Why writing shouldn’t be sent home

I know that most of your students hate writing, and I’d also hazard a guess that many of you hate teaching it. As teachers, it can be easy to think that teaching writing is too time consuming (especially if we’re under pressure to finish a hefty coursebook and prepare for the exam as well). Or maybe we think that it gets in the way of the communicative goal of our classes, because silence in the classroom means missed opportunities for practising English. Or just maybe you feel daunted by it – your students aren’t that great at it, they don’t really like it, and you don’t know where to begin.

I suspect that a lot of ELT and ESL teachers feel that writing is a necessary evil. Cambridge say that 400,000 exams are taken annually in Spain and Portugal, which realistically means most of us are preparing students for these tests. Lots of teachers feel that teaching Cambridge gets in the way of teaching students to communicate in English – whilst I certainly think there is scope for the two in a classroom, there is no doubt that exam preparation can add a lot of pressure.

But it doesn’t need to be a slog. Very often, students are clamouring to get the paper that says their new level, and this means that it’s hard to guarantee their success in the test. But it doesn’t need to be a slog.

If we think about the different skills which are tested in a language exam, the two areas which we have the most control over are the productive ones – speaking and writing.

Of all the parts of the test, writing is the one that as a teacher I have the most control over. If a student in a year long preparation course does one piece of writing per week, they’ve completed approximately 30 tasks by the time their exam comes around. With effective teaching, we can give students a lot of confidence about their writing ability in the exam.

The resources in this writing guide have been developed over many years in collaboration with the excellent teachers at English Language Academy in Úbeda, Spain. They are designed to help you teach writing more effectively, and to help you make writing much more accessible and engaging for your students. These materials can help you unlock success for your students in their exams.

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