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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 27th, 2007, 01:48 am
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Default Teaching writing

I need some ideas on how to teach writing to a 22 year old Korean girl. Her spoken English is advanced, but I'm not sure how her writing is. It's a one on one settting and I'm assuming it's in preparation for some sort of TOEFL exam. I really have no idea where to start. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.
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Unread Sep 27th, 2007, 04:19 am
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Default Re: Teaching writing

Basic guidelines on teaching writing to teenagers and adults.

1. Teach punctuation marks.

2. The simple sentence. Example (Jack plays soccer). Train her on expanding on simple sentences. Make her expand on this sample sentence as far as she can without changing the main idea which is "Jack plays soccer." Let her add adjectives, adverbs, prepositions and subordinate clauses to the sentence until it becomes very long requiring punctuation marks.

3. Move on to other types of sentences. The compound sentence and the complex sentence

4. Move on to the paragraph. The topic sentence, explaining the topic sentence, giving examples, concluding the paragraph.

5. Introduce paragraphs for and paragraphs against

6. Narrative essay. It's the easiest to begin with. Let her write her own stories.

7. Then move on to descriptive essays which are very similar to narratives.

8. Then move on to compare and contrast essays. They still have elements of description.

9. Then dive into arguments. (Really hard topic).

10. Other formal and informal forms of writing. (Letters, articles, reports, application letter, speech, business letters, etc).

If you get to the 10th item, you would have covered what a 22year old really needs to know as far as writing in English is concerned. This will take you atleast 50hours to teach.
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Unread Sep 29th, 2007, 08:14 pm
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Default Re: Teaching writing

Solid suggestions. I would also suggest having the student write about familiar forms before moving onto more academic styles. For instance, I've had considerable success asking students to write movie reviews, album reviews, and product reviews as a bridge activity. Along those lines, I also recommend that they post their reviews on Amazon or IMDB, or other sites. They often appreciate the feedback and gain new energy for improving their writing.
If the student needs to actually improve their essay writing skills, I'd also recommend Keith Folse's Writing Great Essays or a TOEFL test book. Why? Well, the advice is specifically tailored for students in their position. If you want to teach more generic writing skills, check out Joseph Williamson classic work "Style: An Introduction to Clarity and Elegance." Finally, I have to confess that I have used my own conversation book in community college ESL writing classes. I use the questions and quotations to introduce the topic, explore numerous perspectives, and brainstorm with students for their own topics.

Good luck!

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Unread Oct 6th, 2007, 04:06 am
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Default Re: Teaching writing

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Unread Oct 6th, 2007, 07:45 am
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Default Re: Teaching writing

I would definitely find out why she needs to get her writing to the same level as her spoken English. If it's to have a better balance of skills, you may approach her needs differently than just for test prep purposes. And also consider that the TOEFL test could be to study abroad, as a lot of students who take the test then plan to go to university overseas. She'll definitely need writing skills for college-level tests and essay exams.

Good luck.
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Unread Oct 7th, 2007, 06:54 am
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Default Re: Teaching writing

Writing really scares a lot of them. Sometimes I wonder which one scares them more, speaking or writing?
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Unread Oct 8th, 2007, 11:07 am
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Default Re: Teaching writing

Yes, writing can be a tough work.
I usually give some tips to my students before writing an essay.
1/ How to introduce : First of all, People usually say that.., it cannot be denied ect...
2/ How to link ideas: Therefore, it can be inferred that, That's why...
3/ How to clarify something : However, Still, and yet...
4/ How to add another point : moreover, besides, above all, on the one hand ...... on the other hand...
5/ How to add a personal idea : Personally I think, As far as I'm concerned....
6/ opposition : whereas...
7/ How to conclude : To conclude Id like to say that...
To sum up we can finally say that...Last but not least, I'd like to add that...ect...I've a list of writing topics taken from TOEFL that deals with current and varied topics.
The first essays don't usually live up to their expectations but they gradually make progress.
I've noticed that the lack of ideas is my students'major problem!!!
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Unread Oct 8th, 2007, 11:28 am
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Default Re: Teaching writing

Good points. Two other quick, related tips.
- Emphasize that students must cite their sources because the audience naturally wonders where the information came from.
- prohibit students from saying "According to me"!
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Unread Oct 13th, 2007, 02:28 am
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Default Re: Teaching writing

Start with a writing sample. Ask her to plan and write as much as such can on a personal opinion or narrative prompt.
For example - What will life be like in 20 years? Tell me about the saddest/happiest day in your life.
Then look for strengths and weaknesses in composition, usage and mechanics, and written expression. Build on grammar lessons from here. Review basic structure of sentences and paragraphs (since she sounds advanced), Make sure she can write a really good paragraph. Teach with a graphic organizer so she visually sees a main topic with three details and a closing - then move in to making the details body paragraphs for a 5 paragraph essay. Narrative pieces require teaching active and passive voice, descriptive sentences, hooks and sequencing. You may even have to discuss flashbacks and foreshadowing. Expository pieces are nice because you can pick up almost any text and see the structure - good practice for breaking down and building up a piece. Persuasive is where I like to start because its a little of both and everyone has an opinion that is influenced by personal experiences. Good luck!
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