Teaching Writing Skills
According to Your Students' Needs
A teacher needs to know the techniques for
, and should remember that different levels and
different styles of writing require different methods.
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
Let's take a look at some of the different methods you will need to use.
Beginners and Elementary level Students
At this level, students need a lot of help.
To start with, it is a good idea to provide templates with missing
words for them to complete.
Once they have mastered this challenge, then they can progress to what
is sometimes called "skeleton writing."
An example of this would be where students are asked to write a
postcard from a holiday. They could be provided with the "skeleton" or
outline of the card.
are you doing?)
where you are staying)
are you going home?)
This gives the students the opportunity to concentrate on their English
skills, rather than spending too much time thinking about what to write.
Developing writing skills at higher levels
Once a student gets to a good elementary level, he or she
should be able to write simple letters, stories, and familiar factual
information using simple
, and simple
tenses as a minimum.
The students should then be ready to move onto more complicated texts,
and texts about slightly less familiar subjects.
techniques you could use to develop skills are:
- Introduce a wider range of reading materials
into your classroom.
- Read out the bare outline of a story and
encourage students to add descriptions, adjectives, adverbs, relative
- Introduce collaborative writing tasks.
For example students work in groups to write a story or research and
write an article. Alternatively, the whole class writes a story, with
each pair writing two sentences before passing onto the next pair.
- Encouraging peer correction of work.
- Offering non-specific correction.
For example, telling students where their mistakes are (and the type of
mistake), rather than actually correcting it yourself.
is as much about organization, style, and structure
as it is about grammar
Activities you could use to practice academic
- Looking at the differences between formal,
neutral and informal texts and discussing which ones are acceptable for
- Providing a range of academic essays, cut into
sections, for the students to assemble into logical texts.
- Asking the students to research and write
different styles of academic essays.
For example, a discursive essay, and an opinion essay.
- Giving the students texts containing mistakes,
them to correct them.
One of the main things to be aware of when teaching business writing in
English is that different texts have different styles and formats.
For example, a financial report has a different style than a marketing
letter or an email.
- Provide your students with a variety of texts
so they can see the differences between them, and start discussions on
appropriate versus inappropriate language.
- Give constructive
feedback to your students, in a way that makes them think
about the mistakes, rather than just read corrections.
- Some students will appreciate being given set
phrases that are useful in certain types of business text, and they can
then be asked to work them into their writing.
Don't neglect the other skills
Some students want to improve their written English more than any other
skill, particularly if they are learning for business or academic
But don't neglect the other skills – it is important to improve all
four skills (reading
, writing, speaking
not only concentrating on teaching writing skills.