It might not be a popular opinion, but as I read more about TEFL it seems to me that there is a kind of ‘Go easy on them’ attitude permeating classrooms around the world. It’s all about making learning fun, engaging and simple. Let’s put an end to that.
Learning should be fun, certainly, and your style of teaching should be easily understood (not to be mistaken for simple), but the students are there to study a foreign language – that takes a lot of hard work. I previously wrote about the importance of grammar, which I think is necessary, but often taught badly. Now I’m telling you to get them writing.
Why we should write
Many scholars argue that writing is one of the foremost ways to encourage learning and to aid memorization. I’m not a scholar so I wouldn’t know, but I do know that writing tasks get your students thinking. It will help your students to make long sentences, analyze and improve word order and other grammatical functions, and help them to use their own minds – to think in English.
For example, I recently had a class where the task was to write a short speech. Plenty of time was needed for the learners to create their discourses, but the results were outstanding. Also, the fact that it was a speech (on a topic of their choice, I might add) gave them opportunity to read out their text in front of the class.
Writing can be used in other ways. Get your students to make notes, at the very least, on what your teaching. This could include things like new words, ideas, or phrases, or even memory aids.
The benefits, then, of good, old-fashioned writing are:
- Improves spelling
- Improves handwriting
- Chance to formulate long sentences
- Improves grammar
- Makes things more memorable
- Writing can be referred to later on
Anything to add? Let me know!