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TSL 3107 TEACHING WRITING SKILLS IN THE PRIMARY ESL

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TOPIC 1 : NATURE AND PURPOSE OF WRITING

1.0 SYNOPSIS
Topic 1 introduces you to the key concepts and issues related to the nature and purpose
of writing. It also provides you with information on the different types of writing as well
as the background knowledge (prerequisites) a writer needs to have before embarking
on his/her own writing.

1.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 1, you will be able to:

define the term writing


describe the purpose of writing
identify the five main types of writing genre
list the prerequisites to writing

1.2 FRAMEWORK
Nature and Purpose of Writing

Definition of
writing

1.3

Purposes
of writing

Types of
writing

Prerequisites
to writing

What is Writing?
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Writing is a system of letters (for example a, b, c, .z) used in interpersonal


communication. Most times, writing is done on flat surfaces such as paper, cloth
or stone slabs.
Writings communicate to us news and information which are vital at all levels of
lives. Such communication comes in various forms such as newspapers,
advertisments, bills, notices or letters.
Writing is usually learned through systematic instruction, example in schools or a
child is taught to write by his/her parent.

1.4

Why do we write?
1.4.1 We write for a variety of reasons, among which are the following:

to get things done


to inform
to persuade
to maintain relationships
to document occurences, events, etc.
to record feelings, experiences, observations, etc.

1.4.2 Britton, a University of London researcher, with Burgess, Martin, McLeod,


and Rosen, in their book The Development of Writing Abilities (11-18)
have listed down the following purposes in relation to writing:

as a form of self-expression in which the writer expresses his/her


opinion, views or personal thoughts (examples: readers opinion
column in the newspaper, messages or personal blogs in the
internet). The style is usually informal and less strucutred.

as a transaction in which the writer wishes to disseminate information


which will bring about certain behaviour changes or understanding
among the readers (examples: health-related brochures, tourist guide
book, reports, business letters). The style is formal, structured and
bound by writing conventions/formats.
to enhance ones creative and aesthetic appreciation of writing in
order to derive and give pleasure and enjoyment (examples: writing

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poems, short stories, novels, jokes, riddles). The style is less formal
and less structured.

1.5

Five main types of writing


There are five main types of writing.
1.5.1 Narrative Writing
This type of writing comprises of a sequence of events together with characters
and setting (examples: a story, autobiography)
Example :.

1.5.2

As I was observing myself in the mirror, I suddenly noticed in the


reflection the door knob of my room door turning slowly.

Descriptive Writing

This type of writing comprises of detailed accounts of physical attributes or


qualities of a person, an object or a place. These descriptions evoke the readers
sense of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste which enable the reader to form a
vivid picture of whats being described.
Example :

My late grandfather, a tall, handsome Malay gentleman, was a


most dedicated clerk who worked in the British education office in
Malaya before the Japanese Occupation ...

1.5.3 Expository Writing


This type of writing comprises of facts, information and explanation of concepts,
issues or topics related to scientific or general knowledge. Expository pieces of
writing are impartial, which means the writer does not include his/her
interpretations or opinions (examples: the solar system, cooperative learning)
Example :

Gua Tempurung is a cave in Gopeng, Perak, Malaysia. It is popular


among spelunkers, or caving enthusiasts. More than 3 km long, it is
one of the longest caves in Peninsula Malaysia. Part of it has been
developed as a show cave with electric lighting and walkways and
there are a range of tours of different lengths and difficulty. A fine
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river cave, the river passage runs about 1.6 km through the hill.
There are three very large chambers and some spectacular
stalactites and stalagmites.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gua_Tempurung

1.5.4 Persuasive Writing


This type of writing comprises of the writers views or statements which intend to
convince the reader to agree/accept the writers point of view. Such writings also
include facts and information which promote or support the writers stance. We
can find examples of such writings in advertisments and political articles.
Example :

The first reason why people shouldnt watch too much television is
because the content of many TV programmes is not educational.
Nowadays, we can see movies, series, and shows that present
scenes of violence, sex, and drugs .

1.5.5 Argumentative Writing


This type of writing takes the style of a debate in which the writer first takes a
stance and presents supporting facts/points/evidence. At the same time, the
discussion also includes objections/criticisms of the opposing stance.
Example:

The suggestion to allow students to bring handphones to school


has sparked off a heated debate between parents and
administrators. Teachers oppose this suggestion as they opined
that handphones can be used as an examination cheating tool
apart from being a major distraction during the teaching-learning
process. On the other hand, parents welcome this suggestion as
they view that times have changed and bringing handphones to
school is a way for them to keep in touch with their children,
especially in case of emergencies.
Source : http://thestar.com.my/education/

1.6

Prerequisites to writing

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Before a writer begins to write, there are certain prior information or background
knowledge he/she would need to have. Among these are :

1.6.1 Subject matter


The writer needs to have relevant information about the topic or subject matter
he/she wishes to write on. Such prior knowledge can be gathered from reference
books, journals, discussions with experts, observations or personal experiences.
1.6.2 Purpose
The writers purpose will affect the way he/she writes. For example, does the
writer wish to persuade the reader to purchase the latest model of a particular car
or does the writer wish to inform the reader about atrial fibrillation (a heart
abnormality)?

1.6.3 Interaction and a sense of audience


The writer needs to establish his/her audience. The following questions serve as
a guideline:

Who is the target audience?


Are they children, teenagers, young adults, professionals in the
same field, women, hobbyists, general readers?

What is the knowledge level of the targe audience?


Are they beginners, intermediary or advanced level readers?

How to attract the audiences interest?


Should the layout include pictures, charts, diagrams or just printed
words? Perhaps have a catchy (interesting) title.

1.6.4 Language

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It is important that a writer needs a repertoire of language skills to enable him/her


to write effectively. These skills include a range of sentence patterns, words,
stylistic variants , knowledge of idiomatic expressions and phrases. Overall, the
writer needs a strong understanding of text as a written discourse where the
those skills are inter-related to produce a coherent piece of writing.

Tutorial Task
Source for information related to What a writer needs to know (prerequisites to
writing). Compile your information into the following categories:

Conventions
Thinking Skills
Organisational Skills
Value Systems
Mechanics
The Writing Process

References
Chitravelu, N.et.al. (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti
Britton, J., Burgess, A., Martin, N., McLeod A., & Rosen, R. (1975). The
development of writing abilities, 11-18. London: Macmillan Education.

TOPIC 2 : DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES OF WRITING

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2.0 SYNOPSIS
Topic 2 introduces you to the developmental stages of writing which are writing
readiness, early writing and developmental writing. Each stage provides you with
explanations, examples and basic principles of teaching.

2.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 2, you will be able to:

develop understanding of writing readiness


develop understanding of early writing
understand the stages of developmental writing

2.2 FRAMEWORK
Developmental Stages of Writing

Writing
readiness

2.3

Early
writing

Developmental
writing

Writing Readiness
Writing readiness refers to a stage in a childs early life where he displays signs
of wanting to put his thoughts or ideas into visual forms. These visual forms may
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initially look like doodles,squiggles, crooked lines or even drawings of stick


figures. All these are representations of a childs:

knowledge
a realisation that he can put his thoughts into words which greatly
increases his growing knowledge of the world around him

interest
beginning to discover the interesting fact that writing is another form of
communication

visual readiness
beginning to recognise shapes and numbers as well as distinguish letters
in the alphabet

visual memory
beginning to recognise one or two syllable words (cat, rabbit)

motor and coordination skills


- beginning to display a dominat writing hand (eg: being left or righthanded)
- motor coordination of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder when writing
- displaying eye and hand coordination skills.

