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A Different Approach to
Teaching Writing
By Nick Michelioudakis
How do our students feel about writing?
Charlie Brown’s Summer Essay
• …they have no reason to write
• …they don’t know how to go about it!
Why do students feel
like that?
• 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
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
• How many ideas can you come up with in favour of a portfolio
career?
• What about arguments against it?
Step 1 - Brainstorming
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
• This is what a student wrote in response to this prompt.
Which of the points did he cover?
A Model Text
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]
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
• 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
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]
• 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
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]
• Four main ideas are expressed in this text, but are they
expressed well? Can we do better?
Step 4 – Topic Sentences
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]
• 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
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]
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
• You may not have noticed it, but the text does contain some
mistakes!  How can we correct them?
Step 6 - Editing
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]
• 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
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]
• Accuracy is one thing but range is another! How can we
improve this aspect of paragraph 3?
Step 8 – Language
Enrichment
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]
• 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
• Some sort of personal remark is needed here as the
introduction appears a bit too blunt.
Step 9 – The Beginning
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]
• This is hardly the best way to close an e-mail. What would be
more appropriate?
Step 10 – The Ending
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]
• If students work at improving all these aspects of the original
e-mail, the end result might look like this:
A much improved version…
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
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…
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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A Different Approach to Teaching Writing

  • 1. A Different Approach to Teaching Writing By Nick Michelioudakis
  • 2. How do our students feel about writing? Charlie Brown’s Summer Essay
  • 3. • …they have no reason to write • …they don’t know how to go about it! Why do students feel like that?
  • 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. 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. • How many ideas can you come up with in favour of a portfolio career? • What about arguments against it? Step 1 - Brainstorming
  • 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. • This is what a student wrote in response to this prompt. Which of the points did he cover? A Model Text
  • 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. 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. • 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. 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. • 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. 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. • Four main ideas are expressed in this text, but are they expressed well? Can we do better? Step 4 – Topic Sentences
  • 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. • 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. 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. 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. • You may not have noticed it, but the text does contain some mistakes!  How can we correct them? Step 6 - Editing
  • 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. • 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. 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. • Accuracy is one thing but range is another! How can we improve this aspect of paragraph 3? Step 8 – Language Enrichment
  • 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. • 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. • Some sort of personal remark is needed here as the introduction appears a bit too blunt. Step 9 – The Beginning
  • 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. • This is hardly the best way to close an e-mail. What would be more appropriate? Step 10 – The Ending
  • 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. • 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. 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. 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. Hope you found this session useful. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to contact me at nickmi@ath.forthnet.gr

Editor's Notes

  1. Screenshot from ‘Family and Friends 3’