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Articles on writing

How do you approach writing in the classroom? Read our writers' ideas and add your own comments.

Class journals

Students often write in their English classes, following a specific genre in order to do so: the informal email; a job application letter, etc. Of course, it is important that they learn this kind of writing (which is usually essential for exam success), but it doesn’t always encourage them to write for the sake of writing, and to get used to writing in a more relaxed and creative way.

Planning a writing lesson

Writing, unlike speaking, is not an ability we acquire naturally, even in our first language - it has to be taught. Unless L2 learners are explicitly taught how to write in the new language, their writing skills are likely to get left behind as their speaking progresses.

Lateral thinking

I like to use this activity to promote recognition and then practise the past continuous. It utilises a well known lateral thinking puzzle.

Comparative plips and plops

I like to use this activity to promote the use of the comparative form. It is a fun guessing game that encourages creativity.

Opinion poll

In this activity students will practice forming questions and explore opinions regarding migration. They will create their own questionnaire and survey classmates, friends and family. The activity is based on themes from the British Council OPENCities project www.opencities.eu

Same as the teacher?

This activity is designed to be used as a vocabulary review or test of existing knowledge of the learners' vocabulary. It generates lots of words and is a lot of fun. The categories can be changed to suit the level and learner.

Creative writing for language learners (and teachers)

Creative writing normally refers to the production of texts which have an aesthetic rather than a purely informative, instrumental or pragmatic purpose.

Milestones in ELT - a series of classic ELT texts from the British Council

As part of the British Council’s 75th anniversary celebrations, a number of publications are being re-launched online, previously only available in print.

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Group secretary

To motivate everyone to take part in a group discussion and listen to each other, I sometimes ask them all to be secretaries and take notes on what they discuss and any opinions people in the groups have or decisions they make.

Lateral thinking

I like to use this activity to promote recognition and then practise the past continuous. It utilises a well known lateral thinking puzzle.

How to approach discursive writing

Since writing is primarily about organising information and communicating meaning, generating ideas is clearly going to be a crucial part of the writing process.

Same as the teacher?

This activity is designed to be used as a vocabulary review or test of existing knowledge of the learners' vocabulary. It generates lots of words and is a lot of fun. The categories can be changed to suit the level and learner.

The perfect teacher

The aims of this activity are for students to revise and practise open question forms.

Opinion poll

In this activity students will practice forming questions and explore opinions regarding migration. They will create their own questionnaire and survey classmates, friends and family. The activity is based on themes from the British Council OPENCities project www.opencities.eu

Improving paragraph writing

This activity can be used with students of English and also trainee teachers. It is a way to make your opinion or discursive essay writing lessons more interesting and learner-centred.

Making writing communicative

Writing, like all other aspects of language, is communicative. Think about what we write in real life. We write e-mails, lists, notes, covering letters, reports, curriculums, assignments, essays perhaps if we study.

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Approaches to process writing

What makes an effective piece of writing? Good writers plan and revise, rearrange and delete text, re-reading and producing multiple drafts before they produce their finished document. This is what a process writing approach is about.

Class journals

Students often write in their English classes, following a specific genre in order to do so: the informal email; a job application letter, etc. Of course, it is important that they learn this kind of writing (which is usually essential for exam success), but it doesn’t always encourage them to write for the sake of writing, and to get used to writing in a more relaxed and creative way.

Comparative plips and plops

I like to use this activity to promote the use of the comparative form. It is a fun guessing game that encourages creativity.

Complete poetry resuscitation

A lot of teachers get the same look - the sigh, the rolling eye, the slump. "We're going to be doing poetry in the next few classes". You cringe through it, they cringe through it.

Creative writing for language learners (and teachers)

Creative writing normally refers to the production of texts which have an aesthetic rather than a purely informative, instrumental or pragmatic purpose.

Encouraging peer response

Some time ago, I wrote an article about different ways of responding to your students' written work. This present article builds on those ideas and gives suggestions for how students can respond to each other's writings.

Group secretary

To motivate everyone to take part in a group discussion and listen to each other, I sometimes ask them all to be secretaries and take notes on what they discuss and any opinions people in the groups have or decisions they make.

How to approach discursive writing

Since writing is primarily about organising information and communicating meaning, generating ideas is clearly going to be a crucial part of the writing process.

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