Many preschool activities that just seem like fun are actually building fine
motor skills and eye/hand coordination. Here are 10 examples of activities:

* Working with

* Buliding with blocks

* Pouring water into cups

Puzzles

8
*Stringing beads

* Finger painting

* Bouncing and catching


balls

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Source : http://voices.yahoo.com/writing-readiness-getting-preschooler-ready-for5754960.html

2.3.1 Penmanship
Penmanship is the technique of writing with the hand using a writing
instrument (pencil, pen, crayon, brush). It is crucial that children are taught
the skills of penmanship despite the fact, that computer-printed documents
have greatly reduced the need for handwitten work.
New technology has definitely replaced the need for as much
handwritten work, so handwritting has suffered. However, there
will always be a need for a certain amount of handwritten work,
such as writing essays during examinations , filling in forms or
taking notes. Hence, its critical to develop good penship.

Kim Alexander, District Education Superintendent

Source : http://www.reporternews.com/news/2012/dec/08/write-or-wrong-relevancy-ofpenmanship-by-todays/

Letter formation often is the root of students handwritting


problems. They start at the wrong place. For example, when
you write an e you should start at the middle instead of at the
bottom. You start at the middle then go up, around and down.
If you have correct letter formation, your writing is more
efficient; youre quicker. Theres a reason you write your
letters in a certain order.
Ballard, third grade teacher

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Source : http://www.reporternews.com/news/2012/dec/08/write-or-wrong-relevancy-ofpenmanship-by-todays/

Techniques of good handwriting include:

2.4

space between letters, words, paragraphs


alignment
proportion, size, height of letters (upper case, lower case letters)
direction of pen movements

Early Writing
During this stage of writing, a child begins to develop basic understanding of the
mechanics of writing.
Effective writing requires a sound understanding of the mechanics of good
writing. A useful analogy in thinking about the mechanics of writing is that of
driving a car. Important information includes

the various components of the car (parts of speech in writing)

how these components function together (the rules of


grammar)

what is needed to keep the car moving along, stopping and


starting in the right places, and pausing whenever it is
necessary (punctuation)

Read more at : http://writingworkshop.edtec.unsw.edu.au/mech.html

2.4.1 Sentence construction and paragraph writing

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An integral part of writing is the ability to construct sentences and


paragraphs. It is important for a teacher or parent to teach a child to write
using systematic methods and various activities.

The main principles in teaching children to write are :

provide meaningful context for wriitng


create opportunites for chidlren to write, examples birthday card
to daddy, thank you card to grandma, writing shopping lists,
copying food labels

give children insights into writing


- create an awareness and develop a deeper understanding of the
various forms and functions of writing

develop childrens curiosity and thinking skills

enourage the desire to put their thoughts into writing for example,
a child writes a simple poem expressing his sadness that the local
council has cut down his favourite tree in the park

create in them the curiosity to know the consequences of their


writing for example the above childs poem gets published in the
local press resulting in an explanation by the council that the tree
was old and termite-infested , therefore it was cut down.
Subsequently a new tree was planted to replace the old tree.

read to children
-

reading aloud and participatory reading of stories provide rich


resources for children to develop ideas to write as well as
increasing their vocabulary range. Adults (teachers, parents,
grandparents) need to set aside time and take the effort to read to
Teaching children to write sentences can be difficult because of the
children.
abstract concept of the two parts of a sentence the subject and
predicate. Children mistakenly use sentence fragments in their
writing because that is how people commonly speak. Modeling
proper sentence structure and activities that help students
understand necessary parts of a sentence will teach children to write
them correctly.

Read more : Teaching Children to Write Sentences


http://www.ehow.com/info_8299374_teaching-children-writesentences.html

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Sentence or not a sentence?


One of the first things I try to teach my students is to recognise
sentences. They learn that sentences express a complete idea.
Here are some exercises that will help them recognise
sentences.

Have each student make two cards (one will say


SENTENCE and the other will say NOT A SENTENCE).
The teacher then reads phrases aloud. If its a sentence,
the children must raise the correct card. If its not a
sentence, they must raise the other card.

Read more : Sentences: Activities and Lessons


http://www.busyteacherscafe.com/literacy/sentences.html

2.5

Developmental Writing
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During this stage of writing, a child progresses into a deeper understanding of the
mechanics of writing which includes the following:

spelling
grammar
text organisation and cohesion

2.5.1 Spelling
When teaching spelling, the teacher should focus on :

teaching the relationship between the most common phonemes


(sounds) of English & graphemes (letters)
teaching the most common words.
developing visual memory for shapes of words.
developing relevant dictionary skills.
helping pupils devise ways of helping themselves to remember
common but some trouble words.

When it comes to teaching children to spell, there is no magical method but a


practical approach is to integrate spelling in listening, speaking, reading & writing.

The Do's and Don'ts of Spelling


First of all, please note that very little research is available
regarding the teaching and acquisition of spelling skills.
However, evidence of good practice is. Many teachers have
developed the tried and true strategies to help their students
become better spellers. Here is what they say and do: .

Read more http://specialed.about.com/od/literacy/a/spell.htm

2.5.2 Grammar
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It is essential that children are taught grammar rules to enable them to be


better writers. Teachers can refer to a range of resources for ideas to
teach grammar meaningfully and enjoyable.

Teaching children English grammar can be a daunting task for two


main reasons. First, there are so many nuances of the langauge for
children to learn. Second, learning all these rules can be boring.
However, teaching English grammar can be done in an engaging way.
Here are some ideas:
1. Expose your students to the proper use of English grammar.
Children will internally develop grammar rules on their own through
exposure to the language. Its your responsibility as the teacher to
provide this exposure. This means always modelling proper
grammar in your speech and writing. If you dont want your
students to make errors in subject-verb agreement, dont make
these errors yourself. Also, get your students reading as much as
possible. Good writers do a lot of reading.

Read more: How To Teach English Grammar to Children


http://www.ehow.com/how_4493979_teach-english-grammarchildren.html

2.5.3 Dictation as a Writing Exercise

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Dictation is a time-proven technique in writing practice. It may seem


conventional or even outdated in this age of information technology but
this technique is beneficial in many ways.

Frodesen writes that dictation can be an effective way to address


grammatical errors in writing that may be the result of erroneous
perception of English..Dictation can help students to diagnose and
correct these kinds of errors as well as others. (1991). Our students
inability to produce grammatically correct sentences is familiar to every
teacher, and since our students hear or see little English outside the
classroom,.. giving dictation exercises could be looked upon as one
way of redressing this.

Read more: The Many Benefits of Dictation Exercises


http://whatsnewintheworld.blogspot.com/2008/06/many-benefits-ofdictation-exercises.html

2.5.4 Text structure and organisation


The term text structure refers to how information is organised in a text or
passage. Information is organised according to certain patterns/format.
Writers (as well as readers) need to know the various patterns/format to
enable them to write accordingly.
Here are seven common text structures:

cause and effect

choronological

compare and contrast

order of importance

problem and solution

sequence/process writing

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spatial/descriptive writing

Teachers should focus on a variety of activities/exercises to build


sentences and form paragraphs of the different text structures.

1. Cause and Effect : The resuls of something are explained.


Example : The dodo bird used to roam in large flocks across America.
Interestingly, the dod wasnt startled by gun shots. Because of this,
fronriersmen would kill entire flocks in one sitting. Unable to sustain
these attacks, the dodo was hunted to extinction.
2. Chronological : information in the passage is organised in order
of time
Example : Jack and Jill ran up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell
down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.

Read more at: http://www.ereadingworksheets.com/text-structure/

TUTORIAL
1.

