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Online Course Management System - FREE. Would you use it?

Started by ddeubel in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Mitchell Lee Feb 12. 7 Replies

I'd like to know how many teachers would use a completely free course management system , if offered here? Meaning, you can create a course there,…Continue

Tags: atutor, technology, online, ecourses, elearning


Started by ddeubel in Websites / links / access to new resources / communities.. Last reply by Nadeem Nawaz Jul 16, 2019. 102 Replies

We are now in our 3rd edition of "Site of the Day"! Hundreds of the best sites for teaching/learning. See #1 and…Continue

Tags: collection, list, web 2.0, resources, websites

ABCs - Alphabet Resources or Ideas?

Started by NEWS NOW in Teaching and Methodology. Last reply by Amelia Meirizka Jun 20, 2019. 73 Replies

I guess the alphabet is our bread and butter.Got any good ideas for teaching it or using it…Continue

Tags: children, abc, kids, phonics, reading

Learning Designs

Started by Elise in Teaching and Methodology Mar 27, 2019. 0 Replies

I was wondering what you all thought of learning designs pertaining to English language teaching? What are the ways in which you design your lessons to achieve better learning in your students?Continue


The Writing Process Vs The Writing Product

During my own teacher training and in my professional development throughout the years, whenever "writing" as a skill comes up -- inevitably all the talk is about "The Writing Process".

While I do believe in some ESL settings and in many L1 classrooms, the writing process is a great, whole language approach towards building student writing ability --- I find it oversold and not that effective in the EFL environment. My experience in the classroom has taught me that what students really need most is "The Writing Product".

Find below a powerpoint outlining the Writing process - basically, the steps a teacher takes the students through to produce a final product. Prewriting / Drafting / Editing / Publishing.

However, I insist that there are many inherent weaknesses to this "one size fits all model" and that to increase student writing ability, we don't necessarily have to jump through all these hoops and sawhorses. What we do need to do is get students writing TO someone/somebody. Real writing with a purpose that includes a final product (but not necessarily like the Writing Process, a finished product - as Valery quipped regarding poetry but which is an apt caution for all writing - "a poem is never finished, merely abandoned.").

Don't fall into the writing process rut! Get your students writing - in any way, any form (but English of course!) so long as it is writing that is directed towards creating a product that will communicate something to someone else. I outline in the presentation many of the weaknesses of the Writing Process approach for EFL and here they are in brief.

1) Time -- EFL instructors don't see their students that often usually. There isn't the time (or space in many cases) for this approach.

2) Loss of student interest - this follows from point #1 but also when working with young learners, they just don't have the patience in many cases to keep "pondering" a piece of writing.

3) Not Suited to some personalities - this follows from point #2. Some students aren't "reflective" types. They aren't going to be creative writers or professional writers of any sort in even their L1.

4) Students need to be taught it. Yes, that's right. We have to teach them the stages, model and spend time overtly drilling them on these steps when the time could be better used doing what we are in the classroom for - yes, you guessed it , WRITING.

5) It restricts spontaneity and the range of writing activities. There are a whole range of writing activities that get left aside when we focus on only those writing forms that ideally suit the Writing Process approach. Why can't you spend time on having students write notes or emails to each other? What about shopping lists and graffiti?

That said, I'm not calling for teachers to stop using this approach. I'm just being pragamatic and asking that it not be something we always reach for or that administrators ask for (I know I always was - that's the first thing they look for when looking over your long range plans). Hopefully, I'll get the time and pursue this topic further with a full article but just wanted to get teachers thinking about PRODUCT and PRIDE and not getting bogged down in just the PROCESS.

Downloads: 75

Comment by Ellen Pham on October 12, 2009 at 1:03pm
I just started thinking about this a few weeks ago, David. It seems we learn how to write in our first language... when is it appropriate/useful to give writing instruction in the L2 classroom? What types of writing curriculum are useful in this environment?

I've been waiting until I 'got my act together', ie gathered some resources, to reply to this post. But that hasn't happened yet, so I figured I'd just jot down a note as a kind of place holder... I would love to have an in-depth discussion with other teacher's about writing in the classroom.

I do agree that "the writing process" can really bog down a youngster and produce some awfully boring writing! In the L1 classroom, it's important to complete a finished and polished product a few times a year, but even then, most writing needs to be much more down and dirty than that to develop fluency.

I'm also wondering what the role of poetry is in the L2 classroom. With the right approach, poetry makes a wonderful study in the L1 classroom, both for reading and original writing, but does it work the same in the EFL classroom?

Another thing I wonder... do students ever try to translate a favorite poem from their first language into English? Translating is an art and from my experience trying it with Chuck, a wonderfully, if also frustrating, creative process that brings all our sensitivity to bear on language... constructivist learning...but is it useful in the L2 environment?

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