Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 4 April 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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Teaching Writing Skills

K. R. Vijaya, M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. Candidate


Students associate writing with pain and have been given little opportunity to engage in enjoyable writing. This paper advocates methods which can be used for improving the writing ability of the students. After discussing the difficulties in writing, it explains what type of teacher invention and assessment can be useful. It also provides recommendations to stimulate writing skill among students.

Writing as a Skill

Writing is a skill like driving, swimming, typing or even preparing a good meal. Teachers always command our students to write and grow frustrated when some of our students hesitate, stare outside the window, dawdle over blank paper, give up and say "I can't write", while other students are able to write and give the paper at the end of the period.

The reason for this sort of variation in responses may be that few teachers have ever allowed adequate time for prewriting and have taught the students the strategies for effective writing. One needs to understand the complicated and intertwining processes of perception and conception through language.

First of all, one should not have the attitude that writing is a natural gift. The result of this attitude is that students do not do their best when they write or even hardly try at all. However, some students when they are not successful may have to keep their critical thinking skills to themselves.

For these students, specific instruction is essential. Both students and faculty assume that writing skills need not be taught at all at the undergraduate level. One must not have the tendency to observe the skill of writing from a distance and should get on the field where one can understand the pressures under which the writer operates.

What Really Makes One to Write?

The negative force that the students feel is the resistance to writing. It is because of their poor knowledge in the subject matter. Good writers will be overflowing with information about the subject that they write. They will be interested in specific details, insights, anecdotes, connecting thoughts and references. Sometimes, the subject itself seems to take hold of the writers' experience, turning everything that happens to writer into material. The more a writer knows about the subject, the more he tries to write about the subject. Sometimes, most of all, it is the approaching deadline for submission. Some writers may not be able to finish their work before the deadline. One needs to reconsider one's attitude towards those who delay writing.

Writing as a Language Exercise

Writing is only used as a means of making the students to practice a particular language exercise. Students usually take down the new vocabulary; write answers for reading comprehension and do note-making, developing the hints. It is really doubtful that it teaches them real writing.

There are also certain tasks like essay writing and letter writing where the students can express themselves using their own words. But only a few students are skillful in indulging in such activities. Others really struggle. If the objective of the students is to pass the exam which does not include any extended writing, they never know the value of writing effectively that is a part of long-term education process.

Writing, a Painful Process!

Writing is hard work for everyone. It is really painful to indulge in active thinking that clear writing demands. It is scary to sit down with a blank sheet of paper and know after an hour that one does not have anything worth keeping in the paper. Even T.S. Eliot says that every word is a struggle for a writer. It is upsetting to find how an apparently simple subject often turns out to be complicated, but writing is not an automatic process. It is a skill that can be acquired through practice, hard work and determination.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

The Influence of First Language Grammar (L1) on the English Language (L2) Writing of Tamil School Students: A Case Study from Malaysia | Economic Hardship and Emotional Humiliation in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable | Effects of Using Urdu Dictionary as a Teaching Tool for Teaching Urdu in Urdu Language Classroom in Pakistan | Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Mizo, a Tonal Language | Racism and the American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men | Stimulating Language Strategies through Thinking - Help for Slow Learners | Masses as the True Makers of History - Analysis of the Play The Trial of Dedan Mimathi | Personal and Labour Market Environment Factors in English for Employability: A Case Study of KSA | A Study of the Reported Language Skill Development Strategies of the Student Teachers in Pakistan | Strategies for Communication Skills Development | Schema in Learning | Achieving Professional Goals: Use of a Mixed Discourse in Interviews | The Reality in Langston Hughes' Poems | Techniques to Teach Vocabulary to Regional Medium Students | Life History of Buddha as Reflected in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha | Technique as Voyage of Discovery: A Study of the Techniques in Dante's Paradiso | Some Gaps in the Current Studies of Reading in Second/Foreign Language Learning | Unmasking Student Competence: Using Computers to Teach Writing | Feminist Literary Criticism | Amy Tan and Chinese American Literature | An Acoustic Analysis of Glottal Fricative [h] at Word Medial and Final Positions:
A Comparison between Regular and Non-regular Urdu Speakers of Pakistan
| Teaching Writing Skills | Self-esteem of Institutionalised Elderly Women in Coimbatore - A Case History | An Assessment on Women's Work Participation and Economic Equality | Economics of Crime : A Comparative Analysis of the Socio-Economic Conditions of Convicted Female and Male Criminality in Selected Prisons in Tamil Nadu | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF APRIL 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of April 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

K. R. Vijaya, M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. Candidate
Department of English
Rajalakshmi Engineering College
Chennai 602 105
Tamilnadu, India

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