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TEFL Masterclass – Empowering Your Students for Writing Success

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Exclusive Contents

Steve Derras Tulk – Principal @Stafford House International.

Steve Tulk is an experienced teacher trainer and has held academic management and school management positions in the UK, France and Lebanon.

What you will learn

For many students, writing lessons are their least favourite classes. Yet writing remains an invaluable skill – and an essential part of any English course.

How can we deliver more engaging writing lessons? How can we plan and structure our writing lessons so that our students look forward to them? How can we empower our students to be more successful when writing in English?

This workshop will tackle all of these questions – and more. Join Steve Tulk, our ELT expert – ELT consultant and teacher trainer, as he introduces a framework that can be adapted to all classroom contexts, regardless of student age and CEFR level.

Workshop Summary

Introduction to Empowering English Writing

Steve Tulk, an experienced teacher and trainer in English Language Teaching (ELT), introduces a master class focused on enhancing students’ writing skills in English. He identifies that students often face challenges in writing due to a lack of purpose, direction, and confidence. Tulk emphasises the need to shift from this deficit to empowering students with purposeful, directed, and confident writing practices.

Writing with Purpose

Tulk discusses the importance of aligning writing tasks with real-life applications, such as emails, messages, and cover letters. He notes that students often view traditional writing tasks like ghost stories or haikus as irrelevant to their daily lives. To engage students more effectively, he suggests making writing activities relatable to their real-life contexts and interests. Tulk stresses that understanding the practical value and purpose behind a writing task can significantly increase student engagement and success.

Writing with Direction

The concept of writing with direction involves giving students a clear understanding of their writing tasks. Tulk introduces the ‘product writing approach,’ which uses model texts as a basis for students to analyse and then recreate in similar contexts. This method begins with activating students’ prior knowledge, followed by a comprehensive analysis of a model text, controlled practice for language structures, and finally, writing their version. This structured approach not only provides clear direction but also equips students with practical writing skills.

Writing with Confidence

Addressing the aspect of confidence, Tulk recognizes that many students’ lack of confidence in writing stems from past experiences, fear of judgement, or the permanence of written language. He advocates for a supportive teaching environment where students are encouraged to take risks and learn from mistakes. Key to building confidence is constructive feedback, focusing on positive aspects and limiting criticism to avoid overwhelming students. Tulk also emphasises the importance of ensuring that writing tasks are level-appropriate and adequately scaffolded, using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) as a guideline.

Measuring and Enhancing Confidence

To measure and enhance students’ confidence in writing, Tulk introduces ‘confidence can do statements.’ These allow students to rate their confidence before and after a lesson, offering a clear, visual indication of progress. This method effectively demonstrates to students their growing abilities, further boosting their confidence. Tulk concludes that the combination of purpose, direction, and confidence is key to successful English writing. He asserts that this approach not only improves language skills but also overall learner confidence, leading to more effective and enthusiastic language learning.

Reflective Questions

Have a quick think about the reflective questions below in order to get the most out of the workshop:

  1. Does the product approach to writing work for all levels?
  2. Is it ok to write fun things like poetry and short stories with my class?
  3. What are the key elements of ‘scaffolding’?
  4. How much feedback is too much feedback?
  • Hedge, T (2005). Writing. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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