Collect a sample of a childs handwritten work. Study the handwriting and


identify the problems. Discuss appropriate techniques to help overcome
those problems.

2.

Identify suitable activities to develop sentence construction and paragraph


writing skills among primary-level pupils.

References
Chitravelu, N.et.at (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti.

TOPIC 3 (Part I) : APPROACHES TO TEACHING WRITING


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3.0 SYNOPSIS

Topic 3 introduces you to several techniques of teaching writing. Be aware that there
are no correct or best way of teaching writing. Your choice of technique depends on
a combination of factors such as learners cognitive/proficiency levels, classroom
environment or learning outcomes. We encourage you to try out the techniques
suggested in this topic and of course, adapt if the need arises.

3.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 3, you will be able to:

select appropriate teaching techniques


design suitable writing activities

3.2 FRAMEWORK

Approaches to Teaching
Writing

Product
Approach

3.3

Process
Approach

Genre
Approach

Product Approach to Teaching Writing

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This is a traditional, behaviorist approach in which learners imitates or copies


the writing models supplied by the teacher. A model for such an approach is
given below:

Stage 1
Model texts are read, and then features of the genre are highlighted.
For example, if studying a formal letter, students' attention may be
drawn to the importance of paragraphing and the language used to
make formal requests. If studying a story, the focus may be on the
techniques used to make the story interesting, and students focus on
where and how the writer employs these techniques.
Stage 2
This consists of controlled practice of the highlighted features, usually
in isolation. So if students are studying a formal letter, they may be
asked to practise the language used to make formal requests,
practising the 'I would be grateful if you would' structure.
Stage 3
Organisation of ideas. This stage is very important. Those who favour
this approach believe that the organisation of ideas is more important
than the ideas themselves and as important as the control of
language.
Stage 4
The end result of the learning process. Students choose from a
choice of comparable writing tasks. Individually, they use the skills,
structures and vocabulary they have been taught to produce the
product; to show what they can do as fluent and competent users of
the language.

Source: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/product-process-writing-a-comparison

3.4

Process Approach to Teaching Writing


This approach looks at writing as a process in which students are given time to
think about and discuss their ideas on a specific topic, write a draft or framework
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of what they want to say, discuss this again and then to write a detailed account.
(Kilfoil and der Walt, 1997:252)
The four common stages to this approach are:

Prewriting: selecting a topic and planning what to say


Writing: putting a draft version on paper
Revising: making changes to improve the writing
Evaluation: assessing the written work
Stage 2 (Writing)

Stage 1 (Pre writing)


Generating ideas by brainstorming
and discussion. Students could be
discussing qualities needed to do a
certain job, or giving reasons as to
why people take drugs or gamble.
The teacher remains in the
background during this phase, only
providing language support if
required, so as not to inhibit students
in the production of ideas.

Students write the first draft. This is


done in class in pairs (buddy support
approach) or in groups
Drafts are exchanged, so that
students become the readers of each
other's work. By responding as
readers, students develop an
awareness of the fact that a writer is
producing something to be read by
someone else, and thus can improve
their own drafts.

Students organise ideas into a mind


map, spidergram, or linear form. This
stage helps to make the
(hierarchical) relationship of ideas
more immediately obvious, which
helps students with the structure of
their texts.
Stage 3 (Revising)
Stage 4 (Evaluaton)
Drafts are returned and
improvements are made based upon
peer feedback

Final version of the work is ready.


Students once again exchange and
read each other's work and perhaps
even write a response or reply.
Teacher evaluates students work.
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Source: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/product-process-writing-a-comparison

3.5 Differences between Product Approach and Process Approach

Product Approach

Process Approach

imitate model text

text as a resource for


comparison

organisation of ideas more


important than ideas

ideas as starting point

one draft

more than one draft

controlled practice of focus


language structures / features

more global; focus on purpose,


theme, text type

individual

collaborative

emphasis on end product

emphasis on creative process

Source: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/product-process-writing-a-comparison

3.6

Genre Approach to Teaching Writing


In a genre approach to writing, learners study texts in the genre they are going to
be writing. For example if the focus genre is a formal letter, then learners are
given samples of formal letters to look at and analyse the key features. When this
is done, they begin their own writing.
Badger and White (2000:155) have noted that there are strong similarities
between the product approach and the genre approach, in which the genre
approach is seen as an extension of the former. The difference, however,
between the two approaches is the emphasis on social context in genre
approach.

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Like product approaches, genre approaches regard writing as


predominantly linguistic but, unlike product approaches, they
emphasize that writing varies with the social context in which it
is produced. So, we have a range of kinds of writingsuch as
sales letters, research articles, letters of apology, recipes, and
reportslinked with different situations.
Read more: A process genre approach to teaching writing
http://newresearch.wikispaces.com/file/view/genre+process+ap
proach.pdf

3.7

Strengths and Weaknesses


Let us examine the strengths and weakness of each approach.
3.7.1 Strengths

Product Approach

Process Approach

Genre Approach

the need for


learners to be
given linguistic
knowledge about
texts (grammar,
sentence
structures,
punctuation)

emphasis on the skills


in writing
(brainstorming,
drafting, review, editing)

writing takes
place in a social
situation, and
is a reflection
of a particular
purpose

imitation is one
way in which
people learn.

learners background
knowledge and
experiences contribute to
the development of writing
ability

active participation of

learning can
happen
consciously
through
imitation and
analysis

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learners in the process

Source : http://newresearch.wikispaces.com/file/view/genre+process+approach.pdf

3.7.2 Weaknesses

Product Approach

Process Approach

Genre Approach

process skills of
writing, such as
planning a text
are less
emphasized

does not provide


learners with adequate
linguistic knowledge to
write successfully

does not provide


learners with
adequate linguistic
knowledge to write
successfully

learners
knowledge and
experiences are
undervalued;
passive learners

focus on writing as
mere process with the
same set of steps to
follow through,
insufficient importance
to the kind of texts
writers produce and
why such texts are
produced.

learners are largely


passive

Source : http://newresearch.wikispaces.com/file/view/genre+process+approach.pdf

3.8

Which approach to use?

The approach that you decide to use will depend on you, the teacher, and
on the students, and the genre of the text. Certain genres lend themselves
more favourably to one approach than the other. Formal letters, for
example, or postcards, in which the features are very fixed, would be
perhaps more suited to a product-driven approach, in which focus on the
layout, style, organisation and grammar could greatly help students in
dealing with this type of writing task.
Other genres, such as discursive essays and narrative, may lend
themselves to process-driven approaches, which focus on students' ideas.
Discursive activities are suited to brainstorming and discussing ideas in
groups, and the collaborative writing and exchanging of texts help the
students to direct their writing to their reader, therefore making a more
successful text.

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Source: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/product-process-writing-a-comparison

According to Badger and White (2000), adapting the three approaches will give
the teacher an electic approach to teaching writing.
An effective methodology for writing needs to incorporate the insights
of product, process, and genre approaches. One way of doing this is
to start with one approach and adapt it.
For example, one problem in the process approach is the lack of
input. White and Arndt (1991) suggest techniques
such as group work, where input is provided by other learners, and
conferencing, where input is provided on a one-to-one basis by the
teacher.
Also, some process writing material makes use of sample texts,
usually after the learners have produced a first draft (see for example
White 1987). Adapting an approach has led to important
developments in the writing classroom.

Read more: A process genre approach to teaching writing


http://newresearch.wikispaces.com/file/view/genre+process+approac
h.pdf

3.9

Other considerations
Apart from selecting or adapting from the three approaches, there are other
issues to consider.

