WebQuest

Developing writing skills

Teacher Page

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There are lots of reasons, as there are lots of ways to make the writing we do with learners more communicative.

  • Why writing is difficult to teach
  • Some solutions
  • Ideas for communicative writing tasks
  • Conclusion

Why writing is difficult to teach 
By its nature, writing is often a solo activity, done silently, involving physical effort and taking a lot of time. This may not make it attractive to learners or teachers as a classroom activity. In addition to this, writing is difficult, even in L1. There are linguistic, psychological and cognitive problems involved, making teaching it and learning it a considerable challenge. It is also important to remember that many people never write anything of any length in their daily lives, or anything using paper and a pen, or without using a spellchecker. But this is often what we ask them to do in English.

Responding appropriately to writing that learners give us is time-consuming and taxing, whether we are addressing errors or the content. We often have to work as hard as our learners have done. Our response is also often dictated by our concern with sub-skills and so correction is often at this level rather than at that of communicative competence. This is aggravated by the fact that it is not easy to evaluate this competence, especially formally - as can be seen in the complexity of the speaking criteria for exams such as IELTS and Cambridge Main Suite. In addition, it is important to recognize that learners are equally concerned about correctness in writing at a sub-level, in areas such as spelling and punctuation. This is especially true when compared to speaking. This inhibits communication.

The kinds of tasks we set learners may not be motivating, relevant or indeed very communicative. Writing is rarely incorporated into a lesson, ending up relegated to homework - which reduces the possibilities to be communicative. We need to give learners tasks that are intellectually satisfying, especially when writing. Adult learners become aware of their limitations very quickly when they try to express complex ideas on paper. As a final note coursebooks don't necessarily always help us develop writing. We need materials that provide relevant, real and communicative practice. This is rare.

Standards

12 th grade

2.2 Presentation, oral/written, of movies, books, events, experiences, expressing feelings/personal reactions related to these
2.3 Presentation, oral/written, of clear and detailed descriptions on subjects related to fields of their own interest and specialization
2.4 Fill-in application forms and writing functional texts, respecting the specific rules.

Credits

First of all I would like to thank to our trainers in London for helping us to get the basic information about creating a webquest.The course I attented in London, between 27th October-3rd November 2013 was Integrating technology in English language instruction. I would also like to thank the person who posted a lesson plan on the following website: http://www.iptv.org/exploremore/Resources/news_webquest_short.cfm#intro. I used most of that information to create my webquest.

Other

Be bold! Be ingenious! Be curious! Give it a try!

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