As writing has become an integral part of all subject areas, teachers have assigned more essays across the curriculum. And, as you probably discovered when you read some of those essays, they can be incredibly boring for you to read and equally boring for the student to write. To ensure that writing across the curriculum becomes effective, teachers must work on increasing the impact of essay writing for students.
The first step you can take as a teacher to improve student writing is to provide students with authentic writing tasks. Essay writing is hardly the most authentic writing task as we rarely have times in our lives when we have to write essays. Instead, you should strive to assign writing tasks students will actually do later in their life.
Persuasive letters and emails, Power Point presentations and even blog posts present students with a more authentic writing task and one they could expect to do in the future. These formats also allow for more student innovation in writing styles resulting in more dynamic assignments students will actually want to write.
Real writers see their work as a series of ongoing editing and revision. Even after a final draft is completed and submitted, writers still want to go back and make changes. Teaching students that writing is an ongoing, dynamic process not just something that ends when a paper is turned in will teach them much more about good writing than assignments with definite starts and finishes.
One way you can implement ongoing revision for your students is by conferencing with students, opportunities for peer feedback and allowing students to rewrite papers. You can also share your own writing, writing attempts and ongoing revisions of your professional writing to show students that revision is a large part of writing in the “real world.”
Who says that teachers must always supply the writing prompt? No one, that’s who. Students should have the opportunity to create their own writing prompts based on their unique interests. They can certainly relate those interests back to the essential skill or understanding at the heart of a unit. By allowing students to choose a writing topic based on their interest, you will learn more about your students and receive more engaging essays than if you assign the topic for students.
Writing across the curriculum will continue to play an increasingly more important role in education. Our society, which relies so heavily on written mobile communication, demands that we all increase our writing skills. Making the essay writing experience more dynamic for students will help them attain those writing skills they need for the 21st century.
Categorized as: Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources