English Writing for the ESL Student
One of the best ways to teach English grammar, spelling and other essential skills is by teaching students proper English writing techniques.
Grammar is one of those controversial subjects for teachers in the ESL classroom. The adult learner seems to feel more comfortable learning grammar rules in isolation, while the younger student may prefer to simply absorb them through the lesson material. Regardless of learning style, most students expect to learn grammar, along with English vocabulary, idioms, spelling and other compulsory topics.
For the English teacher, the dilemma is how to teach it, and how much grammar to teach. Some teachers love teaching grammar, and rely on it for a huge chunk of class time in their lesson plans. Others are less enthusiastic about teaching grammar, and concentrate on speaking, reading and writing in their lessons.
One way to approach the topic is through teaching grammar in use – going beyond drills and exercises to teach students English grammar in a way that is more natural and useful for their daily lives. If a student wants more in the way of drills, there is a wealth of online grammar activities to choose from.
However, the study of English is about more than just grammar. One often encounters students who have studied English for years in their native countries and cannot speak the language at a basic conversational level, yet are capable of making highly detailed distinctions on minor, esoteric grammar points.
To study English properly, a student should develop a broad set of skills which allow him or her to master the technical aspects of the language, while developing fluency, accuracy and a comfortable familiarity with the language which will allow him to communicate on a natural level.
One way to combine grammar and spelling skills with natural familiarity and fluency is by learning how to write well in English. In today’s world, good writing skills are an absolute necessity, in school, in the workplace and in performing simple, day to day tasks.
One good exercise for students is letter writing. Students can write letters to their friends and family in their home countries, detailing their experiences interacting with their new surroundings and comparing them to those back home. Another good writing exercise is to keep a personal diary.
By practicing writing skills on a regular basis, supplemented by an interactive editing process, students can become capable communicators, while mastering the technical aspects of the language at the same time.