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TEFL Program - Writing English down

Page history last edited by Martin Warters 9 years, 8 months ago



Reflection on current practice


Before you start this task, take a moment to reflect on your own current practice and approach to teaching writing.


More information on these ideas can be found in the writing extra section. 





Writing activities are extremely valuable as they give you an opportunity to to pay individual attention to each of your students. In addition to this, writing comments on your students' work allows you to give really meaningful personalised feedback. The act of writing can be a great way of consolidating new language, and gives you the chance to see what problems your students might be having on a syntactical level. Producing a well-written piece of work can be exceptionally rewarding for your students, and receiving positive feedback from you can be exceptionally motivating. 


You may find that your students want to have all their mistakes corrected, but this can be time consuming for you, often gives your students too much feedback that is not presented in the best way, and can be extremely demotivating!


The following idea for a lesson can be used to train your students to write in a more effective way and also to assess their own work. For this lesson, your students need to have completed a piece of writing. This could be a piece of homework or something that you complete in class. Any of the other skills lessons that we have looked at so far can provide a writing consolidation activity that can be used as the materials for this session. 


For the purposes of this demonstration lesson, we will imagine that your students have written a story. 


After your students have completed their stories, elicit what makes a piece of writing good. You may find that your students say that excellent grammar is the only important thing, but try to get other ideas as well. 



On the board write:








Ask your students what they think each of the letters stands for. Explain that they are all related to writing. Give them a few minutes to speculate and then write;


C= Content 

O= Organisation 

A= Accuracy

S= Style 

T= Target Reader 


Explain further that 


Content relates to the topic. E.g. If you were asked to write a story about your family, did you do this? 

O relates to the organisation of the piece of writing. Do you use paragraphs? Do you use suitable connectors? 

A is accuracy for both grammar and vocabulary and punctuation.  

S represents style. This means does the piece of writing have a suitable register? Is it formal, informal neutral, and is this suitable for the task? 

T is for the target reader. What effect will your writing have on the reader? Will they understand your ideas? 


Now tell your students that they are going to read each other's writings and give feedback on each of the categories. You may find that they may not want to correct any of the grammar or vocabulary, but encourage them to do so: it is all part of the learning process! This works really well if you ask your students to write on the back of the piece of paper with the writing on, or alternatively, you can put the pieces of writing around the walls of the classroom and ask all the students to walk around like they are in an art gallery and ask them to make comments. Ask your students to end their marking with a positive, supportive comment, such as:

Excellent spelling, interesting story, good vocabulary. 


This exercise can take a long time; especially if you have a big class! After your students have had a chance to look at their classmates' work, let them read the comments they have received. You can use this as an informal way to check any problems if your students are unsure as to why somebody has written a certain comment. 


Now collect all the written work and feedback. Tell the students that you will read all the writing, check the feedback, and add your own comments. 

It is a good idea to only correct the really serious errors that impede communication. Highlight the errors on the text and write some general comments about the error. e.g. Remember all the irregular tenses that are commonly used; be careful when you use -ed & -ing adjectives. 


The next time that the class meets, you return the corrected work and feedback to the students. Give them a few minutes to see what you have written and let them ask you any questions that you may have. At this stage you can ask your students to rewrite their story including any changes or suggestions that you and the other students have made. 


Additional Information


If you want your students to focus on grammar and vocabulary a good way is to ask them to self-correct their errors. A good way to do this is to have an error code that you can use. Here is an example, but you may find that you develop your own coding system with your class. 







Alternative activity 



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