Writing, along with speaking, is a productive skill that has always been a challenge for our students. The writing process is creative and students have the opportunity to express themselves at the maximum of their personalities, letting their imagination run free, taking risks and even going beyond what has been taught.
It has also another important role because it practices and reinforces grammar and vocabulary and helps students to think and learn. Writing new words and structures helps students to remember them.
In order to help students write efficiently, they have to be encouraged and clearly explained the subject they are going to write about. The teacher should give students some tips about the topic by asking students different helpful questions in order to develop their ideas. It is wrong to put a title on the blackboard and tell students: Write! It is always better to begin with paragraphs first and then, gradually, to start writing more complex compositions like letters, essays or articles.
Another important thing in writing efficiently is the process of writing which consists of three stages: preparing to write, drafting and revising. When we prepare our students for writing, we can use a very efficient method, in my opinion, called brainstorming which means that students write down very quickly any ideas connected to the subject without worrying about neatness and correctness. This represents the beginning in which students gather ideas to be developed later in their compositions.
In the second stage, drafting, students start to develop the ideas presented in the first stage without paying attention to spelling, grammar or punctuation because these will be revised in the last stage. At this point students are told to check their content and organize the structure of the composition.
Some students are afraid to read their compositions out loud in front of their classmates because some may have bad remarks, that is why I think that we should always try to appreciate the effort our students make in order to create something and congratulate them every time they do it.
Before writing complex compositions, teachers must insist on doing some exercises in order to prepare students for this challenge. I, personally, use exercises like : put the sentences in order to make a paragraph, use the connectors to join different ideas, answer to some questions, find the topic of a paragraph, continue the sentences and so on.
I strongly believe that reading is an efficient way to improve writing because when students read they collect different ideas and styles that they integrate in their writing. The teacher can suggest them to read different stories, articles in order to find some information, write a summary or start reading an essay using the ideas presented there.
The most important thing in order to improve our students’ writing abilities is to promote practice: practicing writing in general and practicing a specific area where they need to improve. In this way we can ask our students to keep diaries in English, where they can write every day about anything they want, expressing their ideas and feelings, to make different projects which are always fun for them, especially if they work in groups and, also, the teacher should ask each student to create his/her portofolio which contains their work, projects, test papers so, in this way, they can assess themselves, noticing the progress they have made so far.
Another important thing in writing is choosing the topic. I noticed that most students are embarrassed to write about personal things like family or friends so I always start with asking them to write about neutral topics like descriptions of the nature, to bring for and against arguments, write e-mails and letters.
In conclusion, it is my considerate opinion that writing is a very important skill that we have to develop with our students starting firstly as a game and gradually becoming more and more serious, preparing them for exams and future jobs. Teachers should always keep in mind that they have to cultivate positive attitudes, to remind students that everyone has things worth saying and these ideas deserve to be well expressed on paper.