Unless exam preparation is involved, both teachers and students tend to shun writing as for the former it means extra time spent marking and for the latter it’s hardly as exciting as watching a cool video or doing fun, communicative activities in class. However, writing is a very important skill and should be turned into a regular affair in every classroom. Here’s why.
Writing is an important skill to practise because:
it is a productive skill that incorporates within itself many skills and tests the students ability to use in unison vocabulary, grammar, register, punctuation, spelling and format
it gives the teacher a clear picture of the students accuracy
it allows the students to reflect on their abilities
it equipes the students with an ability they can use in real life – we write in English more than ever before due to possibilities of the internet: we write reviews, take part in forum discussions, write recommendations, write enquiries, make international penpals, etc.
For writing to be effective, it has to be:
context based, ideally an opportunity to put into practice material practised prior to writing
varied in form
presented with clearly laid-out instructions
done regularly (so the students progress can be evaluated)
followed by constructive feedback
Writing for autonomous learners
If you’re a self-taught learner, you will also benefit a lot from writing regularly. Make an effort to write something in English, however short, every day. Keep all your work and with time you’ll start noticing progress. It will make you reflect on your abilities, reach out for a dictionary, ask questions, look for solutions. It will really work wonders for your overall performance in the language. Take my word for it.
Here are some ideas on what to write organized according to topics.
Ideas for writing
Google/Booking.com asks you to write a review of a place you’ve recently checked in at.
You’ve lost a possession that is very valuable to you at the hotel where you’re staying. Write a ‘missing’ note.
Write your entry for ‘The obscure gems of my region. A guide book for the lesser-known tourists attractions of __.’
Create an itinerary for a foreigner coming to your country for a week.
Write a postcard from your dream holiday destination.
Create an ad for a skill you can advertise on a swap skill website.
Write a mission statement for the dream company you’d like to set up.
You’ve been asked to self-evaluate your performance at work. Write a self-appraisal.
Write a letter of application to NASA explaining why you should become one of the first space tourists at the ISS/ one of the first Mars settlers.
Create a fundraising pamphlet for a cause you’d like to raise money for.
Create a sales pitch for a product you’re trying to get money for on a crowdfunding platform.
Modern day heroes
Write a thank-you letter to someone you admire.
Write a response to someone’s comment you saw on a topical forum.
Write a message to a friend you lost touch with who you have recently found on FB
Write an article for a local newspaper about a social issue in your city/country that needs addressing. Outline the issue and suggest solutions.
Mindfulness – creative writing
Write a mini-saga in exactly 50 words.
Write song lyrics.
Write a poem about someone you know.
Write a book of ten mottos to live your life by.
Keep a diary for a month
Write the first chapter of a novel with you as the main protagonist.
The product you bought on AliExpress doesn’t seem quite up to scratch. Write a letter of complaint.
Write a detailed plan for a gap year.The year must include some travel, something educational, and some volunteer or paid work.
Write an article to a newspaper about the most effective, in your opinion, ways of learning a foreign language.
Someone who is interested in studying at your school/university has asked you to share your opinion of the school/uni. Write a letter to them oulining the pros and cons of the place.
Create a leaflet for a cultural tour of your country which highlights the most important works of art produced by artists from your country.
Create a blog post offering tips and advice on time management or saving money.
Write a biography of a great but obscure musician from your country who you think deserves wider recognition.
Write an article about an inspiring success story involving an underdog that other people might find motivating and uplifting.
What are your hopes and dreams for your home town or city? What would you do to improve your city/town if you were the mayor? Prepare a proposal suggesting at least three ways to improve your city/town.
Write a report about the impact of Covid-19 on people’s lives (social life, professional life, mental health, shopping habits, etc.)
Write an article for a local newspaper about the lessons you’ve learnt from the Covid pandemic and how this knowledge can benefit us in the future.
Technology in the workplace
Write a formal letter to your management board in response to a recently proposed idea to chip all the staff at your company.