I always believe that nothing can crystallize one’s thoughts the way writing can which makes it very rewarding. Since writing is really enjoyable for me, I also want my students to feel its splendour.
For my new readers, I am a teacher. I’ve been teaching in as international school for six years now. Let me share my humble experience on how I’ve unleashed writers in my ESL (English as a Second Language) class last school year.
Before the classes started, I had a clear vision in mind: I wanted to develop writers. But when I told some friends about my plan, they said that no new second language learner will ever enjoy writing. They said I could never let my ESL students love writing because writing is a big struggle for them. I wasn’t discouraged, I was challenged.
I have recalled from my TESOL training that the most important thing to note when teaching writing to ESL learners is to give students a wonderful writing experience– that I should give them interesting writing activities where they could be “personally involved” to make their learning of lasting value. That moment, I knew I was ready to face the battle of winning great writers in class.
On our first few weeks in school, we had a writing party. I remember giving my students activities like the “Backstabbing” wherein they had to write descriptions of their classmates on the paper posted at their backs while the music was played. That was fun and they all enjoyed it. I knew that that activity somehow removed anxieties they had in writing.
As days passed, I made sure that my students had active participation in class while developing and refining their writing skills. I armored myself with several teaching strategies and techniques which I believed to have hooked their interests. Little by little, I have seen emerging writers in my class. The kind of students who have secretly and quietly found joy in weaving words together.
In teaching ESL writing, the teacher must be clear on what skill she wants her students to develop and that she must know the focus of the writing exercise (structure, content, tense usage etc.). So I have set goals on what I wanted my students to achieve each day. My goal was to develop students who can really express their ideas. I am glad most of them had the same goal too. We worked together on several drills and worksheets to meet the objectives set each day.
Creating exciting writing activity every day was a big challenge on my part. It was hard work. But I knew my students worked harder.
As months passed, I have seen great improvements in their writing skills. From writing simple sentences, they were able to write paragraphs and then short poems and narratives. At that moment, I knew we were already having a beautiful start, just like any good writing should be.
|The article posted above was first published in 2009. Here is its Korean version. 🙂|
Hi, Khaye! Thank you for the visit. If you’ve read some of my posts I’m sure you’d notice I’m one of those whose writing skills need much improvement. We could really use some pointers from an ESL teacher like you. 😀