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teach writing Writing Jeremy Harmer Pearson Education Limited Edinburgh Gate Harlow Essex M20 JE England and Associated Companies throughout the world. © Pearson Education Limited 2004 All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Publisher. ‘The Publisher grants permission for the photocopying of those pages marked ‘photocopiable’ according to the following conditions. Individual purchasers may make copies for their own use or for use by classes they teach. School purchasers may make copies for use by their staff and students, but this permission does not extend to additional schools or branches. Under no circumstances may any part of this book be photocopied for resale. The right of Jeremy Harmer to be identified as the author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Printed in Malaysia Sixth impression 2007 Produced for the publishers by Stenton Associates, Saffron Walden, Essex, UK. Text design by Keith Rigley. Illustrations by Ian Evans and Jackie Harland. ISBN 978-0-582-77998-3 Acknowledgements We are grateful to the following for permission to reproduce copyright material Five Islands Press for an extract from ‘Welcome’ by Cate Kennedy published in Signs of Other Fires; Guardian Newspapers Limited for ‘extracts adapted from ‘Grandparents juggle career and caring’ by John Carvel published in The Guardian 2 October 2002 © ‘The Guardian 2002, ‘Big Freeze Brings Travel Chaos’ published in The Guardian 31 January 2003 © The Guardian 2003, and ‘Screen Other Films’ by Philip French published in Tae Odsereer 10 August 2003 © Philip French; Marshall Cavendish Limited for extracts adapted from Just Right Upper Intermediate by Jeremy Harmer © Marshall Cavendish Limited 2004, and an extract adapted from Just Reading and Writing by Jeremy Harmer © Marshall Cavendish Limited 2004; the author's agent for the poem ‘In Two Minds’ by Roger McGough published in Everyday Eclipses © 2003, Roger McGough; Modern English Publishing for extracts adapted from "The newspaper project: Working together to make a class newspaper’ by Vietoria Chan published in Modern English Teacher 10/1 (2001), and ‘Introducing the narrative essay: A painless way to start an academic writing programme’ by Linda Pearce published in Modern English Teacher 7/1 (1998); Oxford University Press for extracts from Writing by Tricia Hedge © Oxford University Press 1988, English File Upper Intermediate Student's Book by Clive Oxenden and Christina Latham-Koenig © Oxford University Press 2001, and New Headway English Course Intermediate Students Book by Lit and John Soars © Oxford University Press 1996; St Matthew's Primary School, Cambridge for the poem “To Philip’ by Tanya published in Poets Live im Cambridge Anthology edited by H. Cook and Y. Bradbury; Thames Valley Police for @ sample letter of theirs; and W.W. Norton & Company for the poem ‘It May Not Always Be So’ by E.E. Cummings published in Complete Poems 1904-1962 edited by George J. Firmage © 1991 by the Trustees for the E.E, Cummings Trust and George James Firmage. In some instances we have been unable to trace the owners of copyright material and we would appreciate any information that would enable us to do so. ‘The Publishers are grateful to the following for their permission to reproduce copyright photographs: ‘The British Library for page 2; Andrew Cooney for page 56 top; Mark Anthony Franklin/R3MAF for page 141 left and right; for page 1; Kingfisher ple for 56 bottom; National Portrait Gallery, London for page 68 left and right; PA Photos for page 95; Punchstock/Image 100 for pages 26 and 27 Contents Page Introduction v 1 Writing as a process 1 + From the beginning + Why learn to write? + How people write + Writing and speaking + Implications for learning and teaching Describing written text 15 + Different purposes, different writing + Differences within a genre + Text construction * Cohesion + Coherence + Register + Implications for learning and teaching Writing in the language classroom 31 + Writing for learning + Writing for writing + The tasks of the teacher in writing Nuts and bolts 44 + The mechanics of writing + The handwriting challenge + Teaching handwriting + The spelling challenge + Teaching spelling + Teaching punctuation + Copying + Sentence, paragraph, and text Building the writing habit 61 + Building confidence and enthusiasm + Instant writing + Collaborative writing + Writing to each other + Whaat to do with ‘habit-building’ writing 6 — ‘Worked-on’ writing * Process and genre + Generating ideas + Analysing genres + Making a plan + Examples of ‘worked-on' writing sequences + Project work + Writing for exams 7 Responding, correcting, and guiding Ways of reacting to students’ writing Ways of correcting students’ work Ways of responding to students’ work Peer review ‘Training students to self-edit and self-correct Making homework successful 8 Journal writing + A different kind of writing + Journal writing benefits + Before, during, and after + Teacher journals Task File Task File Key Appendices + Appendix A: Punctuation table + Appendix B: Chapter notes and further reading Index 86 108, 125 136 145 148 149 153 Who is this book for? What is this book about? Introduction How to Teach Writing has been written for teachers of English who are interested in writing as a process and in the variety of types of writing, and who would like to use their understanding of these ideas in the activities they offer their students. For as long as languages have been taught, teachers have asked students to write things in their notebooks and exercise books. Yet sometimes, over the years, it has seemed that writing has been scen as only a support system for learning grammar and vocabulary, rather than as a skill in its own right. Recently, however, trainers and methodologists have looked again at writing in the foreign-language classroom and put forward ways of teaching this skill which acknowledge and emphasise its importance. Anyone who doubts this only needs to look at the list of significant books on the subject on page 149. How to Teach Writing starts by looking at the process that a competent speaker of English goes through after they decide to write a piece of text, and at how our understanding of this has implications for the way we should approach the teaching of writing. The second chapter is a discussion of various types of writing, or genres, and of the role of genre study in teaching writing. Chapter 3 suggests that a mix of process and genre work can be offered in writing activities, and shows how this can be done. Chapter 4 looks at some of the nuts and bolts of writing (including handwriting, spelling, and punctuation) before going on to show examples of activities designed to help students write coherently in sentences and paragraphs. One of the obstacles that writing teachers have to overcome, at times, is a reluctance on the part of their students to engage in writing activities with any enthusiasm. Chapter 5 addresses this problem by describing activities designed specifically to build the writing habit — activities which should enthuse student writers, build their confidence, and make them feel comfortable with writing. In Chapter 6, we draw together much of what has been said about process and genre with a look at more ‘worked-on’ writing — writing which students have time to think about, plan, and edit. In Chapter 7, the way teachers react to students’ writing is considered, Should we correct with red ink, or respond with comments and suggestions? It is clear that the way we deal with students’ writing can have a profound effect on how they feel about writing, Chapter 8 looks at journal writing as a tool for reflection and as a way of promoting written fluency; it is also a way that teachers and students can enter into a new kind of dialogue. B Suggested classroom activities are signalled by this icon >. Finally, a Task File allows the reader to review and develop some of the ideas dealt with here. An answer key is provided. This is followed by two appendices: the first gives a brief summary of punctuation rules, and the second offers chapter notes and further reading suggestions.