Again a writing assignment, so boring and time-consuming. This may be one of the reactions (and in most cases the only reaction) to a written task assigned by the teacher. Things get worse when the tasks are for academic writing (writing reports, business proposals, official mails/letters, essays, papers, articles. etc). 

Here we will present some tips which can turn all types of academic writing tasks into a more enjoyable fun activity. 

Make the Students the Authorities

After finishing any type of academic writing task, the teacher chooses 3 judges, gives the written tasks to them and they decide whose work is the best. I always give them a grading rubric which I will personally use. This works great for many reasons. Firstly, the students take up the role of the teacher, and they will feel  more self-motivated. Secondly, they learn how to strengthen their own writing by identifying what qualities constitute good writing (spelling, grammar, proper construction and cohesive structure). After reviewing all the works they  announce their verdict on the best one by supporting their opinion. The best work can be later placed on the wall. I practiced these techniques a lot with my exam preparation courses (BEC Vantage and Higher) and it gave them a better understanding of how they are graded and how to improve. 

Create Contests

Once in a while, you can organize contests and two students can host it. Be creative and think of a  wide range of categories to allow more opportunities for different students to win irrespective of their skills and level. For example, besides «the best essay or proposal»,  categories could include «the work with least mistakes,» «the best essay topic» «the best introductory paragraph,» or even «the most improved work«, “the best style”, etc. The more interesting the categories, the more excited students will be about the writing process, especially when it comes to the academic style since it is more time-consuming, takes more writing time and skills.  A pizza party or ice cream social usually worked well in case of my students as a prize.

Frankenstein essays

Divide the class into groups and give each group a different essay question. Each member of the group must write one paragraph – the paragraphs are then ‘stitched’ together and must make a coherent whole. This is a great technique for practicing linking words (essays, business reports, letters, proposals).

As an alternative to this activity, students write essays on different topics. They exchange with peers who change  some words in the essay by replacing them with their synonyms. Then they give it to another student and assign a new task , e.g. paraphrase one sentence, change the introductory sentence, etc. In the end, the essay returns to the original owner totally changed.

Draw My Monster

  1. Students are given pieces of paper and asked to draw a monster and not show it to anyone. 
  2. Next, they write a descriptive essay about their monster going into enough detail (size, color, expression of his mouth, etc) so that when another student reads it, he will be able to recreate the monster.
  3. The essays are passed around randomly to the other students in the room. He/she must read his peer’s essay and draw the monster described there. 
  4. Once the students finish, they should find the original writer of the essay, compare monster drawings and see how well they did — both describing the monster and recreating it. Award a prize, such as a free homework pass or a monster pencil.

This activity can work great while practicing writing descriptive essays.

Persuade Me

Tell the students that they are going to write persuasive essays about something they’d like to change in the classroom (homework requirements, grading system, classroom policies, etc). Ask an independent judge (another English teacher or a writer) to choose the essay that makes the most persuasive argument. Copy that essay for all students and use it as a teaching tool in class, analyzing the structure of the essay, its thesis, argument, supporting ideas and conclusion. As a «prize» for the author of the winning essay, implement the change requested in the essay. I have practiced this technique a lot while dealing with business proposals. And our CEO took the part of the judge. Due to this technique, the students enjoyed proposal writing so much. 

All the given tips will guarantee a successful academic writing session full of joy and excitement. 

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Комментарии (3)
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    Liza Mardoyan

    Very happy that the article turned out to be useful for you at the exact time. 🙂

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    showed up)))

  • Фото аватара

    THis has showed when i was thinking about HOW to cope with writing task and make it fun for students. So, perfect timing and awesome tips. Thank you very much, I»m going to try them all with my students.))) Very, very helpful!


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