Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

How Can Teachers Develop Students’ Writing Skills?

How Can Teachers Develop Students’ Writing Skills?

Writing skills are indispensable in just about any profession. A Carleton University study found that employees spend almost a third of their office time in reading and answering emails. Work-at-home positions often see people spending half their work time dealing with emails.

Different job roles may also require you to prepare:

  • Reports,
  • Memos,
  • Proposals,
  • Social media posts,
  • Powerpoint presentations, etc.

Software (like Grammarly) may help you write correct English but they cannot help you adjust the strategic approach to win over a client. Excellent writing skills reflect qualities that cannot be mastered by robots, such as:

  • Critical thinking,
  • Creativity,
  • Empathy,
  • Vision,
  • Imagination
  • Strategic thinking.

Sometimes, what you need are real humans to provide personalized teaching. When I was working in SmileTutor as an English tutor, it was eye-opening how teachers can encourage students to work on their writing skills by assigning challenging activities. 

Here are some ideas you can implement to make English writing fun for your students:

5 Minutes of Free Writing Sessions

It’s a psychological technique to overcome procrastination. Do a task you hate for 5 minutes at a time. The teacher should give a random fun word to students who can then write anything about it for five minutes!

This technique is effective on many levels:

  • It creates a buzz in class.
  • It ignites the imagination of students.
  • With personalized and positive feedback, teachers can use it to improve the writing skills of students and help them express themselves in an effective manner.

Writing Prompts

Creative writing prompts can help students stretch their imagination. Some of the fun and easy topics for beginners can be:

  • Write something about a dream that you will never forget?
  • What if you woke up as your favorite animal?
  • Which food or fruit can you eat all your life?
  • What’s your greatest fear? How do you plan to overcome it?
  • What kind of mythical character do you want to be? And why?

Writing prompts inspire as well as challenge students. They help them step out of their comfort zone. Experimenting with different genres and perspectives can help students discover their strengths and weaknesses as a writer.

Guided Story Writing Sessions

Story writing is an excellent way to help students nurture their creative writing skills. You can start by discussing with students about stories they love. You can then go on to ask questions like:

What do you love in your favorite story?

You can read a much-loved story in class and discuss its:

  • Characters,
  • Setting,
  • Main events
  • Writing style.

You can use it as a model to point out how to present a story, how to write dialogues, etc.

Check out an excellent lesson plan for the story writing session!

Peer Editing and Reviewing Sessions

Peer reviewing is a crucial part of academic writing in higher grades. As a teacher, you can introduce the concept in younger graders by dividing your class into groups of three or four. Explain to the students how to critique a draft and share some examples in class. Guidelines for peer-reviewing may include:

  • Write the main point in a single sentence.
  • List the major subtopics of the paper.
  • Determine whether each subtopic is discussed in detail or not.
  • Check whether the opening and closing paragraphs of the paper were appropriate or not.
  • Check whether the sentences flow well.
  • Mention the sections of the paper that seem confusing.
  • Write about your opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of the paper.

While peer-reviewing tasks can be assigned as homework, discussions on these reviews in class are mandatory. Discussing peer reviews in class opens up new opportunities for students to learn from each other’s mistakes.

Personalized Feedback

Regular and positive feedbacks by teachers go a long way in helping students improve their writing skills. Some of the things that teachers should comment about in their feedback are:

  • How clear and meaningful was the main idea of the paper? Was it supported by interesting details?
  • Were the ideas organized logically in the paper?
  • Was the introduction compelling and original? 
  • Did the paper have a proper ending?
  • What was unique about the student’s writing style? What makes it unique?
  • How was the word choice of the student? How can he or she improve it?

The teacher should also comment on the punctuation, spelling, and grammar of the paper. Make sure that the tone of the feedback is positive and encouraging. 

Allow the students to find their own voice by writing more and more and sharing it with you.

The core idea is to encourage students to write. The more they write, the more they will learn to write better. 

Author Bio: Monica a self-driven person and loves to spend her leisure time reading interesting books that come her way. She is passionate about writing and collecting new books. She believes in hard work and it is her persistence that keeps her doing better. She is a perfectionist and doesn’t let go of things that don’t appear perfect to her. She loves traveling whenever she needs time off of her busy schedule. Her favorite holiday destination is Hawaii.

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