt.
3.To involve students in the new language.
4.To make decisions of students' success or failure.
Writing enables students to:
1.Discover some thing new.
2.Express ideas freely.
3.Master new learning.
4.Relate the language into their own interests or environment.
5.Communicate with a reader.
6.Familiarize him/her self with the conversations of written English.
7.Check and correct what they have written before it is shown to others.
Main points teachers have to bear in mind when conducting a writing activity:
1.Planning and timing.
2.Deciding the suitable activity to achieve the objective.
3.Choosing the most appropriate technique to implement the activity that suits both students' level and the type of activity.
4.Following up the outcomes.
5.Checking and feedback.
Teaching individual letters
Imagine you are teaching anew letter . Which of these steps are important ? Which are not important ?
Draw lines on the board .
Write the letters clearly on the board .
Describe how the letters are formed .
Say the name of the letter .
Give the sound of the letter.
Student repeat the name of the letter .
Student repeat the sound of the letter.
Student draw the letter in the air .
Student copy the letter in their books.
1- When students have learnt a new letter, they can practice joining it to other letters they knew already . Obviously, they should only practice combinations ,which really exist in words ,and as soon as they know enough letters they should practice writing words and sentences.
Which combinations would be worth practicing :
ta ti et ot yt th tg nt dt
2- Letters joining can be thought in the same way as individual letters . Its very important to show clearly how we make joins from the end of one letter to the beginning of the next.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of copying words :
For student who have to learn English script , copying is a useful exercise ; students don’t have to produce words of their own , so the focus in entirely on handwriting
Simply copying words or sentences from the board can be mechanical activity, students can easily do it without really thinking, and it soon become boring .
How to make copying more challenging ?
One way to make copying more challenging is by including simple tasks for students to do . For example , we can ask student to match words together , match words with pictures ,put word in the correct order . This makes sure that student think about what are they copying and understand what the word mean ,it also gives reason for writing the words . Here are some more tasks :
a-Match the question with the answer then write them out .
b-Copy the true sentence only ." one picture with four sentences "
c-Some of these animals are farm animals, other are wild animals write them in two lists " Farm animals ---- Wild animals ".
Revised Items / New Teaching items:
1.Teacher writes the words on the board.
2.Students read the words aloud.
3.T. erases some words to be dictated / Teacher erases part of the word like a vowel, a diphthong, consonant, combination.
4.Ss. write the words.
5.T. rewrite the words again on the board.
6.Ss. Look at the words and correct themselves.
1.Ss. Read the words silently.
2.Ss. read the sets.
3.Ss. Fill in the words within a limited period of time.
4.T. moves around offering help.
5.Checking the answers along with the students.
6.Writing the correct answers on the board.
7.Giving appropriate and immediate feedback.
Question Answer Techniques:
Interaction ( T S / S T / S S)
-T. presents the new teaching point ( N.T.P )
-T. model some sentences or questions asking Ss. either to repeat or answer (T P ).
-T. chooses a students to ask him / her (P T) on the (N.T.P).
-T. chooses two Ss. To ask each other on the (N.T.P) (P P)
This technique can be repeated with all (N.T.P) with variety of questions and the teacher has to correct immediately though indirectly.
Pair / Group work:
-Having presented the (N.T.P), the teacher gives Ss. 2 – 3 minutes to work in pairs or groups
-T. moves around offering help.
-T. chooses (2 – 3) groups / pairs to perform their dialogues.
-T. doesn't interface (Why?)
How to develop spelling?
1.Look at the word.
2.Say the word.
3.Cover the word with a piece of paper.
4.Think of the word.
5.Write the word.
6.Check and see if you are right.
1. Controlled writing
Comment on this activity :
Copy the following sentences :
"Ahmed goes to school by bus ."
1-The activity is completely mechanical. Students can copy the sentence even if they don’t know what it means . Their attention is not focused on the meaning of the sentence at all.
2-Because it is so mechanical , it is very uninteresting . The students are not required to think or use their imagination in any way.
