Are your students really enthusiastic about writing for and against essays or formal letters? As long as they are preparing for taking exams, they have to. But in other cases adults are very busy and unmotivated to spend their time on writing something academic. Teachers can’t ignore writing because as a productive skill it can help practice new grammar and vocabulary. So what tasks should we choose?
- short (ideally no more than 100 words)
- authentic (students should see practical value)
- engaging (tasks should keep them interested)
Ask yourself what type of writing you do on a daily basis. We comment some posts on social networks, write reviews on different products, write messages to our friends. Let’s use these writing activities for our learners.
Here are some types of authentic tasks for busy students.
- Writing reviews
It’s not only a film review which is a standard task in any coursebook. Learners can write reviews on services, shops, hotels and restaurants. This is not only a good practice of the target language but also a piece of advice for other people.
|Food||of a restaurant and its dish(es)|
|Travelling||of a hotel, a travel agency, an excursion etc|
|Cities and places||of a museum, a park etc.|
|Clothes and shopping||of an online shop|
Reviews can be true and students write them on Google, Tripadvisor or other international websites.
One of my one-on-one student wrote this real review of a restaurant in Athens on Google. He tried to consolidate all vocabulary which we learnt before. He definitely found time to write it because he wanted to express his emotions and warn other tourists against going to this place.
As an alternative, your students can write their opinion of something they’ve tried in the lesson. For example, play the piece of music and ask them to write what they think. Or arrange chocolate-tasting and then they need to compare different brands or tastes. Engaging and delicious!
Exchanging information on forums are very popular nowadays. If your students are embarrassed to use a real forum, they can write their advice in the notebook or Google docs. If you work with a group of learners, you can arrange your own forum on social networks or other services like Tricider or Backchannelchat. It’s a good idea to arrange a discussion of any problem which was brought in the reading or listening text, for example, work-life balance, healthy diets, single mothers etc. If you work with several individual learners of the same level, arrange a discussion between them as a part of their homework.
- Writing an advert for a product.People tend to sell used products online like books, equipment, clothes etc. Your students can practice writing an advert and describe a product on Ebay. Here they use wide range of adjectives, describe functions of a product, utilize some grammar topics like the Passive voice and modals. This task helps them to learn practical skills of writing adverts which they might need in future.If you work with a group, your learners can bring a picture and a description to class and organize a fair. See which product and its description will be the most attractive for others.
What types of writing activities do you use with busy adults? Share in the comments below!