martes, 18 de noviembre de 2008

Correcting written work

Errors as mistakes on written texts must be seen by the teachers as an opoprtunity to help students. In other words, this should be a tool not a measurement. Since effectiveness is more important then accuracy in language learning, errors should not something essential. Nevertheless, is important to give student's feedback, but not only error feedback but also positive feedback. Teachers can correct by correcting only certain errors, or they can let students identify and correct their own errors. When talking about mistakes, teachers should make student's aware of mistakes and clear out any doubts on the matter.


I have always thought that correction and feedback go together, since a teacher can correct a text, but if the learner does not receive feedback, learning will not happen. But knowing what and how are we going to correct is essential. It's essential because our puporse is encourage student's to improve not to discourage them. For marking every single mistake, every single error, will defenetely discourage student's we must be correct only what makes difficult to communicate the idea, the essential, not word by word.

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2008

Context for writing: the use of visual materials

There are several writing activities that are picture or visual based, therefore is important to take them into consideration. Narration, dialogues, descriptions, directions, are example of written work that students may develop from a visual add. Teachers, therefore, ought to search for suitable pictures for the language proficiency that they are currently teaching. On the other hand, is very important to know the language needed to carry out the activity, for this teachers can use previous knowledge or give a whole new lecture about the topic, in both cases, learners should feel prepared for the task to come in order to be able to make it succesful. Of course there is also writing for fun involving pictures, just like picture linking, lost and found, desert island messages, cartoons, post cards, and many more.


Since everyone likes pictures, is important to consider these visual aids as a powerful tool, to creat writing tasks, it makes it more communicative, more realistic, and fun. The good thing about this is that we can use just one picture for multiple tasks, in different levels, and ages. I liked reading this since I had no idea, in what ways we could use picture sequences, picture descriptions, and all that. Please teachers use visual materials.

Developing skills

At intermediate level is important that students acknowledge their progress, for this teachers should adequate the writing program to their level, this means, not too easy and not way too difficult, but just about in somewhere in the middle. While choosing the activities that will be used int the writing program it should be taken in to account the variation, since is important to avoid boredom among students, give more importance to free expression activities with guidance, instead of the controling ones used with beginners. The activities that can be used with advanced levels can be the same that we use with begginers, but with a little twist, we will teach more advanced parts of the activity, such as, writing business letters, apologies, formal complaints, and within every writing we might teach something more and more difficult, such as, linking words, paragraph and sentence's structure. We must not forget, nonetheless, about the communicative activities which are, roleplaying and report writing, as well as the extensive writing, in other words enjoyable writing or 'writing just for fun' activities, such as graffiti, games, crosswords.


I think that for these student's in particular, as well as for advanced ones, is that we must study a bachelors, masters, any degree possible. Because we want to give them the right guidance to enter to the English spoken countries, with all their formal and nonformal way of writting. For this can only be acquire in school, we cannot expect them to know how to write, we must teach them word by word, sentence by sentence, and paragraph by paragraph. I know that if it wasn't for the Licenciatura I would not be able to teach this, because you as a teacher have to master all the knowledge before trying to guide someone through it. And, teachers, please !!, try to add some fun in all the activities that you do, so you and your students can enjoy the experience of good writing.

General Principles for teaching writing

When teaching writing teachers might choose among a variety of approaches. Fluency focus will be used if you want students to express what they want but in a free way, where it matters most how much and how fast you write. It can be teachers that consider more important to teach how to construct text, focusing on paragraph's structure, and not much on speed or quantity. And there's of course the approach that aims for purpose, meaning, this means we must teach students the communicative purpose of writing something. The teacher's role then will be to give students "realistic task" in order for them to understand it's importance and relevance in real life situations. Although teachers need to guide students throughout all the writing learning process, students should be given more flexibility and freedom when it comes to what, when and how they are going to write.


Of course, it's almost impossible follow just one focus, so why not used them all. Yeah use them all, but choose, or create the right activities for them. Remember to keep student's writing in an extensive level.