Monday, January 12, 2009

Frustrations in Writing

Thanks to the Korea Beat for finding this blog entry from a Korean about his frustrations in improving his English writing ability. As a teacher, I generally feel the same frustration. At my winter camp, I'm teaching "reading and writing" and while I feel comfident in teaching reading, I feel less than competent in the whole writing area. With the lower level students, I kind of feel like it's a waste of time to do writing when there are so many other, more pressing things for them to learn first. Grammar, vocabulary, and basic conversation come to mind.

With the upper level students, their strengths and weaknesses are vastly different so some sort of one size fits all lesson plan in writing doesn't seem like it would work that well. I give them individual feedback every day on their writing sample they do for homework, which seems helpful but I wonder if there is some better way. Peer editing...but is this just a pool of misinformation? A writing textbook...but does it have enough actual practice or does it just talk about writing? A review of basic grammar such as subject/verb agreement and how to use a noun/adjective/verb/adverb in a sentence...but this would be a lesson in tedium for the better students who'v mastered this already. An essay riddled in common errors so they can get some practice in editing...maybe???

What do you think? How to teach writing to upper level students?

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