Writing in private lessons

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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Writing in private lessons

Unread postby nicolesmith » 12 Feb 2013, 14:17

I am currently tutoring a 12 year old girl, of lower intermediate level. I teach her twice a week for 90 minutes, and her mother has asked me to work on her writing skills with her. However, it seems like a poor use of time to sit there while she writes anything, but is there anything I can do other than always set her writing tasks for homework? I have started asking her to write down the answers to exercises we do in class as full sentences and sometimes we do short dictations, but is there any other activity you could suggest that would be useful for us to do? Many thanks! :)

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Re: Writing in private lessons

Unread postby Lucy » 12 Feb 2013, 20:28

Hi Nicole,

You could start by looking at these posts and then write in again if you have further questions.

Can you tell me about process writing?

What is "guided writing"?

Do you have any more tips for process writing?

best of luck!


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Re: Writing in private lessons

Unread postby Charlmoon » 13 Feb 2013, 05:48

Hi Nicole,
I definitely see what you mean - having her write while you just watch is a waste of time and money. However, there's more to writing than just physical writing. You could start teaching the strategies good writers use when they write, like re-reading, re-arranging words in a sentence, drafting, editing, checking your facts against a source, comparing your writing with a model, etc.
I've tutored adults in writing, and what I normally do is set them a writing task for homework. They go away and write it, then we meet the next session. Next session we go over their writing and I ask them things like 'what did you want the reader to learn from this sentence?' 'what feelings do you want the reader to experience as they read this section?' etc. I also narrate what I am thinking as I read it, so for example: 'here, when I read this sentence, I wonder what you mean by 'low-quality', I'd like some examples of that', or 'this part makes me feel sad, was that your intention?'
We also look at different models of writing, for example a set of really good introductions, a really persuasive argument, or an essay with a very clear structure. We look at how the writer achieved those things. Then the student goes away and revises their writing in light of my feedback and what they have learned from looking at other people's writing.
Hope that helps, good luck!
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