Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Techniques that work

Feel free to comment here on the writing techniques you use in class.


  1. Hi, Cleide.

    When I was teaching, I always tried to set up writing assignments that (a) encouraged students to think and (b) involved tasks or topics that were relevant to their own lives.

    One technique that I often employed was to use a visual (photo, drawing, image from the Web) as a prompt. This worked best when the image was visual only (no dialog or background music), when it showed someone or something that everyone could relate to, and when multiple interpretations or reactions were possible for it. I then gave students five or ten minutes to brainstorm (they chose the method—freewriting, mind-mapping, list-making, etc.—and also chose whether to work individually or with one or more classmates). When I called a halt to the brainstorming, each student began to work individually on her/his "composition" in class (completing only one or two sentences was enough) and finished it at home.

    This technique worked well for me, but like all techniques, it worked best if it was one of several techniques that I used, not the only one.

    Dennis in Phoenix

  2. Cleidoca,

    I think rather than talking about the writing techniques I use in class, we should ask ourselves WHY students think they should(n't) write. It's cristal clear to me that students must have a sense of purpose in order to feel they should spare some time to write about something. Their writing must have a purpose rather than simply get a grade. They must have audience, and blogging can certaily help here!