How to make the activity more meaningful and more interesting while keeping it fairly controlled?
1-Leave out parts of the sentence for students to write themselves ,e.g," Ahmed ____________ by bus ." or "Ahmed goes to school _________ ." Either let student for themselves what to write in the gap , or say the whole sentence and ask them to write what they heard .
2-Say the sentence ,but write only the outline on the board. e.g "Ahmed – school – bus " student write the whole sentence .
3-Draw a picture to replace part of the sentence.
Ask students to write the whole sentence in words.
- write the sentence on the board, and ask students to write a similar sentence about themselves.
1.More controlled writing activities:
-Gap filling: listen to the teacher, then write out the complete sentence.
-Re-ordering words: write the sentences correctly.
-Substitution: write a true sentence like this about yourself.
-Correct the facts: Re-write the sentences so that they match the pictures.
2. Guided writings:
What problems might be involved in giving a completely free writing task?
-Many students would probably find it quite difficult, ands make many mistakes. If so, they would find the task frustrating and probably not learn very much from it.
-Students would probably approach the task indifferent ways, and produce a wide variety of different paragraphs. So the only way to correct their work would be individually, book by book; this would be very time-consuming for the teacher.
How can we make such activities guided?
-By giving a short test as a model.
-By doing oral preparation for writing.
Strategies for teaching writing:
The strategy you use to teach your students writing depends greatly on the type of writing activity whether it is a post card, a description, paragraph, dictation … etc and it also depends on your students level. In general you have to go through the following stages.
1. Pre -Writing process:
Introducing the subject, discussing a picture, a table, a map … etc, providing ideas, words, pattern to help in writing, Explaining the task itself completion, filling gaps, full piece of writing …. Time, organization.
2. Writing process:
Providing the needed materials, the needed support for students, creating a quiet atmosphere in which students will have the chance to think.
3. Post-writing process:
Checking the product, correcting it, displaying it in classroom by reading it or fixing it on a wall or the English corner.
General Principles of Error Correction
As far as possible, encourage the students, focusing on what they have got right, not on what they have got wrong.
Praise students for correct answers, and even for partly correct answers; in this way, they will feel they are making progress.
Avoid humiliating students or making them feel that making a mistake is "bad".
Correct errors quickly; if too much time is spent over correcting errors, it gives them too much importance and holds up the lesson.
Suggested Ideas for Correcting Mistakes
Correcting work orally in class is a good idea for a large class, as it greatly reduces the teacher's workload. As he or she corrects, the teacher can move around the class to check that students are correcting their own mistakes.
Correcting work immediately in class ( rather than returning it the next day) means that the teacher can draw students' attention to problems while they are still in their minds.
Correcting in class works best with fairly controlled writing activities, where there are not too many possible answers.
Getting students to correct either their own or each other's work (before the teacher gives the correct answer) takes time in the lesson; but it gives students useful practice in reading through what they have written and noticing mistakes. It is also a good way of keeping the class involved.
Mistakes Identification and Correction
Errors correction is often done by the teacher providing corrections for mistakes made by the students. However, it is probably more efficient for students ( as mentioned earlier) to correct their own mistakes. In order to do this, students and the teacher should have a common shorthand or code for correcting mistakes. (Correction Key)
W/O Word order
W/W Wrong word order
WF Word form (noun, adjective, adverb …etc)
SV Subject verb agreement
# Number (singular and plural)
VT Verb tense
VF Verb form (gerund, participle, …etc)
^ Missing word / add a word
X Omit this
Are your students poor at writing? Try the following
Stage preparation carefully: students should speak-read then write.
Grade each step: give shorter, simpler, tasks until they improve.
Give practice in planning, organizing, and expressing information.
Give model or target essays.
Practice relevant structures before they write their own.
Keep a record of common mistakes, focus on ONE per lesson.
Insist on corrections. Test them later.
Make them write in class. Vary the topic set.
Do writing as a group work. (the good help the weak).