Tag Archives: handouts

• LINCS Topic 4: What are some ways that we can include interactive activities in ESOL Writing class?  

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 (This posting includes a links handouts which you are welcome to use with your students.) 

This posting is a more detailed response to my interview question on Day 4 LINCS Discussion: Student-Centered Approach to Teaching Writing Skills. .

Below in blue, you’ll find the details that I’ve added to the Day 4 LINCS’ posting.

I have some interactive activities that I include during each writing unit.

They do give variety to a writing class, but more importantly, they are effective in helping students develop their writing and editing skills.

1) Writer-in-control peer editing. Type 1: Writers prepare questions.

In traditional peer-editing activities, the students read a classmate’s essay and give feedback by filling out a teacher-provided questionnaire, rubric or checklist. (For example, “Is the topic sentence clear?” “Are the verb tenses correct?”)

For this non-traditional approach below, the writers have control over the type of feedback they want. Here are the steps:

Step 1: (A model) Sample essay and peer editing questions. In order to demonstrate to students how they will peer-edit with a classmate and the type of questions that they can ask, they work with a model essay with peer editing questions that the “writer” has asked.
(See link to a model exercise below.) After working with a sample, they then apply this technique to their own essays, starting with the Preparation Step.

Step 2: Preparing for Peer Editor. After students have written their essays, they identify specific parts of it in which they’d like a peer’s advice.  These could be about the grammar in some sentences, clarification of an example, a need to add details etc. On a separate piece of paper, they write questions about these parts that they will ask a peer-editor. For example, “Look where I wrote #1. Is my example clear?” “Look where I have #4. Is there a problem with this sentence?” “Look at #8. How can I improve my conclusion?”

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• LINCS Topic 1: What are your thoughts about implementing a process approach to teaching writing? 

Cover Day 1 REV Process

(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

This posting is a more detailed response to my interview question on Day 1.LINCS Discussion: Student-Centered Approach to Teaching Writing Skills. .

Below in blue, you’ll find the details that I’ve added to the Day 1 LINCS’ posting.

The key to a productive process approach is to have a clear purpose for each of the drafts. Here is the process that I’ve found to be the most effective, time-efficient, and user-friendly for the students and teacher. And it involves only three drafts.

Before starting the writing process, the teacher briefly introduces the type of writing that the students will be working on, for example a mode like Narration or Exposition.

Step 1. Preparation for 1st draft. The teacher gives students a list of 5-15 topics to choose from. It works well to include topics that they’ll be able to think of details to write about and also ones that would be enjoyable for others to read. If a student has a topic not on the list that they’d like to write about, they first have to have it approved by the teacher. Each student chooses one of the topics.

I knew a teacher who was under the assumption that process approach meant students needed to find their own topics. I found out that many of those students spent a lot of time trying to come up with a topic or would write about topics that they had written about in the past. Also, some would decide on a topic only to discover that it wasn’t appropriate for that assignment.

After they have chosen a topic, they write a list of ideas. It’s important to be flexible about how many details to expect in this step. I know some native-speakers who are great writers but actually hate to write an outline in advance. They discover what they want to write as they are writing. However, I think that without us requiring a list, student will just start writing and miss the opportunity to see how helpful a list can be, especially considering that they may be working with a pattern of organization that is different from the ones in their own culture.

After they write their lists, the teacher briefly looks them over and, if necessary, makes some suggestions. This usually takes less than two minutes per student.

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• Why We Teach the Modes in ESL Writing Courses and a Mix-Mode Essay

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(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)

I was left speechless after reading Sayo’s essay. I didn’t know where to start because I couldn’t figure out exactly what she was trying to say.

When I asked her how a specific detail was connected to her topic, she said that she purposely didn’t explain that because she was showing respect to the readers who would figure it out without her explicitly saying it.

I also asked her about why she included an unrelated personal experience. She responded that she thought it would make her paper more interesting to read.

She concluded with a vague question that she hoped would give the reader something to ponder. It only left me pondering how the question was related to her essay.

I realized that Sayo’s essay demonstrated a cultural difference with regard to reader- versus writer-responsibility.  Apparently, English is a “writer-responsible” language; as such, it is the writer’s job to communicate ideas clearly to the reader.  On the other hand, in “reader-responsible” languages, (like Sayo’s) the burden is on the reader to understand what the writer is trying to say.  In reader-responsible cultures, it is presumed that the writer already shares with the reader certain knowledge that can, thus, be left unsaid. However, since readers in English are not accustomed to that role, frustration and communication breakdown can result.

What researchers have found about other cultural differences in writing papers.

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• The Writing Workshop: Countless Benefits for ESL Students and Teachers

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This posting includes sample lessons of a Writing Workshop that give students a lot of autonomy.*

This posting is an update of my February 1, 2019 post:  Most Important Motivator of Students: How You Can Do It

Since posting this back in 2019, I’ve heard from teachers who decided to try out a Writing Workshop with their ESL Writing classes even though they were skeptical at first. Their hesitation seemed to be doubtful that their students would actually be productive without more direct teacher control. However, they reported that their initial skepticism was quickly dispelled after seeing the same great benefits that I had described in the post below. Almost all of them stated that they couldn’t imagine teaching a Writing class in any other way in the future.

Here is that posting.

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