How to Help Students Fall in Love With Academic Writing
That's the pain in the neck of every teacher:
Most students dislike writing assignments. More than that, they try to avoid such tasks by all manner of means. You assign essays to help students organize thoughts and develop critical thinking, but their skepticism and frustration make it harder to teach writing to them.
Good news is, you can help students fall in love with writing. Consider the below tricks to motivate and encourage them to learn and improve writing skills.
Let Them Choose a Topic
Sometimes students don't want to write an essay because they simply have no idea what to write about the assigned topic. Provide them with several options to choose, or let students decide on the topic themselves. When writing about what they like and know, students won't consider such assignments the worst torture of academia.
Practice Different Types of Writing With Them
Essays and reports are significant for academic intelligence, but they are the most boring ones for your students. Keep options open by practicing different types of writings to get them interested and help them find a voice. Poems, songs, personal essays, texts for commercials, short stories – not all of them are popular with all students, but the more options you provide, the more likely they will find a form of writing to enjoy.
Why not turn your students' Internet addiction into productive activity that would make them love writing tasks? Gen Z can't live without gadget, apps, and social media today, so blogging in a classroom could enhance their writing skills. Use it as an instrument to increase students' level of engagement, develop their computer skills, and give an opportunity to build online portfolios that could be a plus to their future resumes.
Medium or Tumblr are digital platforms you can recommend students to try for blogging. Follow their accounts to check writings, comment on them, and discuss in a classroom to encourage others to subscribe. A social media component of blogging will motivate students to write better.
Create Writing Contests
Encourage students to write by hosting different contests throughout the year. It might be a contest for the best essay idea, story characters that are without equal, the most improved report, etc.
Also, try organizing speed writing competitions with the help of corresponding resources such as Written? Kitten, Typisto, or 750 Words. Make sure the prizes are motivational enough for students to enter the contest and do their best writing work. As far as you understand, a pizza party looks far more lucrative than a package of pencils.
Make Them Authorities
Allow your students to edit peers' writings. First, it will motivate them to learn spelling and grammar rules, as well as proper construction for different writing types. Second, they will know how to identify weaknesses in their essays and how to improve their writing ideas. And third, this tactic encourages to write better because no one wants to be ashamed by peers for grammar mistakes, right?
Assign Group Writings
For some students, it's intimidating to write an essay from start to finish while working on a single part of the project might be more accessible. Encourage group work by assigning one paper to several students: collaborative tasks are often more creative as they have less pressure, making it easier to focus on the small part of the project and get inspiration from peers.
Give Them a List of Writing Prompts
Practice daily writing sessions with your students to make it easier for them to start more serious tasks. Melinda Crean from Top Notch Teaching shares 31 ideas you can use to inspire students to write. Here go several to consider:
- Are you happy today, why?
- If I were a dragon...
- Write a story about a blue giraffe
- Write about someone whose hair is orange, green and pink.
- Cleaning my room is...
Activities like freewriting or mind mapping could help your students develop creativity and organize their ideas in writing. Also, you might want to teach them graphic organizers and how to use a visual presentation of information in their works.
Academic writing is not so awful and hard as students paint it. As a teacher, you can help them understand and fall in love with it.
Lesley Vos is a language teacher for high school students. She shares her experience by writing for publications on college life, career, and self-development. Feel free to connect with Lesley on Twitter or drop her a line on Facebook.