Writing in the classroom
By the end of the session the trainees will have discussed formal and informal email writing, they will have clarified the stages of a writing skills lesson. They will have discussed the importance of sample texts and variations on traditional teacher marking. Finally using correction codes they will have corrected a piece of writing.
Perhaps the most important element of any plan is the part where we say what our aims are.Jeremy Harmer in The Practice of English Language Teaching
Procedure (44-55 minutes)
I will give them comments which were made by practising teachers. Discuss in groups which ones do you agree? 3 groups
Ask the trainees why it is good to do writing in the classroom. Possible answers: Writing involves a different kind of mental process. There is more time to think, to reflect, to prepare, to rehearse, to make mistakes and to find alternative and better solutions. Besides this, it can give you a break, quieten down a noisy class, change the mood and pace of a lesson. After getting feedback, the answers will be on the screen
What writing tasks have you done in the classroom? (open class feedback) What is the difference between formal and informal email writing? Discuss in pairs. Then get feedback. Now look at the screen and see if you have the same answers. We need to use different kind of language in formal and informal emails. What do we call that language? Register- the type of language that you use in a particular situation or when communicating with a particular group. Note: with business emails you can mix styles to some extent, but don't mix styles at the two extremes. If in doubt, follow the style of the other person.
I will ask them to discuss the kinds of writing, then I will ask them to have a look at the screen, then I will ask them to match the kinds of writing to their descriptions.
Now let's speak about classroom writing work. Is it a good idea to set a writing task, ask students to write, then collect writing papers and mark them? Open class feedback The teacher has already selected the topic of the writing task. A typical route for classroom work or helping students to write involves several steps. Have a look at the screen, you can see the first step and the last one. Work in pairs, discuss and write the missing steps. Show them a diagram on the screen Check with your group mates.
I will give the trainees handouts with descriptions of the steps and the steps themselves on separate papers. First they should match the steps to their descriptions. Then they will compare their answers. Then the correct answers will be shown on the screen.
I will ask the trainees to discuss why looking at sample text is useful and ask them to write their suggestions, then compare the answers. After it I will show them the possible answers on the screen. What can you study in a sample text? • The layout • The overall message • How the items are organized • Specific phrases and sentences used • Distinctive grammatical features • The style and tone • The effect on the reader
1. The trainees will read the model and give each section a heading. The headings will be on the screen. They will do it individually, then compare with another trainee. Feedback: on the screen . Handouts 2. Then I will ask them :" Who is the target reader and what style has the writer used?" The answer: a representative of the local council is the target reader. The style is semi-formal/formal What other language items will they need to focus learners' attention in this sample writing? Whole class feedback 3. Then handouts with useful language for a report
I will show the trainees a writing, which is corrected in an old traditional way and ask them: "How would you feel if you saw so much red colour on your paper? Instruction:Discuss modern techniques of teacher marking For example, write nothing. Discuss the work with the individual student Then I will show them modern techniques of teacher marking on the screen Variations on traditional teacher marking Teachers should : • Use a green or a blue pen. • Discuss the marking criteria with students. Agree a mark or grade. • Write the correct answers in the margin. • Use correction codes in the margin. • Underline all errors of one type (e.g. all verb-tense mistakes, all spelling mistakes. • Write nothing. Discuss the work with individual students. • Only write comment about the meaning and message of the piece. • Create a composite essay using good bits and problematic bits from a number of students’ work Photocopy it and hand it out for students to discuss and correct, together or in groups or individually, perhaps for homework. • Use errors from a number of different students’ writing to devise an exercise themselves based on their own mistakes (more challenging than simply copying out correct answers.) • Give a dictation based on the sentences from their work. In all of these options, there is one important guideline to bear in mind: tell students (or agree) before the writing what will happen afterwards. correction code on the screen.
I will put correction codes on the board. V= verb problem (possibly incorrect tense) ww=wrong word sp=spelling wo=word order G=grammar T=tense p=punctuation un=unnecessary word += add a word or part of a word Then I will ask the trainees to correct the writing using the correction code. Then they compare their answers.
What are the main we have discussed today? Writing in the classroom Different kinds of writing Register: formal/informal 13 steps for writing in the classroom Sample texts Error correction