Depending on where you teach on the globe you will soon discover that writing can be too much emphasized or on the contrary that it can be left behind because the teacher and learners don’t see it as something as important as speaking skills. Actually a good balance between the four skills Reading, Speaking, Listening and Writing is important to create well-balanced language learners. Our writing tasks will be meaningful when they have a purpose.Consequently before asking your students to write you need to think about planning the writing task beforehand.
The more you review prior knowledge with your students and build interest around the topic with videos, songs, discussions, debates the better the results you will get for the writing task.
In other words you need to find a purposeful activity in which for example students will write a letter to the mayor to complain about the traffic and offer some solutions, or you can ask them to write an article that you will send to a real magazine or newspapers, maybe writing SMS, classroom blogs, social network pages could be good ideas to motivate your students. The aim of this is to find your students some kind of valuable audience. Avoid having them to write just for the sake of it but try to have some contests within your classroom. For instance you may decide to ask them to write a song or a poem and the whole class may vote for the best one which will receive an award.
Writing product and process writing
The writing product is the imitation of an existing writing document. For that type of writing what we are looking for is that our students produce a piece of writing that is very close to the original. We need in that case to train our students to do great forgeries!
When we talk about process writing what matters are the stages we teach our students to produce their final piece. What is important is to teach them how to do a great piece of writing.
Before writing you need to give your students plenty of time to structure both their thinking and writing skills. A good idea is to pair up students together so that they can first of all brainstorm ideas and plan for organizing them. At that point you need to monitor their progression, as they may need some vocabulary and ideas if they feel stuck.
A good idea is to pair up students together so that they can first of all brainstorm ideas and plan for organizing them.
After they have produced their final product presenting it to their peers is a great idea so that they have the feeling to have a real audience. Offering a prize to the best writers’ team can follow that final stage and all the texts could be copied and displayed in the classroom to show good practice.
Here are some ideas you may want to try in your classroom.
- The classroom book: This book will be your students’ property and they will write anything they want while the book is in their possession. The next student to get the book can read about his friend and eventually assess his/her work.
- The classroom newspaper: Students in groups prepare a newspaper with different articles based on their interests ( a fashion page, an horoscope page, sport news etc.)
- The classroom blog, newsletters, website : Students write about their school life on the blog and can read other students’ blogs
- A speech : the topics are endless
- A letter : to a newspaper, a government official etc.
- An essay where they express their opinions
- A movie review
- A conversation, a screenplay, a song, a poem to present to the class