ESL Teaching - Dynamic Writing Classes

by Jared Watney

English language teachers need to go through the stages of writing, which are often brainstorming, writing, and self-editing, in a way that sparks ESL students' interest.

Writing bores most ESL students. They take the class begrudgingly. Even before the lesson begins, they are thinking that the entire 90 minutes (or however long) is going to feel like 3 hours. Being an essay writer free, I can say that most ESL teachers do make the class feel like it's twice the length. Writing teachers must spice up their classes.

Writing Through Speaking

Writing-through-speaking works quite well. This approach demands a lot of thinking on the part of students because both skills are active, productive ways of using English. The students must, in other words, find the information – the chunks of language – from the dank, rotting recesses of their brains. In a reading or listening class, conversely, they can go through the class half asleep.

Because the writing part of a writing class turns many students off, a teacher should limit the amount of writing done in class. A maximum of half of the class time in a writing class should be used. Any more than this, and students will start dropping off – and dropping out of the class.

Pre-teaching Through Eliciting

Pre-teach the target language of the day through eliciting (draw the target language's form and meaning from the students), contextualizing (showing when we use this target language in real life), and concept checking (testing that students understand the target language).

For the present perfect continuous ("She has been eating apples for 2 hours.") one context is going to the doctor. Native speakers talk about a health problem with this tense: "My back has been hurting for 2 weeks." "My twisted ankle has been swelling up for 2 hours." Convey that the action started in the past and is probably happening now and into the future, although this tense is not always clear as to the last 2 possibilities (perhaps the action just stopped).

Energizing ESL Lesson Plans

Generally speaking, non-native speakers are impatient with writing and want to get it out of the way as soon as possible. Brainstorming is therefore problematic. Students will rush through it, regardless of how painstaking the teacher has demonstrated various brainstorming techniques, such as word-maps.

Energize the class, therefore, by making brainstorming a speaking activity in pairs or small groups. After eliciting form and meaning about the target language, pre-teach some vocabulary, but don't take too long here. If the vocabulary is too hard, then give out picture cards with the word written on the cards. One picture could be “ulcer” with the word written on the bottom. Give out about 5 symptom cards and 5 doctor's advice cards. In pairs have the students role-play the visit to the doctor using the target grammar, which in this case is the present perfect continuous. Then perhaps have them switch roles or even partners and do it again.

Eliciting and concept checking the target grammar takes about 10 minutes, and the role play can take between 10 and 20 minutes. The role play functions as brainstorming, but the students have been having some fun with it. Now they are almost ready to write.

Teacher-Led Error Correction

One more step, though: The teacher has been monitoring the role plays, and has noticed mistakes related to the present perfect continuous. Now, the teacher presents these to the class, perhaps by writing them on the board. Then, the students must figure out the correct way to say the sentences. They or the teacher correct the sentences on the board. The essay writing services suggest that teacher will keep the corrected sentences on the board so that the students can refer to them while writing, and avoid making the same mistakes they did when talking.

If a teacher simply does on-the-spot correcting during the role-play or erases the written corrections, the students are quite apt to repeat those very mistakes.

English Writing

Only at this point does the teacher indicate that students will be writing. After a role play, a teacher can have students write out the dialogue of the role play. They can work individually or together at this. Another good writing exercise for this particular topic and grammar is to have students write a letter to their grandma, telling her of their health ailments. This is a slight deviation from the role play. Direct students to use the same grammar and even the same sentences as they did in the role play.

When giving an assignment, be specific as to how many sentences students should write. Remember, they are lazy, even if they are adults, and will only write a minimum. Say something like, “3 paragraphs, a minimum of 4 sentences in each paragraph.”

After they have finished writing, the teacher wants to develop self-editing skills, so that students stop making those Beginner-level mistakes such as “He wears jeans all the time.” The forgotten “s” is the hall-of-fame English grammar error the entire world over. Yet self-editing is not a skill that students learn willingly. It works better to have students correct each other's writing, especially if students are relaxed and humorous.

Teaching Writing to ESL Students

Thus the teaching breakdown is:

With this class, ESL students will have progressed a great deal, and they will be able to measure their improvement every week.

About the author

Jared Watney is a professional writer on Besides, he is a passionate stories writer. In this case, he dreams of self-publishing his book. Moreover, Jared started drawing images for it by himself.


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