3.9.1 The importance of feedback


Teachers should provide quick respond to learners writings as such
feedback will sustain the learners motivation and interest to continue to
write.
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Writing is a complex process and learners could become easily frustrated


if feedback is delayed or not provided. Furthermore, if learners are
required to rework on their drafts without adequate feedback, they could
react negatively to such endeavours.

It takes a lot of time and effort to write, and so it is only


fair that student writing is responded to suitably. Positive
comments can help build student confidence and create
good feeling for the next writing class.

Source : http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/articles/approaches-process-writing

3.9.2 Writing as communication


Learners must be made to understand that writing is not merely to test
their language skills but it is a form of communicating their thoughts,
ideas, feelings and experiences.
Writing tasks should be designed to provide learners the real-life
experiences of communicating with an audience. Activities such as
producing a class magazine/bulletin, exchaging emails/letters with friends,
blog writings should be made a part of the classroom writing experience.

Tutorial Task
1. Discuss with your coursemates the approaches you use to teach
writing in your ESL primary classroom.
2. Design a writing project which incorporates the three approaches.

References
Badger, R. & G. White. 2000. A process genre approach to teaching writing. ELT
Journal, 54(2): 153-160.
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Chitravelu, N.et.at (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti
Kilfoil & der Walt (1997) Outcomes-based education in the English Second Language
classroom in South Africa. Retrieved from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1172525569.html
TOPIC 3 (Part II) : TECHNIQUES FOR TEACHING WRITING SKILLS

3.10 SYNOPSIS

Topic 3 introduces you to several techniques of teaching writing. We encourage you to


try out these techniques in your own classrooms.

3.11 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 3, you will be able to:

select appropriate teaching techniques


design suitable writing activities

3.12 FRAMEWORK
Techniques in Teaching
WritingSkills

Techniques
using :
- pictures
- readings
- language
skills
- controlled
writing

Techniques in
teaching:
- practical
writing
- organisation

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3.13

Four Common Techniques


ESL learners should be taught to write for a variety of reasons, which includes
recording personal experiences, expressing ideas without the pressure of faceto-face communication and exploring a particular subject matter.
Here are five common techniques to teach learners to write:

3.14

Techniques in using pictures


Techniques in using readings
Techniques in using all language skills
Techniques in using controlled writing

Techniques in Using Pictures

Generating whole class discussion that leads to writing, based on a varieties


of pictures such as posters, textbook pictures, magazine pictures, brochures,
advertisement, simple pictures drawn on board , duplicated pictures etc

Divide the class into two groups and supply each group with different pictures.
Set some communicative tasks so that learners are able to convey
information to others.

Provide a picture to each group of learners so that only one member has the
picture. This learner needs to convey what is in the picture with the help of
questions posed by other members in the group

Learners bring their own pictures favourite advertisement, family


photograph, own drawing etc. Bringing such items help learners develop
personal attachment to their pictures and they will find the writing tasks more
meaningful, especially when answering questions from their peers. Real
communication can be developed

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Go beyond the picture to enable learners to make inferences, predictions and


suppositions about the world beyond the pictures.For example they could be
asked to visualise what happened before and after, what caused the situation
to occur and what the result will be.

One picture many techniques

fancyhomedesign.com

3.14.1 Description
Get the class to provide words to label the picture. Then they write down
other words and phrases on strips of paper to describe the room, e,g, next
to, on the right, in front of etc., and paste them on the board. Next, teacher
takes away the picture and the strips. Learners write descriptions of the
picture based on memory and exchange with their friends
3.14.2 Description, comparison and contrast
Each group of learners is given a different picture of room layout.
Members of each group then discuss and write a description of the room.
Then each group takes turn to read their description while other
groups( who are given picture of empty room, draw (or paste) furniture in
their room. Then this is followed by discussion of the diferent positions of
furniture.

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3.14.3 Paragraph assembly


Learners are given strips of sentences containing a description of the
room. In groups, pupils discuss the possible arrangement of the sentences
to form a complete and coherent paragraph.
3.14.4 Sentence combining
Each learner is given a strip of paper containing a sentence which can be
combined using sentence connectors. Learners go around finding their
other half. At higher level, learners can be asked to write a simple
sentence and combine it with their partner.
Alis room is small. Alis room is tidy.
Alis room is small but tidy.
Learners can then proceed to paragraph writing by combining the
sentences written by group members.

3.14.5 Paragraph completion


Prepare a paragraph describing about the picture and paste it on the
board but omit the ending.
In groups, learners discuss how to end the paragraph. They write their
endings on a strip of paper. Then all the groups paste their strips and
teacher compares the sentences.

3.14.6 Controlled composition


Ask learners to pretend to be Ali. Learners rewrite the paragraph using the
past tense:
My bedroom was small but tidy.

3.14.7 Guided composition


Learners discuss in groups what they would write in a paragraph
beginning with:
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Alis bedroom is bright and colourful.


or
Alis bedroom is dull and drab.

3.14.8 Role play


Teacher prepares role play cards of two persons talking about Alis room.
Learners ,in groups will note down important details from the cards.
Then based on the information, learners discuss and write a paragraph.

3.14.9 Beyond the room


Learners are given a picture of an empty room and pictures of furniture.
Learners create their own arrangement of the furniture . They discuss and
write a paragraph describing the new room.
Each group displays their plan of the room with a brief written description.
Each groups picture when pieced together will form a complete house
plan.

3.15 Techniques in Using Readings

3.15.1 Copying
-

Copying answers on b/board after a discussion


Copy a good piece of writing
Copy down one sentence they like best in a story read
Copy new words and sentences into their notebook

3.15.2 Examine cohesive links


-

Learners read passage and underline adjectives/ connectors etc


Learners replace the words in the text with synonyms
Learners copy a passage but leave some blanks and pass to their friends
to be completed
Teacher provides a short passage with some blanks
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3.15.3 Examine punctuation and grammar


- Learners read passage and underline the purposes of punctuation
- Learners underline specific structures or grammatical item
3.15.4 Examine sentence arrangement
-

Learners are given 3 sentences and they arrange them in order of sense,
and provide reasons
Provide learners with 2 sentences but there is a gap between the
sentences. Learners try to write a sentence that connects the two
sentences

3.15.5 Completion
-

learners are to complete the ending of a paragraph/story


learners are given a passage where all the verbs have been deleted.
Learners complete the passage with appropriate verbs.

3.16 Techniques in Using All Language Skills

Brainstorming
Guided discussion
Interviews
Skits / hot seat
Dictation
Note taking
Story telling

3.17 Techniques in Using Controlled Writing

Controlled composition
Questions and answers
Guided composition
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3.18

Techniques in Teaching Practical Writing

3.19

Sentence combining
Parallel writing

Fill in forms
Letters
Emails
Lists
Daily notes/ memo/messages
Instructions

Techniques in Teaching Organisation

Draw outlines
Analysis
Model

Tutorial Task

1.

Select a picture and design a series of writing activities using the one
picture many techniques approach.

2.

Design an appropriate controlled writing activity for a mixed-ability


Year 5 class.

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References
Chitravelu, N.et.at (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti
30 Ideas for Teaching Writing. (2003). Retrieved December 13, 2012, from
http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/922
TOPIC 4 : SELECTION AND ADAPTATION OF MATERIALS
AND ACTIVITIES

4.0 SYNOPSIS

Topic 4 provides you with information on selection and adaptation of materials for the
ESL learners.

