Discover New Resources to Teach Students
How to Write Well in a Foreign Language
By Enrique Rojas R.
There is always been the feeling that teachers are not being very successful in instructing students to write properly and effectively even in their own language, let alone in a foreign one. Naturally. It did not come as a surprise when Steve Graham and Dolores Perin, after a careful study, concluded that some of the methods used in teaching writing were more effective than others. Now technology has revolutionized teaching in many ways. What does it have to offer in the instruction of foreign language writing?
One of the most important points is that technology can be the magic wand to turn slothful, apathetic greenhorns into eager and motivated writers. One of the reasons learners are not very willing to make the effort to produce written materials is the usefulness of the endeavor. They know that only the teacher (and then hopefully) will come in contact with the product of their work and perhaps translate it into a grade and that will be the end of it. A very different story would be if they knew their work was going to be published and read by other people. Then they could be really proud of the work they have done.
Up to a few years ago, the only chance of giving that written work some form of life was posting it on a bulletin board within the classroom or, in the best of cases, on the hallway, where it could be seen –and perhaps read— by other students. Now, with technology the possibilities of having those pieces of writing published for other people to read are very real. Now writing can be done for a reason, to serve a real purpose, to express opinions, to communicate an issue, to draw attention to a particular concern.
One way to do that is through a school website or blog. Also there are sights that offer different options. For instance Google Drive and Zoho Writer allows the teacher to turn a writing assignment into a webpage and Yudu and Issuu lets convert them into a newsletter or e-book.
There are also programs that teach students how to write and aid teachers in the arduous task of grading papers. TeachThought, an international organization and platform that seeks to support the implementation of innovative learning, advises us: “Increasingly complex and comprehensive programs are available to help students fix errors in their writing, and can offer feedback during the writing process, when it matters most… While programs like these are still evolving, they will undoubtedly become a go-to tool to help educators teach students writing in the coming decades.” An additional advantage is that students can take advantage of the feedback to make changes before handing in a paper, thus gaining in guidance and sense of achievement. Countless people learn all kinds of things through tutorials and there are also many to help students learn grammar in an easier way. Grammar is the basis for good writing. And new software is coming out that can help students as they write, “addressing grammar issues as they happen.” Another type of software can help teachers to keep an eye on students’ progress, or lack of it.
Perhaps better known is Google Drive, a file storage and synchronization service created by Google, which permits students to work together on a project or to provide each other feedback that can be exceedingly beneficial in the writing process. Another point is that students may learn to write fluently using a keyboard instead of pen and paper, which is what they will probably have to do often in their professional lives. Teachers can find themselves many other ways to use technology to enhance their teaching writing and make it into a much more agreeable task for the learners.
Effective methods for teaching writing. Published on 15 April 2009 in News, Research, Secondary and Written Expression. 2 CommentsTags: meta-analysis, writing.
10 Ideas For Using Technology To Teach Writing. teachthought. http://www.teachthought.com/uncategorized/10-ideas-for-using-technology-to-teach-writing/ Retrieved Jan 23, 2017.
Graduated in Journalism at the PUCP, Peru, Enrique Rojas R. holds a M.A. in Journalism and a MA in Inter American History from Southern Illinois University, USA; an M.A. in Literature from University of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico, all the coursework for a MA in TEFL at Universidad de Piura, Peru and B.A. in Education from Universidad Federico Villarreal. He has also obtained Certificates of Proficiency in English both from Cambridge University and the University of Michigan and the Diploma for EFL Teachers from Universidad del Pacifico. He is an Oral Examiner for the Cambridge University exams and has been awarded the title Expert in E-Learning from Asociacion Educativa del Mediterraneo and Universidad Marcelino Champagnat. He has worked as a professor in universities in Peru, Mexico and the United States; as a newscaster and a producer in radio and television stations in the United States and Mexico, and as a writer and editor in daily newspapers of the same countries. He has been in the staff of CIDUP for 18 years teaching English and Spanish specializing in International Exams, English for Business, ESP and Teacher Training. He is a member of the Research Area of Centro de Idiomas de la UP.