Being one of the receptive skills, writing takes quite a long time for students to master. Writing in the classroom doesn’t mean merely the ability to write, it has to do with putting ideas together in a logical, well-organized, reader-friendly and structurally correct way.

Here we will look at the stages of a writing lesson and offer some ideas that can help to make the teaching of this skill as enjoyable as possible both for the teacher and the students.

Stages

  1. Determing the type of the writing

When planning a writing lesson, the first thing to focus on is what structure we want the students to master. In other words, what is the genre of the writing we want them to work with. Textbooks normally have the genre of the writing determined for you, however, if you’re planning a writing lesson not based on the book, you should make sure this stage is there.

To do this, the needs, the background knowledge of the students must be taken into consideration. With teenagers, for instance, story/essay writing sessions are among the most common curriculum items. For adult learners, it can range from email writing to writing reports, proposals or reference letters. 

Once the genre of the writing is determined, the rest of the stages are built up to guide the students to master the writing of a special kind, by providing them clues and hints rather than directly telling them how to do it.

  1. Brainstorming

The next stage is called Brainstorming or Idea Generation. We need this stage to give the students a chance to manipulate the range of the possibilities they can build the text into. This can be done by asking the students to work individually or in groups. From my experience, group brainstorming sessions are more productive as students have a lot more to share.

Let’s say, the genre of the writing session is “a business proposal”. You can ask the students to work in groups, give them a piece of blank paper and ask them to come up with as many business proposals as they have ever read/come across (works well with adult business English learners).

Same can be done for teenage learners. If you’ve decided to tone the skills of story writing, adventure story in particular, you can ask the students to brainstorm adventures they’ve had in their lives and post their ideas on the blank paper.

  1. Narrow it down

Once the brainstorming stage is over with lots of random ideas and experiences, you will need to help the students narrow their ideas down and focus on the key points they will be writing about.

An interesting way to do this is to ask the students to choose the most interesting and related ideas from the paper and try to put them in a story/proposal. What they need to do is simple. Let’s say, your teenage group has come up with the following story lines:

4. Lost at the airport

  • Bad hotel
  • Meeting new people
  • Losing my phone
  • Being late for the flightYour students will need to choose, let’s say 3 of the ideas above and try to create a mind map of the activities (what happened after what). This will help the students to focus their ideas and come a step closer to creating their story piece.
  1. A Model Text

Before getting the students to write their texts, you want to make sure they know how to do it; what the structure is, what some DOs and DON’Ts are, etc.

To do this, you can show them sample texts instead of dictating the structure. You will need to put the students in pairs/groups, give them 2 texts of the same genre of writing they are supposed to come up later, and ask them to;

  • compare the texts to find out which one is better organized in their view and why,
  • what could have been changed to have made the text better
  • what are some vivid mistakes, some great tricks, etc.

Once the students are done, make sure to talk over their suggestions, ideas, and create a visual guide for them on the board by separating it into “DOs/DON’Ts” sections. 

At this stage you can also generate some useful language which they will need to make the text more elaborate by simply picking it up from the sample texts and, of course, letting the students come up with their own ideas as well. In both cases, do post the language they will need to use in their writing on the board (or distribute a pre-made worksheet) for the visual learners not to get lost.

This will equip your students with the necessary knowledge they’ll need to write their own texts in the required format.

  1. Draft It

Well, with all the prior knowledge, students are now ready to try out what they’ve learnt. Here again, you can ask the students to start drafting their piece of writing individually, or (in my case) in pairs. Make sure they understand that it is just a draft and it doesn’t have to be perfect. They will simply need to put their ideas together, use the structure and the generated language to create the first version of the text.

At this stage, you can monitor and help the students out with language, answer their questions, clarify some misunderstandings if any. It will help the students to feel more confident and feel support.

  1. Feedback

To encourage autonomous learning, it is critical to lead your students in acquiring the knowledge rather than handing it over. The best way to do it is to give your students an opportunity to learn from each other. To do this, you need to ask them to pass their writings around, read each other’s texts and give feedback to one another in what was GOOD in their writing and what COULD BE IMPROVED. This can be done both in the written form (if you set it as homework) and orally (if you want them to tone their speaking skills as well).

Make sure though you monitor and jump in when students need help or give irrelevant feedback to each other. Simply put them on the right track and let them continue. The more samples the students read from each other’s writing the better. This of course will depend on your class time and on the number of the students you have. Personally, I let them read at least two other pieces to have something to compare.

  1. Final Text

Now, having received all the support, students will need to polish their writing and finalize it for submitting. This can be set as homework for them to have more time to think over what they’ve learnt. While doing it, they will need to follow a rubric to keep everything under control. A sample rubric, very basic, can look like this;

Table Skyteach


You can come up with your own rubric of course, depending on the genre of writing you’re working with and the number of the checkpoints you want to include.

  1. Evaluation

Once the students are ready with their pieces, you can collect them for evaluation or again ask their peers to do it first. In both cases, you will need to follow the same rubric.

After grading the students’ writing, make sure you provide constructive feedback for them  later to build on that knowledge. You also want to ask them to get back to you with their corrections (the ones you’ve highlighted in their pieces), so that it serves its purpose.

I’ve been using the following structure to give constructive feedback;

  • What was good in the text? Examples.
  • What needs correction? Highlighted.
  • What can be improved in general? Suggestions.
  • Express support by encouraging the students to do better.

So, these were the stages of a writing lesson I’ve been using for quite some time.

Добавить в закладки
Поделиться

Добавить комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован.

×