4.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 4, you will be able to:

define the term material adaptation


explain the need for material adaptation
elaborate on the criteria for selection and adaptation

4.2 FRAMEWORK
Criteria for Selection
and Adaptation

Age and
Maturity

Learning
Styles

Proficiency
Levels

Exploitabilty

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4.3

The Role of Materials in the ESL Classroom


In many ESL classrooms, textbooks function as the main teaching-learning
resource. Using textbooks is an efficient way of implementing the syllabus in
terms of time and cost-effectiveness.
Much of the teaching-learning process is determined in the textbooks and
teachers deliver the content as designed whilst pupils learn what is presented in
the textbooks.
Towards the late 1970s, a paradgim shift towards student-centered learning
resulted in educators exploring the use of other materials in the ESL classrooms.
While textbooks remain the primary resource, other forms of materials emerged
as supplementary resources.
Teachers have access to a wide selection of materials ranging from:

authentic printed materials eg. brochures, newspapers, magazines


audio/video recordings eg. audio books, poetry/songs, movies
video clips eg. the art of origami downloaded from YouTube
computer software eg.SpellBuzz, Word Treasure Chest

In other words, learners should be the center of instruction and


learning. The curriculum is a statement of the goals of learning,
the methods of learning, etc. The role of teachers is to help
learners to learn. Teachers have to follow the curriculum and
provide, make, or choose materials. They may adapt,
supplement, and elaborate on those materials and also monitor
the progress and needs of the students and finally evaluate
students.
Read more : Selecting & Developing Teaching-Learning
Materials http://iteslj.org/Articles/Kitao-Materials.html

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4.4

The Need to Adapt Materials


Material adaptation is the process of modifying an existing material/resource into
one that serves a different purpose or for a different group of learners.
Materials are usually adapted for their:

format (eg: from a newspaper article to a picture series)


language level (eg: from advanced learners to less proficient learners)
focus skill (eg: from a reading text to a listening text)

Material adaptation can save time and money if changes


needed are not extensive. For example, the technical content
may require a few changes, and the adaptation may be able
to take advantage of creative concepts and formats proved
successful elsewhere. There may still be a need, however, to
adjust the material or product for a different culture or context,
including messages, visuals, and language
Read more :
http://www.c-changeproject.org/sites/default/files/C-Bulletin10.pdf

4.5

Criteria for Selection and Adaptation of Materials


The criteria comprises of four main aspects :

learners age and maturity level


learning styles
proficiency levels
exploitability
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4.5.1 Learners Age and Maturity Level


Age refers to the number of years a person has lived while a persons
behaviour and cognition are reflected through his maturity level. It is a
common belief that a persons age is proportional to his maturity level,
which is the older you are, the wiser you become. However, this is not
always the case.
In the classroom for example, a teacher is faced with a group of 10 year
olds. The cognition or learning abilities of these pupils range from what is
commonly termed as smart, average and weak. Taking this scenario of a
mixed-ability class, it is crucial that the teacher designs teaching-learning
activities to suit her pupils. This calls for a need to adapt materials suited
for each group.

I think giving weaker students in the class a written task that is too
difficult can do a great deal of damage. They become
discouraged. They feel that English is too difficult for them. They
lose motivation. They lose confidence. Giving stronger students a
task that is too easy is not so damaging I believe but still doesn't
really benefit the student a great deal and may do damage to their
motivation.

Read more: Writing Tasks for Mixed Ability Classes


http://www.eltnews.com/columns/young_learners/2009/03/writing_
tasks_for_mixed_abilit.html

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4.5.2 Learning Styles


It is acknowledged that individuals have different learning styles. Some
learn better by reading printed materials while others prefer to listen to
audio texts. Generally, people have a mixed range of styles; some may
find they have a dominant style while for others the style changes
depending on the learning circumstances.

The Seven Learning Styles

Visual (spatial)

You prefer using pictures, visuals, images


and prints
You prefer using words, both in speech and
Verbal (linguistic)
writing
Aural (auditory-musical)
You prefer sound and music
Physical (kinesthetic)
You prefer using your body, hands and
sense of touch
Logical (mathematical)
You prefer using logic, reasoning and
systematic approaches
Social (interpersonal)
You prefer to learn in groups or with other
people
Solitary (intrapersonal)
You prefer to work alone and use self-study
Source : http://www.ldpride.net/learningstyles.MI.htm

Applying multiple learning styles strategies in the classrooms could result


in more conducive learning environments.
Student learning styles may be an important factor in the success of
teaching and may not necessarily reflect those that teachers
recommend" says Jack C. Richards, noted Linguistics professional
and an author of the INTERCHANGE EFL / ESL series course
books. Knowledge of our students may tell us that certain learning
styles should preferably be addressed.

Read more : Creating Materials for the ESL Classroom


http://www.eslbase.com/articles/creating-materials

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Adapting materials to suit our pupils learning styles is one way of ensuring
learners success in the ESL classrooms. Below are a few ideas:

pictures or illustrations are added to a reading text


pupils perform a series of actions as instructed in an audio recording
reading texts are adapted to appear as cause and effect charts.

4.5.3 Proficiency Levels


Proficiency levels among ESL learners vary from high to less proficient or
from Level 1 5. Heres an example:

English Language Proficiency Levels


Level 1

Preproduction

Level 2

Beginning/Production

Level 3

Intermediate

Level 4

Advanced intermediate

The learner does not understand or


speak English with the exception of
a few isolated words or expressions.
The learner speaks and
understands conversational English
with hesitancy and difficulty. The
learner is at the pre-emergent or
emergent level of reading and
writing skills.
The learner speaks and
understands conversational and
academic English with some
amount of effort.
The learner is post-emergent,
developing both reading and writing
skills.
The learner speaks and
understands conversational English
without difficulty but displays some
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hesitancy in academic English.


The leaner is able to read fluently
and comprehend texts; needs
assistance in writing tasks.
Level 5
Advanced
The learner speaks and
understands converstational and
academic English well.
The learner is proficient in reading
and writing skills, requiring only
occasional support.
Source : http://ell.dpi.wi.gov/files/ell/pdf/elp-levels.pdf

Materials have to be adapted to suit these range of learners. For example, the
teacher simplifies the vocabulary of a reading passage to make it more
comprehensible to her less proficient pupils.
Writing tasks are also designed to suit the pupils proficiency levels. Below is an
example of a task designed for pupils of different proficiency levels.

Level 2
Pupils are a given picture series of a road accident. Teacher provides
sentence strips and pupils match the strips to the correct pictures.
Pupils copy the sentences in their worksheet.

Level 3
Pupils are given a picture series of a road accident. Word cues are
provided. Pupils select appropriate words for each picure. Using the
selected words, pupils construcat sentences describing each picture.

Level 4
Pupils are given a picture series of a road accident. In groups, pupils
brainstorm for appropriate words or phrases to describe each picture.
Pupils write about the accident in the form of a narrative essay

Level 5
Pupils are given a composite picture of a road accident. Pupils take
on various roles as depicted in the picture and write an eyewitness
account of the accident.

4.5.4 Exploitability
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Exploitability refers to how a selected material can be used to develop the


learners language skills. When an ESL teacher selects a material, there
are various ways to adapt the material to teach different skills in other
words, the original material is exploited in many ways. Below is an
example:

The teacher selects the story The Ant and The Dove

The Ant and the Dove


An Ant went to the bank of a river to quench its thirst,
and being carried away by the rush of the stream, was on
the point of drowning.
A Dove sitting on a tree overhanging the water plucked a
leaf and let it fall into the stream close to her. The ant
climbed onto it and floated in safety to the bank.
Shortly afterwards a birdcatcher came and stood under
the tree, and laid a trap for the Dove, which sat in the
branches.
The Ant, perceiving his design, stung him in the foot. In
pain the birdcatcher threw down the trap and the noise
made the Dove take wing.

