Writing needs to be fun...
I have been teaching writing skills for many years. In my experience, writing proves to be the most difficult area for English language learners. It is not easy to write well and it requires a lot of practice and patience on behalf of the learner. In addition, many learners come from traditional educational systems that do not focus on the development of writing skills. As a result, they possess limited writing skills in their mother tongue and have not much to transfer into writing processes in second language.
In many cases, teachers are the ones who do not support students’ curiosity and their willingness to explore in writing tasks. Teachers restrict students by limiting the number of words, paragraphs or pages. They predetermine what they can write about and how they can write. This approach is very short sighted and produces demotivated writers with no confidence.
I truly believe that writing needs to be fun, creative and motivating. Students should have a choice in what they want to write about and how long.
My students love to explore and write in a variety of genres throughout the year. They write book reports and select from a number of genre choices. They enjoy sharing quick writes about random topics. These are some of the writing tasks in my class. In every case, I try to make sure that writing is contextualized and that it complements the topic or unit of inquiry that students are currently exploring.
As a teacher, I am always looking for new ideas for better writing instruction. Roselli Serra’s post “How to help children love writing” definitely caught my attention and I plan on using her tips in my classroom. Her activities definitely promote creative writing and encourage young English language learners to experiment with writing without any fear of making spelling or grammatical mistakes. I think that many of these principles can be applied in writing instruction for older learners including adult language learners.