Writing without fear

Author: 
Adriana Murillo

Every person is unique and different, especially when it comes to learning languages. It us clear that there are several different teaching methods. Some people have analysed the most appropriate and quickest way to learn a foreign language, however, the method or textbook you use doesn’t really matter, since they are all valid approaches. However, we know that one method can be useful for some, but is completely useless for others. Written communication is a priority in the learning of a foreign language and occasionally, it is more practicable to write than to speak because knowing how to express yourself in written word goes further towards representing the sounds in words, it is the ability to express a thought with the objective of creating a communicative space in the process of maintaining social relationships.*1

Everyone who learns languages prioritises the ability to communicate in a clear and immediate way. In many classes, students prefer to work on communicative skills, that’s to say - speaking and listening. For this reason, you could say that reading-writing skills are less relevant for some students who are learning a new language. Often they find these activities a little hard and even boring in some cases. However, considering that the practice of all these skills is connected, it is of vital importance to give them the necessary attention.

The challenges that face us when we start writing are: cognitive (what we’re writing), communicative (for who), linguistic (grammar and orthography knowledge) and organisational (how we write).*2 These happen to all of us and it is true that before writing, you need ideas and and themes with which  you can work. Therefore, if you are in a class, the teacher will have to think about the themes that are appropriate for their students and provide appropriate material for the activity. On one hand, giving the theme context and revising relevant vocabulary would be recommended so that the student has some prior knowledge and can then do a more fluid piece of writing. Including the most basic levels, students will be able to do writing exercises even if it is making simple sentences at the start, and later moving onto more complex structures.

Basically, the process of writing is the reproduction of a structured knowledge of what you have previously learnt. Writing for students in a foreign language could be based on their personal experiences, general descriptions of their lives or their interests. In the same way, writing will help them to structure their spoken language in a more appropriate way. On the other hand, reading will always be of great use. For example, there are several different types of texts that you can work with, such as magazine articles, news articles, opinion columns, literature, etc. It all depends on the student’s linguistic objective and their level.

The Ibero-American education magazine suggests that “even though the skill of writing in a foreign language is not a goal in itself, but it’s a way of supporting the learning of other aspects of verbal skills, if one directs themselves duly and practices frequently in the classroom, and not as an independent activity from the class, they will make it an efficient process.” Because of this, it would be advisable to write frequently and constantly, without fear of any mistakes. Despite writingt being an individual activity, it doesn’t prevent it from being communicative.

In summary, writing is a method of communication that will allow you to use a language in a more refined way, whether it’s a foreign language or not. Practicing this skill will be useful and give you more confidence, therefore, write constantly and without fear of making mistakes.

 

1*(Forteza R. Diagnóstico del desarrollo de la habilidad de escritura,observaciones no publicadas.)

*2  http://rieoei.org/experiencias75.htm

 

 

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learning languages / teaching methods / foreign language / Writing for students in a foreign language