Source : http://www.aesopfables.com

The teacher begins by adapting the story to suit the proficiency


level of her pupils. Some parts in the story may have to be
simplified, for example:
An Ant was thirsty.
It went to the river bank to drink some water

The teacher then exploits the story in a number of ways. Here are
some suggestions:
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(i) Listen and complete the story


(ii) Retell the story in your own words
(iii) Rewrite the story into a dialogue
(iv) Write a poem based on this story
.

Tutorial Task
1. Select a short story and adapt it for an average Year 4 class of
ESL learners. Suggest suitable writing activities based on the story
you have adapted.

References
Chitravelu, N.et.at (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti

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TOPIC 5 : ASSESSING WRITING SKILLS

5.0 SYNOPSIS

Topic 5 discusses assessment strategies and feedback which includes aspects to


consider when implementing these strategies.

5.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 5, you will be able to:

design assessment strategies for writing


provide effective feedback

5.2 FRAMEWORK
Assessing Writing Skills

Assessmen
t Strategies

Provide
Feedback
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5.3

Assessment Strategies
Assessment on writing is imperative in order to gather information for the
purpose of guiding instruction. It is meant to be specific on the pattern to be
observed/addressed. Writing samples should be assessed across a variety of
purposes for writing to give a complete picture of a student's writing performance
across different text structures and genres. It is invaluable to both students, who
can learn from their errors, and teachers, who can check the students' progress
and identify specific problems.
These simple classroom measures can fulfil various functions of assessment
including: identifying strengths and weaknesses, planning instruction, evaluating
instructional activities, giving feedback, monitoring performance, and reporting
progress.
Assessment strategies may depend on the information required by the assessor.
Each strategy offers unique methods and instruments. The key is to understand
their different writing purposes, how they can be structured and categorised, and
finally, what to do with the results. It is not necessary to use all methods possible
within a category, but all categories should be included in an assessment plan.

5.3.1 What to consider when designing an assessment:

aspects of writing taken into account (example: content, organization,


grammar, vocabulary, spelling)

type of descriptors to be used (example : numbers, letters, words such


as excellent, good, fair)

criteria to be established to understand what each descriptor


represents. These criteria could be arranged in holistic scales (general
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descriptions of writing ability) or analytic scales, which separate the


aspects of writing into different units.

5.4

Feedback
Feedback, like assessment, compares standards and expectations with actual
student performance to evaluate the quality of work. However, the purpose of
feedback differs from that of assessment in that the purpose of feedback is to
highlight those areas of performance which satisfied standards and expectations,
rather than to grade the performance.
It is important that teachers clarify standards and expectations before students
engage in the writing task. By doing so, students will learn how to assess their
own performance in the future. The feedback process provides an opportunity for
teachers and students to engage in meaningful dialogue about what
differentiates successful performance from unsuccessful as they together review
expectations and standards (Fink, 2003)

5.4.1

Effective feedback is:

provided as quickly as possible once the written task is carried out;

a deliberate teaching tool, which notes the quality of the performance


and how it can be improved;

individualised and focused on the students performance not on her or


him as a person;

able to clarify the criteria against which the students performance is


being judged and the standards for different levels of performance;

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strategic - not too little, not too much; shaping student development,
step-by-step over time. Students can be challenged without being
overwhelmed.

an opportunity to point beyond particular assessment tasks to assist


performance of later tasks.

Written feedback is an essential aspect of any English language


writing course. This is especially true now with the predominance of
the process approach to writing that requires some kind of second
party feedback, usually the instructor, on student drafts. So
dependant is current writing instruction on instructor feedback that
Kroll (2001) describes it as one of the two components most central
to any writing course with the other being the assignments the
students are given. The goal of feedback is to teach skills that help
students improve their writing proficiency to the point where they
are cognizant of what is expected of them as writers and are able to
produce it with minimal errors and maximum clarity.

Read more Providing Feedback on ESL Students Written


Assignments http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Williams-Feedback.html

Tutorial Task
1.

Obtain a sample of a pupils written work and study it. Discuss ways to
provide feedback and justify the feedback given.

References
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Chitravelu, N.et.at (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti
Fink (2003). A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning
Retrieved from
http://trc.virginia.edu/Workshops/2004/Fink_Designing_Courses_2004.pdf
Raimes, A. Techniques in Teaching Writing.(1983). Cambridge University Press (p139)

TOPIC 6 (Part I) : PLANNING FOR TEACHING WRITING

6.0 SYNOPSIS
Topic 6 introduces you how to interpret the writing skills in the syllabus. It also discusses
how to select and prepare activities for teaching different levels of writing skills.

6.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 6, you will be able to:

plan lessons to develop writing skills


design appropriate writing activities to suit different levels of learners.

6.2 FRAMEWORK
Planning for Teaching Writing

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Interpreting the
writing skills in the
syllabus

6.3

Selecting and
preparing activities for
teaching different
levels of writing skills

Grading and
sequencing the writing
lessons according to
level of difficulty

Interpreting the Writing Skills in the Syllabus KBSR English Syllabus


The focus is on developing learners writing ability beginning at the word and
phrase levels and progressing to the sentence and paragraph levels. For
learners who are able and capable, they must be encouraged to write simple
compositions comprising several paragraphs.
Attention is also paid to penmanship so that even from a young age, learners are
taught to write clearly and legibly both in print and cursive writing.
In writing simple compositions, learners are taught the various steps involved in
writing such as planning, drafting, revising, and editing. In the process, they are
also taught to use appropriate vocabulary and correct grammar to get their
meaning across clearly.
Although much of the writing at the primary level is guided, the amount of control
is relaxed for learners who are able and proficient in the language. All learners
are encouraged to write for different purposes and for different audiences.
Spelling and dictation are also given emphasis.
By the end of their primary schooling, learners should be able to write lists,
messages, letters, instructions, directions, simple poems and stories,
descriptions, simple recounts and simple reports for various purposes.

6.4

Interpreting the Writing Skills in the Syllabus KSSR English Syllabus


The approach adopted in the Standard-based curriculum is underpinned by the
following principles:

Back to basics - It is essential for teachers to begin with basic literacy


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skills in order to build a strong foundation of language skills. The strategy


of phonics is introduced in order to help learners begin to read and a good
foundation in penmanship will help pupils acquire good handwriting.

Learning is fun, meaningful and purposeful. Lessons, which emphasise


meaningful contexts and the integration of language skills, allow learners
to learn by doing fun-filled activities. Contextualised as well as purposeful
activities will promote the fun element in language learning.

6.5

Selecting and Preparing Activities for Teaching Different Levels of Writing


Skills
Activities in a lesson plan should show connectedness and progress from easy to
difficult - from modelled writing to independent writing. This is reflected in the
way the curriculum specification is organised. For example with reference to
Huraian Sukatan Pelajaran Year 4 KBSR (page 30) :
4.3 Match words to linear and non-linear representations

Level 1 4.3.1 Match phrases to pictures

Level 2 4.3.2 Match words to signs

Level 3 4.3.3 Match words to other words

When planning for writing lesson, the flow of the lesson plan should begin with
Level 1 before progressing into Level 2 and 3 for this particular matching
exercise. This is to ensure learners are able to grasp proper understanding of the
lesson and to successfully achieve intended objectives.

6.6

Grading and sequencing the writing lessons according to level of difficulty.


Teachers need to sequence their writing lessons in some logical order.
Basically, at the earliest levels, a lesson may involve providing multiple and
varied context for practising handwriting and/or spelling, teaching and creating
occasions for meaningful practice in punctuation, as well as providing occasions
for using what language they have for real communication.
At later phases the writing lessons could focus on the process involved in
producing a written document such as a letter or a story.

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For samples, refer Nesamalar Chitravelus ELT Methodology:


Principles and Practice (pg.180)

Tutorial Task
1.

