Writing skills demand training. Interest and readiness of disposition on the part of the learner and understanding and motivation the part of the language trainer are the key factors in developing the learner’s writing skills. Teaching of writing skills involves training in the mechanics of writing (spellings, grammar and handwriting) and the composition of writing. While Mechanics of writing can be taught to learners through conventional teaching methods, teaching composition can be taught by appealing to the creative abilities of the learners which rely on recognizing and rewarding the divergent thoughts of the learners in writing. A few creative tips to accomplish effective writing skills have been dealt with in detail in this paper. Importance of LSRW Skills
Mother Language is never learnt, it is acquired. Acquiring language should follow natural way of learning things. Mother Language (MT/L1) is acquired by a child at different stages of life. Listening helps students to associate sounds with objects. Speaking and reading give a combine base to concept perception and syntax formulation. At the initial stage, the child learns language by observation and imitation, but at later stages, language learning is done by comprehension and understanding. Writing Skill is a complex process both in Mother Language acquisition and in Second language learning. Second language learning demands training. Of the four skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing), Listening and Writing are to be carried over to high school and higher level of education cum training, for they demand maturity of mind which is essential for comprehension of ideas and associating them linguistically within physical and abstract realms.
Importance of Writing
Francis Bacon in his essay “Of Studies” states: “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.”
Writing is a complex process. While writing, one explores his/her thoughts and ideas and makes them visible and concrete. Thus, writing not only encourages thinking but also learning. It accelerates communication too. Writing helps one to get his/her ideas clarified. In other words, in the process of writing, thought is made available for reflection. In the process of reflection, ideas are examined, reconsidered, added, rearranged, edited and changed. Beginners in the process of Writing learn language by copying and reproducing learnt materials in order to learn the conventions of spelling, punctuation, grammar and syntax. Learning of grammar and syntax will help students to start writing within a controlled framework. This, in the long run, will enable them to experiment with new forms and sentence structures. Teaching Writing: The Foundations
Writing Skills demand training. Interest and readiness of disposition on the part of the learner and understanding and motivation the part of the language trainer are the key factors in developing the learner’s writing skills. Teaching of writing skills involves training in the mechanics of writing (spellings, grammar and handwriting) and the composition of writing. While Mechanics of writing can be taught to learners through conventional teaching methods, teaching composition can be taught by appealing to the creative abilities of the learners which rely on recognizing and rewarding the divergent thoughts of the learners in writing. The most important factor in teaching writing is to get the students to be personally involved in the process of writing in order to make the learning experience a pleasant one. Pragmatic approaches are to be adopted in order to encourage student’s participation in writing exercises. The role of the teacher is very important in teaching writing. A teacher should have a clear plan of what he/she plans to teach and must decide the type of exercises that would enhance the students to reach the target planned by the teacher. Knowledge of the level of the students and their needs would help the teacher teach writing better by implementing creative strategies to accomplish effective writing skills. Teaching Writing: Strategies
Writing is a process and it demands interest on the part of the students and understanding on the part of the language trainer. The interests of the students must be sustained by implementation of creative strategies. In this paper eight creative strategies have been enunciated in order to accomplish effective writing skills. These strategies lay stress on the approval of the divergent thinking of the students that would bring out the creativity of the students. Divergent thinking is the process of unfurling of all possible ways and means to solve a problem. So, the student’s free-play of thoughts must be approved off. Strategy -1
Initiating the preparation of Collocation list and using it to write a descriptive passage
The students can be asked to go into groups and must be allotted areas in which they have to prepare collocation list. A collocation list contains words that occur in relation to a specific word. E.g. If the area given to a group is “Education”, the students have to sort out words that occur in the field of education such as schools, colleges, teacher, professor etc. Then the students must be asked to discuss the topic among themselves and must be encouraged to write a descriptive passage individually and present it before the class. This activity would moot the ability of observation and association on the part of the students. Strategy -2
Encouraging Peer-review and requiring written response to peers’ writing.
