Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Writing Curriculum

by AJ

Writing instruction is ideally suited to the internet. Its easy to exchange texts, edits, and notes... and all this can now be done very quickly.

With my private (internet) writing students, I generally use the following approach:

1. The student writes something. I like the student to choose the topic, normally.. though Ill assign one if they want me to. The kind of writing really depends on the goals of the student. If they aim to improve their business writing, Ill suggest formal letters and other business like topics. If they are aiming for academic writing, I usually suggest essays.

2. The student sends their completed draft to me... usually via email.

3. I re-write the piece using standard, concise, clear English. I try to follow a journalistic approach-- emphasizing clear meaning and good organization. Of course, I aim to preserve as much of the student's original writing as possible... and all of their intended meaning.

4. Once I finish my rewrite, I record myself reading it at a moderate rate of speech. I convert this into an MP3 audio file.

5. I then email the original draft, my rewrite, and the audio version of my rewrite to the student.

6. I ask them to review their original and my rewrite every day for a short time.... comparing the two. I ask them to try to understand why I made the changes I made. I also ask them to highlight new phrases (for them) that are in the rewrite... and review them daily.

7. Students then listen to the audio file of the rewrite every day... as much as possible. The purpose of this is to help them get a feel for the phrasing, flow, and word choices of more formal (ie. written) English. The MP3 also allows them to absorb the language as they walk, sit in a bus, ride in a car, etc...

8. At the end of a week (or whatever time period), the student submits another piece of writing, and the process is repeated.

San Francisco, CA