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A Different Approach to Teaching Writing

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A DIFFERENT WAY TO TEACH WRITING (in 10 easy steps).
Asked whether they would rather have a tooth pulled out without anaesthetic or write an essay, I am sure most students would opt for the former. :-) This is partly because the writing we do in class is ‘display writing’, but partly also because writing feels such a big thing. So here is an alternative: instead of asking students to write the whole text from scratch, why not give them something another student has already written and simply ask them to improve it?
To read an article on this, just click on this link: http://wp.me/p3Y3b8-6R

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A Different Approach to Teaching Writing

  1. 1. A Different Approach to Teaching Writing By Nick Michelioudakis
  2. 2. How do our students feel about writing? Charlie Brown’s Summer Essay
  3. 3. • …they have no reason to write • …they don’t know how to go about it! Why do students feel like that?
  4. 4. • To look at a way of breaking up the teaching of Writing Skills into bite-sized ‘chunks’ so as to make it more palatable. • To demonstrate the framework of a WS lesson plan which can be adapted for the teaching of different genres. Session Aims
  5. 5. A friend of yours is considering changing to a portfolio career and he has asked you for advice. Write an e-mail in reply, giving your opinion. You should include the following information: • the advantages of a portfolio career • the disadvantages of a portfolio career and • how you think your friend could succeed A Sample Task
  6. 6. • How many ideas can you come up with in favour of a portfolio career? • What about arguments against it? Step 1 - Brainstorming
  7. 7. FOR AGAINST you cannot lose your job loneliness flexibility you cannot learn from others no boss there is not much work you learn more things there is no career structure Step 1 - Brainstorming
  8. 8. • This is what a student wrote in response to this prompt. Which of the points did he cover? A Model Text
  9. 9. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  10. 10. FOR AGAINST you cannot lose your job loneliness flexibility you cannot learn from others no boss there is not much work you learn more things there is no career structure Step 1 - Brainstorming
  11. 11. • Imagine this student wants to take a B2-level examination. How would you rate his level? • Now imagine you would like to give him/her feedback. What criteria would you focus on? What are the areas this student needs to improve in? Step 2 - Analysis
  12. 12. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  13. 13. • There is clearly a problem with cohesion here which in turn affects coherence. How can we add or change some connectors so that the text is easier to read? Step 3 - Coherence
  14. 14. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  15. 15. • Four main ideas are expressed in this text, but are they expressed well? Can we do better? Step 4 – Topic Sentences
  16. 16. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  17. 17. • Expressing an idea is not enough; you also have to flesh it out. Look at paragraph 6. How can we support this point? Step 5 - Development
  18. 18. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  19. 19. Here are a couple of ideas: Paragraph 6: Often – isolated/cut off + normal job: colleagues / feel: team + part-time jobs: work alone / from home Step 5 - Development
  20. 20. • You may not have noticed it, but the text does contain some mistakes!  How can we correct them? Step 6 - Editing
  21. 21. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  22. 22. • Sometimes sticking to the text is constraining. Instead it is better to rewrite a whole sentence/paragraph. How can we do this in paragraph 4? Step 7 - Rephrasing
  23. 23. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  24. 24. • Accuracy is one thing but range is another! How can we improve this aspect of paragraph 3? Step 8 – Language Enrichment
  25. 25. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  26. 26. • Here is the paragraph in question: Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. • And here are some words/expressions one could use: what you like best / discover your strengths / steady job / gain experience / develop skills / acquire knowledge / flexible / a changing world / in case you decide / alternative / routine / switch to another career Step 8 – Language Enrichment
  27. 27. • Some sort of personal remark is needed here as the introduction appears a bit too blunt. Step 9 – The Beginning
  28. 28. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  29. 29. • This is hardly the best way to close an e-mail. What would be more appropriate? Step 10 – The Ending
  30. 30. Dear John, Thanks for your e-mail. I just read your e-mail. So I am writing to tell about portfolio career. Firstly I would like to tell you about advantages of portfolio career. Portfolio career is good because with it you have very options, skills and interests. You can with portfolio career have experience from many job. Also you haven’t full time job. So you are more convenient and freedom. You can plan your time more. But, the portfolio career has some disadvantages. The people are temporary workers and they haven’t work. A bad thing about portfolio careers is also that you may feel alone at home. I suggest you to bring a full-time work and forget portfolio career. If you work with full-time work, you work more. Bye. Peter[129]
  31. 31. • If students work at improving all these aspects of the original e-mail, the end result might look like this: A much improved version…
  32. 32. Dear John, Thank you for your e-mail. It was nice to hear from you. As for the portfolio career, I believe you should think twice about it. It is true that it has some advantages, like the fact that you learn many things. You do not have to follow the same routine every day and you can develop different skills and gain useful experience. In addition you can plan your time better. Very often you work from home so you can choose when to do things. If some work is inconvenient you may even choose not to take it. On the other hand, a portfolio career is unpredictable. Sometimes you may have too much work and at other times you may have nothing. So it is difficult to make plans. Another problem is that you may sometimes feel lonely. In a full-time job you have colleagues who can become your friends, while in a portfolio career you may work from home and meet very few people. On the whole, I would advise you to look for a proper job - I think it would be better for someone like you. I hope I have helped you. Let me know what you decide to do. Love, P
  33. 33. How can we make Writing easier for our students? •Give them a text to work with so they do not start from scratch •Get them to improve the text bit-by-bit To sum up…
  34. 34. Hope you found this session useful. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me at nickmi@ath.forthnet.gr

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