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Spelling Layout & punctuation

Approaches to student writing

Process & product Genre

Writing lesson sequences

Creative writing
Writing as a cooperative activity Building the writing habit Portfolios, journal, letters Writing for learning and writing for writing The roles of the teacher

It may seem strange to worry about handwriting when so much communication takes place electronically, in emails or by using word processing software. Yet there are still many occasions, even for the most computer-literate, when we have to write by hand.

The reason that spelling is difficult for students of English is that the correspondence between the sound of a word and the way it is spelt is not always obvious.

A single sound (or more correctly, a single phoneme) may have many different spellings (paw, poor, pore, pour, daughter, sean), and the same spelling may have many different sounds (or, word, information, worry, correspond).

Layout and punctuation

Different writing communities obey different punctuation and layout conventions in communications such as letter, reports and publicity


Process and product

When concentrating on the product, we are only interested in the aim of a task and in the end product.

In its simplest form, a process approach asks students to consider the procedure of putting together a good piece of work.

When teachers concentrate on genre, students study texts in the genre in which they are going to be writing before they embark on their own work.

If we want them to write business letters of various kinds, we let them

look at typical models of such letters before starting to compose their own.

Creative writing
The term creative writing suggests imaginative tasks, such as writing poetry, stories, and plays. Such activities have a number of features to recommend them.

Writing as a cooperative activity

Cooperative writing works well whether the focus is on the writing process or, alternatively, on genre study. Cooperative writing is immensely

successful if students are writing on a computer.

Building the writing habit

One way of doing this, of course, is to give them interesting and enjoyable tasks to do. We must make sure, however, that we give them enough information to do what we have asked. We will want to make sure that they have enough of the right kind of language to do the task.

Writingfor-learning and writing-for-writing

Writing-for-learning is the kind of writing we do to help students learn language or to test them on that language. If we are to build the students writing skills (as opposed to building their writing habits or getting them to write for language practice), we will have to use such writing-for-writing tasks as often as is appropriate.

The roles of the teacher

Motivator Resource Feedback provider

Writing lesson sequences

If we want to learn about punctuation, they need to make the connection between the way we speak and the way punctuation reflects this. If students are having trouble with the sequence, we can point out. One of the reasons for this detailed writing sequence is that students are learning how to write successful exam answers.

Portfolios, journals, letters

Portfolios are also used as a way of encouraging students to take pride in their work; by encouraging them to keep example of what they have written, we are encouraging them to write it well and with care.