Teaching EFL Writing
When we teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL), our main goal is to make our students communicate with other people, to have them understand what the other people say, to talk to them, to read and comprehend what they have written and to write to them.
People often communicate through writing. This makes it necessary for the EFL learners to learn how to write. Writing helps students learn English fast. How? When students write, students learn to follow the rules of convention, allowing them to express themselves.
We teach writing to EFL kids due to the following reasons:
- to have them communicate with a reader
- to allow them express feelings when the person they want to talk to is not in front of them
- to be able to narrate and record experiences
- to become familiar with English conventions
After teaching our students how to write, we need to assess them. Our writing assignments must be based on what we have taught, grammatical features studied, or vocabulary words that have been learned. For example, if our recent lesson in class is about verbs in past tense, give kids a writing prompt such as The Things I Did Last Christmas. Also, if the lesson for the day taught them new words, have students use the words as they write sentences or paragraphs.
Writing Skills at Different Proficiency Levels
Teachers assess different skills at different levels. We should have a different writing rubric for each proficiency level. Here are the skills we must consider per student level:
- Student develops vocabulary.
- Student learns simple sentence structures.
- Student learns simple verb tenses
- Student learns to write compound sentences and starts to write a three-paragraph essay with introduction, body and conclusion.
- Student learns other parts of speech such as adjectives and begins to write descriptive paragraphs.
- Student has a good grasp of vocabulary.
- Student applies knowledge of form in three-to-five paragraph essays.
- Student begins to write persuasive writing.
Ideas for Writing Assessment
We want our students to enjoy writing, be proud of their work and learn. When giving writing assessments, it then becomes important to note that our goal is to strengthen our students’ confidence in creative self-expression. With good writing prompts and tasks, kids will develop more confidence; thus they can enthusiastically respond with the lesson. Here are some assessments you may apply in your class:
- Guided Writing
Provide a start or guide for the writing assignment. Have your students write sentences, paragraphs or stories based on the story starter you have provided. This eliminates anxiety of students not knowing what to write about. Download a guided writing sample assessment for beginners executed in PowerPoint by clicking on the link.
- Letter Writing
Have your students write letters to the characters they have read about or write letters to their friends. Incorporate your grammar lessons as they write by having them check their subject-verb agreement and tenses. This is fun and easy to do!
- Writing Directions
To have your kids use words such as: first, next, then and finally, have them write cooking directions.
Keeping a journal is an important part of the writing process. With journals, kids are able to express personal thoughts that are important in their lives. Keep in mind that you do not look for grammatical mistakes and errors in organization for journals, unlike paragraph writing. With journals, teachers look for students’ efforts. However, if students fail to write, tell them that it will be deducted from their participation mark.