APPROACHES TO STUDENT WRITINGProcess writing: Involves generating ideas, structuring or organizing thoseideas, drafting, reviewing (checking context and content, focusing,connections, assessing impact, etc.), evaluating. It is a cycle that helps studentswrite and improve their written production. While many teachers focus onlyon the product of a writing assignment, within the process approach, there isa focus on the process of writing. This means that the teacher discussespurpose and audience with the students as well as the processes of writing.The teacher helps students get started, using brainstorming or clustering, andthe students write various drafts. After each draft, the teacher and/or otherstudents give feedback about the content of the writing so that the studentscan write again to improve the clarity of his or her message. In early drafts,teachers do not make comments about grammatical correctness. Only in thefinal drafts does this become an issue. • Step one: Generating ideas o Brainstorming o Clustering o Freewriting • Step two: Organizing ideas. o Outlining o Clustering • Step three: Drafting o Putting ideas into sentences • Step four: Reviewing o Checking context and content, focusing, connections, assessing impact, etc. • Step five: Rewriting • Step six: EditingTeaching writing – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
o Checking minor details like spelling, punctuation and grammatical correctness.The major disadvantage to process writing is the time needed. There are manybenefits, such as integrating writing with other skills/activities, more writingpractice, better final product, etc.Controlled-to-free approach: This is based on the audio-lingual approach,where writing was to speaking. Writing practice was used to perfectgrammatical control. This approach is appropriate for high beginner to lowintermediate students who need to develop confidence in their writing skills.In this approach, the teacher gives the students the parts of sentences and hasthem write complete sentences using the parts. They may also have studentscopy sentences or short paragraphs or even manipulate sentencesgrammatically. This controlled writing gives students writing practice withoutmaking errors, so they develop confidence in themselves. Later, the teacherhas students write their own sentences based on the models already given inthe controlled phase. The first phase of controlled writing should definitelynot be used as the exclusive method for practicing writing and should belimited in its use. Students should be encouraged to move on to creative freewriting in order to get more enjoyment out of their writing activities.Free writing approach: this approach focuses on quantity rather thanquality. There are a lot of assignments (for example in a journal), and there isminimal correction. The teacher emphasizes content and fluency more thanform and grammar. This approach is very affective for intermediate toadvanced students to help them overcome fears of making mistakes. Theemphasis on content and the freedom to make mistakes helps them learn toexpress themselves fluently. One additional benefit is that through theextensive practice, the students make a great deal of progress in theirgrammatical control, even without the teacher’s constant feedback.Paragraph pattern approach: in this approach, the teacher stressesorganization of paragraphs and essays rather than grammar or fluency.Paragraphs are copied and analyzed and later imitated. For example, teacherTeaching writing – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
give students the sentences of a paragraph in random order, and they have toorganize them. There is work on topic sentences and the organization of thebody of a paragraph. The study of essays works similarly: teachers givestudents essays to analyze and to imitate. The paragraphs of an essay are givenrandomly to students, and they have to reconstruct the original essay,analyzing and explaining the organization of the paragraphs.Communicative approach: This approach stresses the purpose of a piece ofwriting and its audience. Students think of why they are writing and who willread it. Writing is considered to be communication, so expanding the audienceis an important factor (the audience should include more people than just theteacher). There is also a focus on responding to other people’s writing andmaking comments about content without focusing heavily on correctingerrors. • Writing and genre. Study samples of different genres before producing them. Students need to have knowledge of the topic, conversations and styles of the genre, as well as the context in which it will be read and who the reader will be. This type of “imitation” is good to get to know how to manage a genre, and more creative writing can come later.Creative writing: This is usually imaginative, for example, poetry, stories,plays. Creative writing is more engaging for most students and they tent towork harder. It tends to be based on personal experiences. We can find waysto publish students’ creative writing, on bulletin boards, in a class newspaper,on the internet, etc. • Journal writing. • Writing as a cooperative activity. Group writing activities are good once in a while to stimulate creative and even research. Some can be games- like activities and others can be more serious, in-depth genre studies, for example. • Using the computer. There are many benefits of using a computer in writing class. Unfortunately, many teachers don’t know how to use this resource well. It is possible to have key pals, to have chat sessions, as well as other internet-based activities, but it is also good for doingTeaching writing – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.
communicative activities with the word processing program. Blogs play an important role here too.Teaching writing – San Juan de Pasto Dec 2010 William Sastoque V.