Refer to the KSSR English syllabus and compile a list of writing skills as
stated in the syllabus.

2.

Collect a range of writing lesson plans from your colleagues. Identify the
level of these lessons based on the pupils proficiency levels.

References
Chitravelu, N.et.at (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti
Huraian Sukatan Pelajaran. Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia.

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TOPIC 6 (Part II) : LESSON PLANNING

6.7 SYNOPSIS
Topic 6 introduces you to lesson planning. It also provides you with information on the
pedagogical principles for a writing lesson using the Product Approach, as well as the
stages of a writing lesson using the Process Approach.

6.8 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 6, you will be able to:

state the pedagogical principles for a writing lesson using the product
approach
describe the stages of a writing lesson using the process apporach

6.9 FRAMEWORK
Lesson Planning

Pedagogical principles for a


writing lesson using
the Product Approach:
1. Controlled Writing
2. Guided Writing

Stages of a writing lesson


using the Process Approach:
1. Three broad stages
2. Based on genre

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6.10

Pedagogical Principals for a Writing Lesson Using the Product Approach:


Controlled Writing
6.10.1 Controlled Writing:

are tasks that provide practice in writing error- free sentences or


paragraphs on a given topic

is the first step towards writing composition

is useful for learners with relatively little knowledge of English, to


gain mastery of sentence patterns

is characterised by maximal teacher input and minimal learner input


(learners neither contribute ideas nor organise the writing)

6.10.2 Techniques for controlled writing through:


6.10.2.1 Substitution tables
This is a completely controlled activity which enables learners
to construct structurally and grammatically correct sentences.
6.10.2.2 Parallel writing
At the simplest level, learners need only replace selected words
(e.g. nouns and adjectives); at a more advanced level,learners
study a model, then write on a similar theme using the sentence
structures of the model text as a guide.
6.10.2.3 Question and answer technique
Learners are given notes or a text to read in order to answer a
series of questions.
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Example 1:
What do you do first? (First, I )
What do you do next? (Next, I .) etc.
In this example, learners learn to write a paragraph using
sequence connectors.
Example 2:
Last Friday, my friends and I went to Kellies Castle. I brought
a bottle of water and a camera with me. I carried a haversack as
well.
1.
2.
3.

Where did you go last Friday?


What did you bring with you?
What did you carry?

In this example the cue questions will enable learners to be


aware of the chronological organisation and narrative writing
style.

6.10.2.4 Filling in blanks


The teacher predetermines the writing skill (eg: selecting
appropriate details) or language feature (eg: noun, verb, adverb
etc.). Learners complete the writing task by filling in the blanks.

6.10.2.5 Dictation
This activity provides learners with models of sentence
structures and models of text organisation commonly used in
writing. It also allows learners to practise spelling and
punctuation
Teacher needs to provide immediate feedback by displaying the
original text, whereby learners correct their own work or do peer
correction
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6.11

Pedagogical Principals for a Writing Lesson Using the Product Approach:


Guided Writing
6.11.1 Guided Writing:

It acts as a bridge between controlled and free writing

theres more learner input in guided writing than in controlled writing

the context and form of the sentences is not imposed upon by the
teacher, but can be generated by the class together as a pre-writing
activity (i.e. short notes, list of questions, arguments for/against an
issue on the board)

6.11.2 Guided Writing Activities


6.11.2.1 Writing from class generated guidelines
from a discussion, a class may come up with notes and
questions which provide a guideline for the organisation of ideas
on a 100-word composition entitled My Best Friend.
6.11.2.2 Picture composition with skeleton outline
- based on a picture series, the teacher asks learners to
create a story based on the pictures
- the teacher writes key words on the board based on learners
responses
- learners use the words/phrases they have contributed in
order to complete the picture composition

6.11.2.3 Writing from short notes


- based on given short notes, learners write a composition.
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Example:
One hot day walking home - sports practice strange box
- ground took - opened found police owner grateful
6.11.2.4 Dicto-comp (combines dictation and composition)
-

6.12

learners reconstruct a text dictated to them


- encourages learners to use specific sentence patterns and
produce specific types of writing narrative, descriptive,
argumentative or expository

Stages of a Writing Lesson Using the Process Approach:


Three broad stages
6.12.1

Stage 1: Prewriting

The teacher/the class collectively selects a topic

Learners generate ideas through discussion (whole class initiated by


teacher/pair/small group), brainstorming, listing, quickwriting and
mind- mapping

Learners organise ideas generated to be placed at the beginning,


the middle or the end of their writing.

6.12.2

Stage 2: Writing

Learners write the first draft, and make changes as they progress into
the writing stage

Learners need to be reminded of their writing purpose (e.g. to


persuade, to invite etc.) and the audience they are targetting (their
parents, their friends etc.) so that they can select the most suitable
words, style and sentence construction

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Feedback is where pupils receive most guidance on how to improve


their writing skills, through questions posed by teachers and peers
-

What is the essay about?


Why are you writing about it?
Who is your audience?
What is your favourite part?

Feedback also includes comments raised by teachers or peers, in


which the learners discover, clarify and refine what they have written.

Learners rewrite/revise their compositions incorporating insights from


the feedback session. This rewriting allows the pupils to :

make their meaning clearer through more precise words and apt relationship of ideas,
substitute a poor example for a better example resulting in a more interesting piece of
writing

add ideas,facts, details or explanations and remove anything unrelated or irrelevant

improve their introduction and conclusion where necessary

reorder the sequence of ideas or the sentences/words in a paragraph


The teacher ideally gives individual oral feedback to learners in order
for them to edit their revised compositions.
Learners proof read the revised version of their writing. The teacher
collects the work and edits them, focussing on their content,
organisation, grammar and sentence structure.

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6.12.3

Stage 3: Publication
Publishing involves sharing learners writing with an audience. It is
pertinent for learners to proof-read their final piece of writing to
ensure they are error-free

6.13

6.14

Learners final writing products are best displayed on the bulletin


board, or published in the class newsletter.

What is genre?

Anything from a menu to a wedding invitation, from a newspaper


article to an estate agent's description of a house

Pieces of writing of the same genre share some features, in


terms of layout, level of formality, and language

These features are more fixed in formal genre, for example


letters of complaint and essays, than in more 'creative' writing,
such as poems or descriptions

The more formal genre often feature in examinations, and may


also be relevant to learners' present or future 'real-world' needs,
such as university study or business.

Stages of a Writing Lesson Using the Process Approach: Based on genre

6.14.1

Generating ideas
Focusing ideas
Focus on a model text
Organising ideas
Writing
Peer evaluation
Reviewing

Generating ideas
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Often the first stage of a process approach to writing

Even when producing a piece of writing of a highly conventional


genre, such as a letter of complaint, using learners' own ideas can
make the writing more memorable and meaningful

6.14.2

Before writing a letter of complaint, learners think about a situation


when they have complained about faulty goods or bad service (or
have felt like complaining). They tell a partner about it.

Focussing ideas

Another stage taken from a process approach

Involves thinking about which of the many ideas generated are the
most important or relevant, and perhaps taking a particular point of
view

As part of the essay-writing process, learners, in groups , put the


ideas generated in the previous stage onto a 'mind map'

The teacher then draws a mind-map on the board, using ideas from
the different groups. At this stage the teacher can also introduce
some useful collocations (word combinations i.e. crying shame or
great success) which gives the learners the tools to better
express their own ideas

Sample of a generating-ideas activity:


Teacher gives a theme or situation. Teacher tells learners to
individually write their ideas for about 10 minutes, without stopping
and without worrying about grammar or punctuation.
If they do not know a particular word in English, they can write it in
their L1. Learners then compare what they have written. They are
encouraged to use a dictionary to locate the English words /
phrases which they have written in their L1.

