Improving writing takes a real effort both on your part and your learners’. Say the words “writing assignment”, and you’ll most likely hear your learners groan, even though they need writing skills for their settlement, academic and/or job-related reasons.
In terms of EAL/ESL teaching and learning Web 2.0 technologies are a powerful tool to write and publish. It is also a tool for you as an instructor/facilitator to provide your feedback and encourage peer feedback and peer review… with practicing writing skills as a hidden agenda.
Various free online tools available on the web can be used to introduce pre-, while- and post-writing activities.
Have you ever started your writing class with a writing prompt activity? By the way there’s an online tool for that: Plinky. Once you sign up for an account you’ll get an access to daily writing prompts, as well as to a platform to write and publish your materials online. Plus you can start following other people (e.g. your learners or your peers) and comment on their writing.
You assigned your learners a writing task and they got stuck with it? No worries! Try free writing, a very effective pre-writing technique to get them into the right frame of mind for writing. Give your learners 60 seconds and ask them not to lift their fingers from the keyboard (their pen from the page). They do not think, they just write whatever they have in their minds. No grammar or spelling rules exist at this moment! By the way there’s an online tool for that: OneWord.
Do you learners have difficulties with sticking to an essay topic? Do they tend to refocus while working on their writing assignments? One of the solutions is to ask them identify the key words of their writing work. There’s no need to count the words manually… There’s an online tool for that. Show your learners an online trick: ask them to run their essay draft or their essay itself through any word cloud generator (e.g. Tagxedo, Wordle) to get the graphic representation of their text.
Also, your learners can work on both individual and collaborative writing projects online: from designing appealing interactive flyers to creating detailed timeline resumes which they can share with potential employers by the way.
You can find more tips, tools & ideas, if you watch the webinar recording and/or look through the handout materials.
Thank you and see you online!