Help Students Become Confident Writers
Edited by Florence I. Edim, Eng, Graeme
Teaching students to become professional literate is a big accomplishment on the part of the teacher. Professional literate means that they have the ability to express (expression) their intentions in writing and at the same time readers can comprehend (comprehension) whatever message that they wanted to convey. Expressions and comprehensions are both important components of effective academic writing to become confident writers. Here are some strategies that you can execute in your writing class:
- 1Tell the students to prepare individual Writing Journals. This is an 8 and ½ x 11 notebook where they can write their drafts before encoding. It is important that students use handwriting in their drafts because in honing the skills of writing, the process is more important than the product. Writing drafts in notebooks is also an effective strategy to avoid copy and paste from the internet sources. Writing their drafts in notebooks will also help the students improve their handwriting. When students write their drafts they are using combinations of senses, the kinesthetic or the touch, their sense of sight, and their mind for comprehension. Using their own handwriting is an active learning activity. It will help the students introspect or dig into their storehouse of knowledge before they write original works. Journal writing will also record their progress as writer. Because as they continue on revising their drafts they are discovering improvements in their works. This method will build their confidence in progress.Advertisement
- 2Develop the Strategy of Process Writing. The Process Writing remove writing blocks and at the same time focuses on attaining expression and comprehension. Because when a student is doing process writing he is sensitive of the clarity of his message to the target audience. The student will continue on revising until the message is clearly understood by the target reader.Advertisement
- 3You also need to write your feedback as a teacher to their journals. Writing your effective feedback in writing should be constructive and positive. You may use green ink instead of red. Students lose confidence if they see a lot of red marks in their papers. Green pen looks more hopeful than red inks. It is also an effective strategy to make the learning experience more personalized. When you write feedback aside from focusing on their mistakes or areas of improvement you can also focus on their strength as a writer.
- 4Let the students write to an authentic target reader. In this way, once they receive good response from their target readers they are getting enough motivation and confidence. You are accomplishing the comprehension part of their learning outcomes. For example, let them write an open letter to the editor of a newspaper or a Human Resource Officer in one company. If they get response it boosts their confidence as writers.
- 5Allow other students to edit the works of their classmates. This not only promotes collaborative learning but at the same time improve their editing skills. Writers are not working alone; they have to seek the help of other writers and be connected to gain confidence.
- 6Clarify your rubrics or criteria for judging in your entire writing task. This area will help them to become flexible and controlled writers based from the target scope and readers. They will only work on the parameters set by your own criteria for judging.
- 7You also need to write your feedback as a teacher to their journals. Writing your effective feedback in writing should be constructive and positive. You may use green ink instead of red. Students lose confidence if they see a lot of red marks in their papers. Green pen looks more hopeful than red inks.
- 8Let the students write to an authentic target reader. In this way, if they good response from their target readers they are getting enough motivation and confidence that their writing effectively delivers message across disciplines. For example, let them write an open letter to the editor of a newspaper or a Human Resource Officer in one company. If they get response it boosts their confidence as writers.
- 9Allow other students to edit the works of their classmates. This editing strategy will not only promote collaborative learning but at the same time improve their skills in diction or choice of words. Writers are not working alone; they have to seek the help of other writers and be connected to gain confidence.
- 10Clarify your rubrics or criteria for judging in your entire writing task. This area will help them to become flexible and controlled writers. They will also learn to be focused on the needed substance of their writing outputs.
Strategy to Build Vocabulary To Enhance Confident Writers
Encourage the students to add as many vocabulary as they can from the reading materials of their own future professions or disciplines. By the end of the semester, once they memorized 100 unfamiliar words then these 100 words shall be added to their vocabulary bank. This will add confidence to them as they write because they will save themselves from running out of words to use in their writing projects.
- 1Vocabulary is enhanced through reading comprehension. So assign students to read articles related to their field of specialization.Advertisement
- 2Once they encounter words which are unfamiliar to them; they have to record those words in their Journal of Unfamiliar Words.
- 3Then they have to copy the sentence or the context where they got the unfamiliar word.
- 4Then they have to attempt to define the word based on how it was used. It is called context clues.
- 5Next, they have to check the meaning from the dictionary. It does not matter if their contextual meaning or their own definition is different from the dictionary meaning. However, if they formulated the meaning that is the same as that of the dictionary then they understood the context clues better. This will add to their confidence level as a reader.
- 6Do not forget to remind the students to write or acknowledge their own source.
- 7Finally, they will make their own sentence using the word.
The entry in their Journal of Unfamiliar Words will look like this:
WORD repondez s'il vous plait (RSVP) CONTEXT The invitation indicates repondez s'il vous plait to this number (02) 7132345 or notify Amy. CONTEXTUAL MEANING response to invitation DICTIONARY MEANING response if you please OWN SENTENCE Repondez s'il vous plait to the host of the wedding invitation to count the number of attendees. SOURCE Invitation Highlights Magazine Vol 5. 2013
THIS IS HOW TO EXECUTE PROCESS WRITING IN YOUR CLASS
Process writing involves three stages. The first stage is pre-writing, the second stage is fast writing, and the last stage is post writing. This approach in writing not only develops comprehensive strategy to achieve expression and comprehension. It also incorporates avenues to target other skills such as speaking and listening.
- 1Remind the Students NOT to write sentences at first. When a writer writes full connected sentences until he finished one paragraph he will lose control of the unity and coherence of the sentences. It is also difficult to move or sequence sentences to make them fully connected. So editing is a problem if the writer begins writing sentences.
- 2Allow students to introspect. Once you assign the topic to the students give them a moment to dig into their storehouse of knowledge. Remember that their ideas are represented by words and phrases not by sentences.
- 3Let the students generate ideas by listing down words or phrases- Let them carry out their journals and remind them to list down ideas which are represented by words and phrases. Just like when they are listing down items for grocery. Allow them to generate as many ideas as they can from their introspection. You can also extend this activity in group work. Let them form a group and discuss among themselves ideas from the topic. Then, if they learn anything from their group mates they can add to their list as well. In this way you are building their collective introspection or brain storming ability. At the same time you are also targeting their speaking and listening ability which are important components in showcasing confidence to say their insights as writers.
- 4Teach the students to focus on the main idea as a guide in selecting other ideas. Tell the students to go over their list of ideas and then let them focus on the most important idea or what they call main idea. They can encircle their most important idea and then erase ideas which are not related to their main idea. In this way they are removing ideas which are not related to the main idea before they make sentences.
- 5Tell the students to sequence their ideas to achieve unity and coherence. They can use three strategies in sequencing. The first strategy is what we just numbering. They will just sequence the words or phrases in their list in the order of their importance. If they wanted to be more structured, they can use outlining. This is where they use numeric or alphanumeric sequencing of ideas according to the mode of development that they wanted to execute. They can choose among the mode of narration, description, argumentation, comparison and contrast, exposition or even persuasion. They can also use the third technique which is mind mapping. They connect ideas using web details and arrows to determine the connection of one idea to the other.
Now, they are ready to write. The goal of fast writing literally means "writing as fast as they can" without thinking of errors in grammar or rhetoric" They can use the sequencing of ideas as guide to make full connected sentences until they form their composition. If they cannot find the appropriate term they can write in vernacular or they can invent words. As long as they are not distracted in making their first draft.
This stage of the writing process involves editing. They can edit or revised their drafts by checking on the grammar first, then the mechanics. Once they finished they can now begin editing the rhetoric or the art of expressions. They can change some words or revised some sentences to create impact and clarity.