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Improving paragraph writing
The activity focuses on mistakes made at paragraph level in a text. I have tried this with my university students and they have found it useful.
- First, ask your students to provide sample paragraphs (introduction, body paragraphs, or conclusion), or choose paragraphs from their last essay that they wrote for the class.
- Second, study these samples carefully and try to give comments on two or three problems within one paragraph.
- Next, design a handout in which there is a copy of the paragraph with a table including two columns, comments and examples. Leave the "examples" column blank. Put your comments for the chosen paragraphs in the comments column. For example, 'Wrong word - register' or 'use a conjunction here' or 'spelling' or 'poor topic sentence'…
- In class give out the handouts and ask students to work in pairs to find examples to support the comments made by the teacher.
This activity aims to help students and trainee teachers to recognise their own problems with paragraph construction and to identify errors, which improves their own re-drafting skills.
It also helps them to practise the (teacher's) skill of giving comments and examples.