6.14.3

Focus on a model text

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The use of model texts is often prominent in product or genre


approaches to writing. Model texts will help raise learners'
awareness of the conventions of typical texts of different genres in
English.
Sample activity
The teacher gives each group several pieces of writing comprising
of a similar genre. Each group is given a genre analysis form in
which pupils identify the features and language those writing have
in common. This raises their awareness of the features of the
genre and gives them some language 'chunks' they can use in
their own writing later on.
Example
Learners identify the function of different paragraphs in a piece of
writing. For example, in a job application letter, the functions of the
paragraphs might be something like
i)
ii)
iii)
iv)

6.14.4

reason for writing


how I found out about the job
relevant experience, skills and abilities
closing paragraph requesting for an interview

Organising ideas

Using model texts as earlier examples, learners can then progress


to organising their own ideas in a similar way

Based on a given topic / situation, learners come up with a draft


framework of their writing. The framework comprises of main points
and paragraphing. These framework, done either individually or in
groups, can then be pinned up around the room for comments and
comparison.

When preparing to write an essay, learners could combine some of


the ideas from their peers framework into main and supporting
statements.
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6.14.5

6.14.6

6.14.7

Writing

In a pure process approach, the writer goes through several drafts


before producing a final version. In practical terms, this is not
always possible as the teacher is faced with time constraint and
large classes.
Nevertheless, a teacher can work out a drafting session based on
a rotation basis among groups of learners.

The writing itself can be done alone, at home or in class, or


collaboratively in pairs or groups. Those with access to a word
processor can then use it to facilitate the redrafting process.

Peer evaluation

Peer evaluation of writing helps learners to become aware of an


audience other than the teacher. If learners are to write a second
draft, the teacher will ask other learners to comment on what they
liked or did not like about the earlier piece of work, or what they
found unclear. Their comments can then be incorporated into the
second draft.

The teacher can also respond by commenting on the content and


the organisation of ideas. At this stage, there is no final grade
evaluation yet nor correcting of details such as grammar or
spelling.

Reviewing

When writing a final draft, learners should be encouraged to check


the details of grammar and spelling, which may have taken a back
seat to ideas and organisation in the earlier stages.

Instead of correcting learners writing, the teacher uses codes to


help learners correct their own writing and learn from their
mistakes.
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Here is an example of a writing correction code


Code

Use

Example

WW

Wrong word

WT

Wrong time

WF

Wrong form

WO

Wrong order

SP

Spelling

Punctuation

Extra word

Missing word

RW

Re-write

As our plane flew on the mountains, we


saw snow.
As our plane flew over the mountain, we
see snow.
As our plane flew over the mountains,
we were seeing snow.
As our plane over the mountains flew,
we saw snow.
As our plane flue over the moutains, we
saw snow.
As our plane flew over the mountains;
we saw snow.
As our plane flew over to the mountains
we saw snow.
As our plane flew over the mountains,
__saw snow.
Plane flew mountains, snow saw.

Source : http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/code.pdf

Writing correction code


This is a common tool to optimise learning opportunites from
mistakes leaners make in written homework and to encourage
the editing stages of process writing. You show the learners
where the mistakes are and then they try to correct them as a
second stage to the initial writing task.
Procedure
1. Set your writing task. Ask learners to double-space or leave a
clear margin.
2. Collect the work and correct it using the correction code.
Underline the mistakes you want learners to notice and add
the
codes, either underneath or in the margin.
Read more : Writing correction code
http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/activities/writing-correctioncode

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Tutorial Task
1.

Select a genre and plan an outline of a writing lesson using the process
approach. Share the outline with your peers and get feedback from them.

2.

Obtain a sample of a pupils written work. Correct the work using your
own set of correction code. Show your corrections to your peers for
comments.

Reference
Chitravelu, N.et.al. (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti

TOPIC 7 : REMEDIAL AND ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES FOR


DEVELOPING WRITING SKILLS

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7.0 SYNOPSIS
Topic 7 deals with designing remedial and enrichment activities for developing writing
skills.

7.1 LEARNING OUTCOMES


By the end of Topic 7, you will be able to:

design remedial activities for developing writing skills.


design enrichment activities for developing writing skills.

7.2 FRAMEWORK

Activities for Developing Writing Skills

Remedial Activities

7.3

Enrichment Activities

Remedial Activities
Remedial activities are meant to help struggling young learners overcome their
writing difficulties. The instruction for struggling students needs to begin as soon
as difficulties emerge.

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It is much harder to help learners if problems are detected later. Learners needs
are different at various stages in their learning and teachers must develop tasks
to accommodate these needs.
At the lower proficiency level, frequent, short writing activities can help to build
familiarity and develop a useful, productive vocabulary. The variety and length of
tasks can be extended for intermediate level learners, developing more complex
themes and building a repertoire of strategies for effective writing.
Studies have shown that remedial activities when conducted effectively will
produce the desired results of improving learners writing skills. Here is an
example of such a study:

Remedial Writing Programme for Elementary Students


The purpose of this study programme is to determine if students
from the elementary level of Hin Hua High School, Klang,
Malaysia (Chinese Independent School) improved in their ability
to write in English after having studied specifically developed
curriculum. The 7-hour remedial programme is to be conducted
once the academic department releases the final assessment
grades. Fifteen students with the lowest score were selected
using the criterion method to undergo the remedial programme.
the importance of all six major aspects of writing measured in the
English Test which comprises mainly punctuation, grammar and
usage, sentence structure, strategy, organization, and style.
Read more: http://www.ukessays.com/essays/education/remedialwriting-programme-for-elementary-students-educationessay.php#ixzz2FKISEuQL

7.4

Enrichment Activities
Advanced level learners need to develop a greater understanding of genres and
the place of writing in particular discourse communities. They also need to
develop their strategies and establish their own voice in the second language.

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Enrichment activities (or extension activities) are meant to inspire the advanced
level learners to further develop their creative inspiration.
Heres a sample of an enrichment activity

The Shaped Book


This interdisciplinary activity will allow students to write a book and
relate its shape to almost any theme or subject being studied.
The Teacher Page gives preparation instructions and illustrations, as
well as adaptations that can be made for younger students.

The Student Page has a detailed list of materials and procedures.

Make copies of the Student Page.

Distribute them to all students.

Go over the directions with the students.

Read more at : http://www.teachervision.fen.com/childrens-artactivities/book-arts/5622.html#ixzz2FKKfjrE4


For procedures on how to carry out this activity, go to :
http://www.teachervision.fen.com/tv/printables/087628456X_164.pdf

Tutorial Task
1. Identify a common writing problem among our Malayisan lower primary ESL
learners. Design a remedial activity for these learners.

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2. Design an enrichment activity for a Year 6 class.

References
Chitravelu, N.et.at (2005). ELT Methodolology: Principles and Practice. Selangor: Fajar
Bakti
Bartram, M & Walton, R. (1991). Correction: Mistake Management, A Positive Approach,
Language Teaching Publications.(p94).

TSL 3107

Teaching Writing Skills In The Primary ESL Classroom

This module was prepared by the following lecturers at


Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Sultan Abdul Halim,
Sungai Petani, Kedah. Malaysia

Shirley Goh Seok Ai


Corinne Vong Siu Phern
Hjh. Noor Bebe bt Ali Mohamad
Kway Chui Kim
Marsilah bt Mohamad Isa

We welcome comments from users. Your feedback will


help us to improve on this module. Thank you.
Send your comments to : sgohai@yahoo.com

December 2012

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