Breaking the Writing Barrier
Levels: Intermediate to Advanced. Secondary to Adult
Writing Barrier: Introdution
As its subtitle suggests, this
teacher resource book was written with a specific context in mind: adolescent
ESL students in a North American middle or high school. How-ever, virtually all
the activities can be used easily and successfully with adult students in Adult
Basic Education programs or community colleges--and, for that matter, in a wide
variety of contexts.
Although the emphasis is on students for whom
English is a second language or students who have limited proficiency in
English, the activities can very easily be applied to mixed classes where the
students are both second-language learners and native-language learners. The
activities also have been used successfully with classes of native speakers of
As any North American middle or high school teacher knows,
developing the writing skills of teenagers is one of the great challenges of
contemporary education. In an age when students spend much of their language
time in the passive-receptive mode of watching television or surfing the
Internet, writing English is a seriously neglected skill. Even the interactive
opportunities of using email, informal as it is, bring new challenges to the
teaching and learning of effective writing.
The activities in this book
were developed by teachers in a high school in the state of California. Again,
as every teacher knows, every teaching/learning context has its own
requirements, limitations, and advantages, and any collection of techniques and
activities must be modified to fit the specific circumstances. However, these
tech niques and activities can be easily adapted to a wide variety of
teaching/learning situations in North America.
At the same time, writers
around the world, whether in California, Japan, Mexico City, or London, face
similar obstacles and problems in the development of their writing skills.
Teachers of English to speakers of other languages, especially teachers of
adolescents and adults, will find that the collection of activities in this book
easily adapted and applied in the global English-learning community
from Abu Dhabito Zambia.
This book is divided into seven parts. The first
four parts in particular should be sequenced in the order in which they are
presented. In other words, it is recommended that that the teacher proceed in
general from Part One through Part Four, although some mixing of activities in
the first four parts is quite possible.
· Part One is designed to get
students off to a good start and to establish a comfortable, noncompetitive
atmosphere that will foster the development of the more challenging activities
and skills of the following parts.
· Part Two involves the student in
short, non-threatening, and enjoyable activities that will ensure early and
relatively easy feelings of success for the learner.
·Part Three gets students involved in longer projects chat are interesting
and enjoyable and that also result in finshed products the students can be proud
of and share with others.
·Part Four connects the students to writing from the world around them,
ranging from newspapers to poetry, and encourages them to use their writing for
effective self-expression and real communication.
The last three parts all deal with the process of writing. The activities in
these parts can be applied, in general, throughout the sequence of work in the
first four parts.
·Part Five focuses on revising, an absolutely necessary procedure that all
writers must follow in order to develop their power and skill in communicating
with the written word.
· Part Six deals with a challenging issue faced by every language
teacher--the hows, whens, and wheres of correction, and the ensuing interaction
of the teacher and the student for the ultimate goal of change that results in
·Part Seven, finally, is intended as a resource for the teacher to use to
ensure that longer writing projects stay alive and well and arrive at a
Throughout the seven parts, there are more than thirty copyables that can be
freely reproduced and used as handouts.