Building Writing Skills

 

 

Writing is often overlooked in EFL teaching and learning. At a beginning level, it may be seen as a task for the intermediate and advanced stages. Students will also shy away from writing due to its many complicated rules, structures and idiosyncrasies.

 

However, placing importance on English writing skills is essential and has long-term benefits.

 

Writing skills will be useful to your students in a variety of situations and can help them develop a more well-rounded English skill set. Writing is even something they can fall back on in the event of a communication breakdown in an English-speaking country.

 

It’s important for you to encourage your students to think about writing through well-developed writing lesson plans. With a slight nudge and some guidance, they can take newly discovered vocabulary and grammar and use it to craft structured paragraphs in many different writing styles.

 

 

Build an EFL Lesson Plan Around Writing Skills

When it’s time for writing lessons, your students should have already read and discussed topics in class. Make sure they have a good grasp on the spelling and vocabulary surrounding the writing topic, with a little grammar thrown into the mix for added confidence. You may be surprised how the ABCs slip away from even the most advanced English student.

 

For optimal results in your EFL writing lessons, think about the structure you plan to use when presenting the material. Structure is one of the essential parts of your success as an ESL teacher. Leave nothing to interpretation when presenting your writing material and tasks.

 

Make sure that your students are 100% clear on what they need to write about, as well as in what format and for how long. Ask yourself if the material is sufficient to complete the task, if your students are clear on the intended audience and if the material is relevant to them. No one wants to write about something they have no interest in, and that’s a fact.

 

  1. Building on What They Already Know

Instead of having your students jump into the vast seas of writing all at once, teach them to strengthen their writing bit by bit. Teach them the skill of building their writing around what they already know.

 

Their vocabulary doesn’t need to be anything special. You can start them off small and teach them how to build as they go. Encourage a little writing in every class, whether it be note taking, dictation of a few sentences or a short paragraph about their weekend. Let them try it out. You may be surprised at what they create.

 

Building confidence in note taking will create ample opportunities for your students to practice writing. They can copy what you’ve written on the board or any important information you’ve presented. Clue your students in to the importance of using writing as a tool and explain how much easier it will be for them later on if they take a few notes from time to time.

 

  1. Forming Sentences

Forming sentences is quite possibly the most important writing skill. It’s the foundation to all that is writing. Without properly formed sentences, there are no topic sentences, no supporting sentences and no paragraphs. Structure isn’t even approachable. The sentence is the glue that keeps all other aspects of writing together.

 

So what is a sentence? Essentially, it’s a noun and verb with a bunch of other additives. Think of a sentence like an entrée on a menu. The main ingredients are listed, but the rest are in the background, unseen.

 

These unseen details are important, but showing your students the meat and potatoes first will help them look at sentences with a better trained eye.

 

With the verb and noun in plain view, you can gradually introduce those unseen, often overlooked spices and herbs that make the sentence a real sentence, the final product. Eventually introducing the importance and usage of capital letters, punctuation, periods, question marks, quotations and other sentence spices will allow them to see how it all works.

 

Presenting all this new sentence structure information to your students can be a simple and fun process. Using examples in your presentation, along with practice, will allow your students to start seeing and developing sentences.

 

Here’s one exercise you can do: Start writing a sentence on the board. Let them yell out a verb and noun to help construct the sentence as you’re going. Once constructed and in view, deconstruct it, together. Analyze the reasons behind, for example, the adjective being placed in front of the noun or the verb behind.

 

Dive deep into the punctuation and let them see the ins and outs before having them practice forming sentences on their own.

 

Implement communication within sentence lessons so they can get some speaking practice while learning to write. No student, young or old, wants to hear the material and then sit in silence writing. They want to communicate about the new material they’re learning.

 

After they get the hang of creating sentences, you can mix things up by presenting them with challenging questions or asking for longer sentences with more detail and depth. Keep them enthused about forming sentences and they’ll continue to build confidence and comprehension in this skill area. •

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