draw up a questionnaire whose goal is to see what attitudes other ss have towards any controversial issue, ss interview their partners and collect responses to be presented in a statistical way or in a
These forms are a neglected part of writing in a second language.
As lists are the basis for conceptual activities, ss can be asked to alphabetize, group, and classify. It is important for ss studying a second language to be aware of the classification systems of that language since they may vary from culture to culture.
Daily notebooks or journals kept by many people can be used in the classroom. Ss can be asked to keep a special notebook and write in it in English for a few minutes every day, Ts can check if ss are doing it but not grading this task, Ts can occasionally ask Ss to select something and develop a composition or ask Ss to read for their partners to respond to it.
This is a very common activity when for instance, we write instructions to tell people how to find our house or write a recipe for a friend. For example, Ts ask ss to interview each other and find out what the other person knows how to do, then the interviewer takes notes on the steps and tries to write the instructions.
Controlled Writing is all the writing your Ss do for which a great deal of the content and/or form is supplied by Ts, for instance, an outline to complete, a paragraph to manipulate, a model to follow or a passage to continue.
This is a useful tool at all levels of composition teaching.
These tasks give Ss focused practice in getting words down on paper and in concentrating on one or two problems at a time. For Ts, this is easy to mark and less time-consuming, so more can be assigned.
This can be applied before or after free writing activities in the following way:
Before free writing when ss practice a grammatical point within a text and not just as a sentence exercise and use this text as a source of vocabulary, ideas, idioms to help them planning their own piece of writing.
After free writing when Ts see what problems our ss are having and assign a controlled task to give them practice about the problem areas.
Ss are given a passage to work with, Ss do not have to concern with content, organization, finding ideas, and forming sentences. Ss write the given passage down, making a few specified changes usually about grammar or structure i.e. changing from singular to plural, present tense to past, or direct to indirect speech .
It focuses the Ss’ attention on specific features of the written language, such as reinforcing grammar, vocabulary and syntax in context; while Ss do this, they as well use certain conventions of written English such as indentation, punctuation, connecting words, and spelling.
It is the combining of base sentences into a longer compound or complex sentence.
It improves ss’ sentence structure, length of sentence, and sentence variety.
It provides plenty of practice with the syntactic structures that are more common in writing than in speech and gives Ss the chance to use the grammatical knowledge they have to make choices about structure
The organization of written discourse depends upon the English culture. There are differences between British and American conventions. Ss need to be aware of the fact that in a piece of writing what works well for one language does not always work in another. Ss have to learn not just how sentences are formed but how paragraphs and longer pieces are constructed.
It’s a process of moving back and forth between reading and writing: writing something down, reading it over, searching for more material by discussion or reading, reading to discover how other writers organize their meaning, and then writing again. The aim of the process is going from general statements to specific details and arrange them in the most effective order.
There are two kinds: before writing the text and the one the writer makes of what he/she has already written.
The first should be brief and made only after extensive discussion, reading, list-making, brainstorming, and other pre-writing activities. It should be a device to guide the writer and not a cage that locks him/her into that couldn’t escape from it.
The outline that is made after (the first draft) a text has been produced helps the writer see clearly what he has done and what he needs to do to make his meaning clearer to the reader. It also points to new directions the piece of writing might take.
Analysis of pieces of writing by professional writers (or textbook writers) is helpful.
We can all learn a great deal about how writing works if we concentrate not only on what the writer has written but on how has written it. If we ask our ss to analyze a reading passage, we are asking them to ask questions about a piece of writing. This is an extremely valuable aid to critical reading of one’s own writing, to revising, and to editing.
Some textbooks present reading passages for ss to analyze and
imitate in their own writing. The ss might read a passage comparing two things and then they write their own composition comparing two other things, following the organization and structural patterns of the model as closely as possible. Or Ss can keep the first topic and write about but varying the audience, organization and purpose.
A problem of models is that they encourage ss to think that form comes first. But writing seldom works like that; we find the form to fit our meaning, not the other way around. The use of a model to imitate a piece of writing doesn’t allow the writer to discover that shape that best fits the ideas he wants to express for a particular purpose.
A model of structure can be presented in a diagram, too, either for a paragraph as in
Ts may work out their own strategy for handling errors and have to explain that to their ss. Decide if you will correct errors or just indicate where they occur, if you as a T will only deal with errors discussed in class or with any error.
Ts should help the writer see what to do next to improve the paper.
Ts need to comment on Ss’ papers that take the form of a paraphrase of the ideas expressed. Ss have to receive praising of the strengths and then the T has to give directions that Ss can follow step by step.
Ts can suggest what else to do by using questions without necessarily saying those options as Ts ourselves.
When Ts send a lot of material to write, they could use the aid of other ss in the class as readers. Ss need to be alerted to what to look for and how to look for it so that they can be helpful to each other.
With guidance, clear and specific instructions on what to look for and what to do, ss can be useful as readers of drafts.
Ss need to develop the ability to read their own writing and to examine it critically, to learn what to improve, how to express meaning fluently, logically and accurately.
Ss need to know when is the right time to edit their own ideas. Encourage Ss to proofread by covering all lines below the one they are reading and pointing at each word with a pencil. Teach Ss how to use a dictionary and a grammar reference book .
The modern language lab is equipped with a CD player, headphones, microphones and computers. Ss are organized in such a way that they can work on their own, can be paired or grouped, or can interact on a one-to-one basis with the teacher. Ts can broadcast the same material to each booth or can have different Ss or groups work with different material.
Repetition: Ss hear a word, phrase or sentence, a space is left for them to repeat what they heard and the word, phrase or sentence is said again, so that Ss get instant feedback on whether they have spoken correctly.
Drills: Ss have to work out what to say based on a cue before the tape voice gives the correct response.
Speaking: Ss can record their own talks and speeches and then listen back to them and make adjustments in the same way as they draft and redraft written text. As well ss can be asked a series of questions that are on a tape which encourages Ss practice language which they have been focusing on.
Listening: this can be practiced in many different ways such as: note taking, dictation, finding differences between a written text and taped account of the events, and answering comprehension questions can all be performed successfully in the lab setting.
Reading: Ss can read texts and then record their answers on tape. In computer-equipped labs both text and answers can be supplied on the computer itself. The T can also have all Ss reading material from the same Internet web site.
Writing and correcting writing: labs allow Ts to give individual, private spoken feedback on Ss’ written work. In computer-equipped labs Ss can write at their individual machines and the T can then correct their work either orally or in writing since the T can look at each other S’s work from the console.