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Models and samples as a resource for writing
by Greg Gobel
- 7

Lesson Rationale

In general

These learners have taken the FCE and are therefore familiar with typical ECE writing tasks, sonic of which cross over into The CAL. However, writing information sheets and leaflets is a possible CAE task that is not in the FCE. Therefore, I feel it is important to focus on this genre early in the course to have time throughout the course to come back several times and for learners to develop high levels of confidence, comfort and skill.

While researching using models for the background assignment, I discovered the Process/Genre approach to teaching and learning writing. This approach has advantages I would• like to exploit in this lesson. It is mther inclusive, giving importance to genre~-process, and even products. Because this is an exam-focused course, focusing on all three is important — genre because learners quickly need to recognize and produce various types of writing for the exam; process because throughout the course we will have time to develop planning, structuring, drafting, editing, and evaluating skills needed for effective writing; product because ultimately the learners will have 90 minutes to write two effective products under pressurized exam conditions. This approach allows for immediate, long-term and changing learner needs.

Specific stages

Stage I incorporates video to activate schemata and elicit learners’ abilities at assessing what is culturally relevant acceptable and possibly offensive. The visual and auditory nature of video should engage most learners.

- Stage 2 is a personalized speaking activity. Even though the lesson’s main focus is writing, learners still need opportunities to practice free speaking and develop fluency.

Stage 3 introduces the information sheetlleaflet task in a broad way focusing on types of infotmation to include. The learners work in pairs to prompt more learner interaction and speaking.

I believe it is important early in a course to develop good habits regarding planning for writing tasks. Many learners start writing without carefully considering effective strategies or planning and re-thinking possibilitics. The following stages focus on developing good planning habits.

Stage 4 exploits an ‘X-ed out’ model and guided questions so learners have a self-discovery opportunity in analyzing a possible layout for this genre.

Stage 5 focuses learners on catchy titles, sub-sections, style of writing and appropriate language. Learners use an extract from the teacher’s book to compare their ideas thus letting them in on our secrets and developing learner autonomy.

Stage 6 introduces mind-mapping as a possible planning and organizing strategy. In case learners have not seen mind maps before, they discuss a model of one that I used in writing information sheet models (in stage 7).

Stage 7 exploits comparing two model information sheets for noticing appropriate and inappropriate language and to reinforce how planning ideas transform into coherent and cohesive text.

Strage 8 encourages learners to plan before they write. Learners are encouraged to use on the necessary amount of detail and to help each other brainstorm ideas. This way, when they leave class, they will have a possible plan to help them write their draft.

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