<b> Forum for elementary education ESL/EFL teachers </b>
4 posts • Page 1 of 1
The district I work in advocates Kid Writing starting in Kindergarten. This means that when the students first start writing, we are to let them make mistakes (as long as it makes phonetic sense i.e. "k" where a "c" should be used), and not worry about punctuation and capitalization. Parents usually freak out in the beginning, but I have found it to have positive results. Because the students aren't so worried about certain rules, it allows them to express themselves, and develop the creative and communicative aspects of their writing. As they go on to upper grades, punctuation etc, is introduced, but not focused. I feel this tactic would be even better for ELLs. They can focus on language and vocabulary in the formative stages of their L2. My mainstream students turn out to be much better writers than were produced when I was in school.
I agree with the method you mentioned on some levels. Kindergarten, and even higher grade students, should be practicing writing skills from an early age, even if they don't know and use all of the rules. They should be taught the rules as it becomes developmentally appropriate. Also, since they are already writing they will have some experience to connect new rules/lessons back to. As I was reading Brown, I was reminded of some practices we can do as teachers and share them with parents to help ease their mind. With ELL students (and other students) teaching writing should include frequent teacher feedback/responses. Some writing pieces are a variety of controlled, guided and self (individual), so parents can be assured that they are receiving help. Writing is a process not solely a product, so even an imperfect piece will be an instructional tool for growth. Sharing that learning to become a writer is a process with many components that we are fully aware of can sometimes help ease a parent's mind.
I agree. I also think that there are many techniques that help students to write sentences; even they do not know many words or do not know how to spell the words. For ELL I think it is for example important to provide a lot of visuals connected to word, e.g. have vocabulary poster in the classroom or have objects accompany words or speech. In addition, it is necessary to demonstrate students how writing works, and how to put their ideas and thoughts into sentences. I especially like Thinking Maps, where they first gather all the ideas or information that they could use to write. Other important strategies are sentence strips or word lists (e.g. conjunctions). So the students have some structure that they can get support if they need it.
I think this is a great idea for ELLs of all levels, and especially agree that graphic organizers and visuals should be provided to the students. I really like this idea because it could provide the Level 1s and those who are a bit less confident in their writing gain that confidence and learn from their mistakes. The most important thing to keep in mind with this for those who might be struggling with their writing is to create an accepting atmosphere where those students would not feel ashamed of their mistakes, and that really goes for any classroom but I think it especially applies to this situation. The opportunity for ELL students to practice their writing in this manner might catch on and be the "next big thing" in ESL classrooms, too!