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The Importance of the Writing Process for Students

Par: Alexandra Coutlée

10 avril 2017

Last week, I had to prepare a letter to parents for an upcoming school trip. After meeting with my colleagues and taking notes on what needed to be included in the letter, I sat down and wrote my first draft. My next step was to read over my letter to make sure I had not forgotten anything and to check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Then, I sent my updated draft to my colleagues who gave me feedback. I made adjustments based on their suggestions and then sent the letter to the parents.

Does this seem like a writing task that you as a teacher might do from time to time? Does the process seem familiar? I needed no reminders of the steps in the writing process: I just did it. After years and years of writing, the process now comes naturally to me. Whether I write a poem or an opinion text, my process is very much the same.

Another example is the recent email I sent to my sister-in-law requesting gift ideas for my three-year-old niece. The process was not as extensive: Write briefly, re-read quickly and hit send. But there was still a process. I thought of what needed to be said, I re-read my email to make sure it was clear and I hit send. Students will use this short process when they simply need to write a short answer to a question, but they will need to use a more involved process similar to the one I applied with my letter to parents when doing a final writing task.

Workbooks such as On Track 3 and Break Away typically present a task and include a checklist. Therefore, students often skip the step of having to create their own checklist. If a task does not include a checklist, it is important to teach students to create one themselves. This can be done as a class by listing requirements of a task on the board and having students write them down. Or, you can teach students to create their own checklist using the correction grid you apply to evaluate the task.

I know why I personally follow a writing process. When I write, I have an objective and I want to make sure I am clear. Pride also plays a significant role. I want to come across as professional and efficient. Students, too, need to have an objective when writing. For sure, their first objective is likely to be to get a good grade, but there should be more than only this involved. Making a task authentic will help to ensure that students feel a sense of pride at submitting a well-edited, clear and interesting text.

Teaching writing process is one thing; motivating students to follow it is another. Making a task authentic ensures that students see the value in applying a writing process. Consider publishing students’ texts on a class blog or actually sending letters of opinion to the newspaper. Students are motivated to develop a sense of pride in their writing when they know someone other than their teacher will read their texts—which makes your teaching of the writing process all the more valuable and important for students.

Tags: blog, process, writing,

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