Effective Writing Instruction in ESL

Writing is an integral part any student's learning. Often students are too concerned with their spelling and that gets in the way of actually producing writing. When ESL students write we are looking for meaning, voice, tone, etc. Spelling and grammar will come with practice and focused mini-lessons. When teaching writing I tend to focus on getting thoughts onto paper. During editing and revising is the time to fix grammar and spelling issues.

When you teach writing in an ESL class or with ESL students you need to think 3 steps ahead. For example, if I want my students to write a paragraph comparing and contrasting McDonalds and Burger King there are a few things that I need to teach before they can successfully write their paragraph. First, I would teach how to use a T-chart to record information. A mini-lesson would be appropriate for teaching how to use a T-chart. With the class on chart paper, fill out the T-chart on the right side write down things about McDonalds and on the left write down things about Burger King. Second, use a Venn Diagram to identify the similarities and differences between the two topics. Lastly, have students write sentences, "McDonalds and Burger King are different because ...". "McDonalds and Burger King are the same because ..."

Now, my students are ready to write. They can take their sentences, add details and their opinion to make a complete paragraph. When we teach we need to think 3 steps ahead (especially in writing) and give our ESL students what they need to succeed in our classroom and in their lives!


Nafis said...

Hi Dear Melissa,

Could you tell me what Voice and Tone mean in writing? Dose It mean how one express his/her ideas or is it the organization of writing?
Thank you for your answer in advance.

Melissa said...

When I say tone and voice I am referring to the way you are expressing yourself. So when I read something that you wrote I can almost "hear" you reading it. Hope this helps.

Judy said...

I have been following your blog for sometime..Thought would drop by and send you flashcards which I have found interesting.