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Teaching writing. When is your birthday? How do you usually celebrate it?

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Presentation on theme: "Teaching writing. When is your birthday? How do you usually celebrate it?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Teaching writing

2 When is your birthday? How do you usually celebrate it?

3 Why is Laurence writing to you? What does she want you to bring to her dinner?

4 Teaching writing: objectives By the end of the session you will have: Experienced writing in a foreign language Identified and discussed two approaches to teaching writing Identified some of the skills good writers use at text, sentence and word level Examined and shared ideas about how to help learners develop these skills

5 A process approach to teaching writing Writing is ‘ a complex, cognitive process that requires sustained intellectual effort over a considerable period of time’. ( Arndt and White 1991) ‘One of the most important facts about the composing process that seems to get hidden from students is that the process that creates precision is itself messy’. (Shaughnessy 1977, quoted in Hedge) What are the key features of a process approach to writing?

6 A process approach to writing Learning to write through writing. Focus on contextualised communication: on the message more than the details o Higher order choices determine lower order ones o Research shows that successful writers focus on organising ideas before paying attention to spelling, punctuation and grammar’ o Importance of awareness of the audience The focus is on the steps involved in drafting and redrafting a piece of work o Research shows feedback between drafts is more useful than corrections written on work returned to the students after the process has finished Writing can be done collaboratively as well as individually The readers can be other students as well as the teacher: o Students become more aware of audience if they know they are writing for each other o Students develop the ability to evaluate their own and others’ writing.

7 How do good writers plan? I don’t know what I think until I see what I’ve said. E.M. Forster I write to find out what I’m talking about. Edward Albee

8 What does research tell us about the planning process? Planning is not a single phase but a thinking activity different writers plan in different ways writing process is recursive and generative Revising takes place through the whole process All writers pay attention to surface level features, but better writers deal with these at the end of the process. Good writers focus on purpose and audience

9 How can I use elements of a process approach in the classroom? How do you motivate students to write? Do you give students time to generate ideas for writing? Do you let students spend time writing in class? Do you give students opportunities to draft and redraft work? Do you get students writing in pairs or groups? Do you get students to look at and evaluate each other’s work? How do you get students to focus on the message as well as the language? How do you help students to be aware of the audience for their writing?

10 To summarise…. focus on meaning rather than form (grammatical correctness )encourages writing development; writing should be contextualised and content should be meaningful and relevant to learners; learners need some degree of overt instruction which includes talk about writing, substantive, specific feedback, and multiple opportunities for revision; socio-cultural variation in writing practices and genres need to be taken into account; all writing pedagogy reflects a stance about the learner in relation to the social order. Elsa Auerbach 'Making meaning making change; Participatory Curriculum Development for Adult ESL Literacy' (1992?)

11 Process approach- evauluation What were the weaknesses of this approach? How could I have done it differently? What’s the other approach called?

12 Process and product compared Process learning to write through writing Focus on contextualised communication Focus on the steps involved in drafting and redrafting Writing can be done collaboratively as well as individually The readers can be other students as well as the teacher Product Learning to write through imitating models Focus on features of texts and getting Ss to use these accurately Focus is on the finished product: ‘the coherent, error free text’. (Nunan 272) Traditionally writing is done by the individual and often for homework Traditionally the work is marked by the teacher

13 A product approach What do good writers do? What do we need to teach our learners to do? What skills do learners need to develop at Entry 3? Text Sentence Word

14 Entry 3 writing criteria Text – Plan and draft writing – including awareness of audience and genre – Organise writing in short paragraphs – Sequence chronological writing – Proof-read and correct writing for grammar and spelling Sentence – Write in complete sentences – Use correct basic grammar – Use punctuation correctly Word – Correctly spell common words and relevant key words for work and special interest – Produce legible text

15 Match activities and curriculum descriptors – Have you tried any of these ideas? – Could you try them? – Any other ideas for developing the same skills?

16 Choose one idea you’d like to try out. Tell your group about it.

17 Responding to students’ writing 5 tips

18 Responding to students’ writing Use a correction code and train students in how to use it Respond to content as well as language Mark positively as well as negatively (Petty: medals and missions): – Tell them what they’ve done right – Give clear goals for improvement Assess at all three levels: text, sentence and word Let students know what they are being assessed on and involve them in the assessment process. Give them a simplified version of the criteria example of marksheet: Tick if you/your partner met the criteriaexample of marksheet – Get them assessing each others’ work – Get them assessing their own work Find ways of making them aware of an audience (ie not only the teacher is responding): – Display their work on the wall – Make little booklets of their writing and display them on the wall – Get them writing to each other – If possible get them writing to real audiences (the council, the local paper, etc) Pick out common errors and put on handout/IWB. Students in pairs correct the errors Reformulation: take one student’s work. Keep the same basic ideas but improve it in terms of accuracy, organisation, appropriacy, etc. Students in groups compare the original and reformulated work and discuss reasons for reformulation. This is best done between first and final draft, so the students can apply to their own final draft.


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