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Writing Exercises For Adults
Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:42 am
I am teaching adults in Taiwan and currently have one-hour classes with a whole range of students. For those students who are at an intermediate to high level my school wants to introduce some written activities but I need some ideas for short and easy yet productive exercises that can be run from start to finish in 55 minutes.
Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 8:02 am
Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2004 10:58 am
I am currently teaching university students and middle-school students; in the first case my subject is Writing.
My experience may not fully square with yours, but you may take a hint: I find them to be a wee bit immature, unprepared for the challenges of life. Writing is regarded as a waste of time, yet it's the only thing that is likely to permanently lift their competency in the language!
So, what can I teach them? Surely not what textbooks tell me to do - "creative writing", "Wordmapping", etc...
You may have to teach them the very basics of compo sitions - where to place the title, how to indent, how to begin a paragraph and how to end it; punctuation; pagination (!) and how to make margins...
It's kind of weird to watch them write over a page from one edge to the very edge on the other side... then delete some words, then scrawl something illetible over it, then isert another phrase...
Anyway, try to teach them how to write CONCISELY. Can they transform a biography into a CV?
Another thing that is nice to use: let them complete a story whose beginning you dictate.
My favourite is this:
"The instruction was very clear: As you come out of the station, board a bus no. 214 and travel for 5 stops, then alight and look out for Double Happy Bar. I will be waiting for you there at 10 a.m.
Mytrain arrived on time. I exited the train station, walked over to the buses waiting outside, and boarded a no. 241 bus. I got off at the fifth stop. ..."
If you tellthem to use no more than 50 or 100 words to complete this story, you will be watching quite a bit of head-scratching!
Posted: Fri Apr 09, 2004 2:39 pm
Susan Langor said philosophers thought we used language to communicate, as a way to satisfy basic needs. Maybe language is to make meaning, to understand what our world is like, to make patterns, interpret. It is aligned with art, ritual. You could look at writing as a whole, rethink through linguistics what is important, through philosophy to understand the experience. In writing you are making meaning, creating some new.
Posted: Wed Apr 14, 2004 6:31 am
, that is truly wonderful! I couldn't agree more. I felt really inspired by what you said.
(Uh,...but could you maybe suggest a tip on how I could get my students to see it that way?)
Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 6:14 pm
I have a Writing Day when they can only write to "say" something. I give them sticky notes and let them write them to each other or to other teachers who will be in the classroom later. All is silent except for the scurrying around the class to pass the notes. Anything they write to me, I answer and carry on the conversation, not correcting at all. I just talk to them through the writing. We have big brown envelopes with their names on them on a table at the door and they put their private writing to me in these and I collect them and answer them as often as possible. The "conversations" get quite interesting because they are topics that they bring up. I put in Valentine's, birthday cards, cartoons and so on as appropriate. I try to get them to write for information - they can write to the pop stars on their email sites, to a bank to get brochures (depending on their topic for their portfolios - they have to choose 12 per semester, find info on the internet with pictures and then write something themselves) and of course, we have email pals. I write all the time if I talk in the classroom on the green/blue board. Anything I say, I repeat on the board, sometimes with stick figures to illustrate something and encourage them to draw something they don't know the word for. I often just sit and write letters while waiting for a class just to give them the idea that this is fun and profitable because I get letters back. I always write when they write although I often don't get far as they are interrupting for words and so on, but I think it is a good model for them. I let them read what I have written too and they often correct my work. By the way, when I do write on the board I regularly make mistakes and they just love correcting me. As you said, Larry, about grammar, if you love writing, you can pass that on to your students.
Posted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 4:36 am
I sincerely believe you must be about the most remarkable teacher I have ever had the pleasure of "meeting". I truly would love to meet you face to face someday, if for nothing else, then just to congratulate you on your excellence in your chosen work. You are a genuine inspiration.