Instant Writing

rebenok uchitsya pisatYesterday I attended a quite interesting and well-organized seminar English Learning in the Framework of Modern European Standards held by Pearson Tests of English in Odessa. I believe that  no matter how professional you are, you should never cease learning. I am always happy to have a chance to brush up my teaching knowledge and skills and seminars of this kind are usually a good solution.This time we spoke about Teaching and Evaluating ESL Writing. There were lots of things worth discussing but I would like to write today about
INSTANT WRITING.
Are our students always willing to do a piece of writing? Unfortunately no…What puts them off? I suppose the main reason is lack of confidence and lack of ideas, they believe they have nothing to say. How to deal with this problem?


One way of building the writing habit of reluctant writers is to use instant writing activities as often as possible.Instant writing activities are those where students are asked to write immediately in response to a teacher’s request.

Sentence completion
Dictate half sentences for the students to complete, for example:
One of the things I really can’t stand is....allow students a few seconds to complete the sentence. As soon as they have finished, give them another clue - because… and in some seconds unfortunately… You may give them different linkers to develop their piece of writing.
This activity helps students to generate ideas quickly and easily.My advanced students enjoyed it a lot.
Expanding sentences.
Write on the board a short sentence, for example:
The man walked along the road. Ask students take turns and add a word or a phrase to the sentence to make it longer.
The middle aged man walked along the road.
The middle aged man walked slowly along the road
Exhausted after a hard day’s work, the middle aged man walked along the road
Exhausted after a hard day’s work, the middle aged man, wearing a crumpled suit and carrying a briefcase, walked along the road
Exhausted after a hard day’s work, the middle aged man, wearing a crumpled suit and carrying a briefcase, walked along the road that led from the station to his home, pausing only to look at the night sky.
Using music and pictures.
Music and pictures are excellent stimuli for both writing and speaking. You can play a piece of music and the students have to imagine and write out the film scene they think it accompanies.
Pictures offer a wealth of possibilities. You can ask students to write descriptions of one of a group of pictures; their classmates then have to guess which one it is. They can write postcards based on pictures you give them. You can get them to look at the portraits and write the inner thoughts of the characters or their diaries, or an article about them.
Free writing.
Give your student just one word (day, light, TV etc) and ask them to write everything that comes to their mind as a flow of thoughts. If you students exclaim that they do not know what to write, offer them such a beginning: “I can’t think of anything to write about …”
All of these activities are designed to get students writing freely, in an engaging way. I wish you enjoyable writing!


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