When the students complete a writing exercise or composition, the language teacher/ trainer should cease to be a conventional teacher who would give corrections. Instead the students must be initiated to respond to each other’s writing in speaking and writing modes. The Students must be encouraged to pen their grasp of facts, their impressions and comments about the piece of writing taken for discussion. This activity demands a serious commitment on the part of the students to the task of listening, note-taking, note-making and the quality of presenting their impressions. Strategy -3
Initiating students to get into study groups and write to young creative writers’ association The language trainer must find out reading taste of the students. In other words, he/she should take into account, whether the students are really interested in reading books on mysteries, adventure, ghost stories, science fiction, romances, tragedies, comedies etc. By knowing the interest of the students, the trainer must group them into small group of three or four and must encourage them to read books in the area of interest, discuss among the group and write separate reviews. This activity does not end there. The students can be encouraged and guided to present their papers in the class and send their creative writing to young writers’ association. This activity creates a sense of pride in the students in sharing their reading among the group and later to the class, when class-sharing is done. Errors in grammar and sentence structures can be carried out either by individual learner meeting the teacher privately or by the group as part of fun learning process. Strategy -4
Publish writing to make it meaningful.
The creative writing of the learners must be corrected and must be “published” (exhibited) on the notice board in the classroom. Good writings that find their way in reputed journals, magazines and news papers must be sorted out and displayed on the notice board. The various groups have to be involved in this activity. A discussion id\s to be initiated and criticism on that writings should be put to pen and paper and must be forwarded to the editors of the journals, magazines and news papers concerned for publication, after due correction and peer-review. These activities help the students exhibit their skills in letter drafting and train them to be critical — to ask questions, offer opinions, or simply express appreciation on a piece of writing. When writing is published in some form –– be it a class notice board, college notice board or college magazine, the students are helped to write with a purpose and write for a purpose. Strategy -5
Initiating students to use SMS and E-MAIL to share their reading and to submit assignments
The students must be taught to use SMS and E-MAIL meaningfully. The correspondence through these media would be a mode of discussion outside the classroom. SMS can be used to share points for elaborating an assignment. The teacher must ask the students to submit assignments and projects online. However, in this mode, usage of abbreviations should not be encouraged. Writing feed backs to a composition submitted online must be encouraged. Strategy -6
Encouraging students to share serious or humourous events of life and inspiring writing The real-life circumstances of students would to help students to compose writing easily. So, the students must be encouraged to share serious or humourous events of life and inspiring writing. The sharing develops a community spirit and inspires the students to write in the form of their choice. Strategy -7
Getting students to focus on writing by doing away with grading The students are psychologically moved by achievements of grades but they must be encouraged to focus on writing and not to worry about grading. The teacher should postpone the grading to the final process of continuous internal assessment and must give corrections to the students now and then for improvement. Appreciation and motivation are important to get students write. The writing of the students must not be graded. Instead, good ones must be forwarded for publication and the others must be analyzed and perfected for later publication. Redrafting of work must be encouraged by stressing the importance of revision before submission. Strategy -8
Sequencing of picture cards and encouraging story-telling and make it a type of dictation to the student-groups A student volunteer has to be invited to sequence the picture cards and tell a story. The members are asked to write the narration by listening carefully. The story-telling is to be slow enough that the listeners can get every word. Paraphrasing the story, summarizing are to be accepted and good writing is to be encouraged. This bridges the gap between speaking and writing. References
Krishnaswamy, N and Lalitha Krishnaswamy. Methods of Teaching English. Chennai: Mac Millan Indian Ltd, 2007. Print. Tickoo, M. L. Teaching and Learning English – a Source Book for Teachers and Teacher- Trainers. New Delhi: Orient Longman Private Limited, 2007. Print. Elisabeth, M. E. S. Methods of Teaching English. New Delhi: Discovery Publishing House, 2004. Print. Nagaraj, Geetha. English Language Teaching: Approaches, Methods, Techniques. 2nd ed. Hyderabad: Orient Longman Private Limited, 2008. Print. Michael Bennet, J. Four Powers of Communication – Skills for Effective Learning. Singapore: Mc Graw – Hill Inc, 1991. Print. Web Sources
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